Luxol St Andrews are geared up for their eagerly-awaited UEFA Futsal Champions League Main Round tie against Slovenian side Dovobec at the University Sports Hall this evening (kick-off: 18.00).
This is the third time that Luxol have reached the Main Round of the UEFA’s top futsal competition after they managed to progress past the preliminary round both in 2017 and last year.
Luxol’s task is far from easy as they are up against Slovenian champions Dobovec who are ranked ninth in Europe.
The Malta champions reached the Last 32 of the UEFA Futsal Champions League after they thrashed Austrian side All Stars 6-2 in the preliminary round last November.
Luxol coach Gabriel Dobre is upbeat about his team’s chances as they look to rewrite the history books in Maltese futsal by reaching the Elite round of the competition, which features the top 16 sides on the continent.
“In last few days we have stepped up training,” Dobre said.
“The players showed a positive attitude, desire and commitment as they know that this is one big opportunity we must embrace and give our 110 per cent to claim our ultimate target.
“We have all the necessary weapons to compete, we must not show too much respect to our opponents from Slovenia. For this match we have also enhanced our list of foreign players that will surely enable us to play at a good and equal level with our opponents.
“Hopefully, this will be enough for us to fire on all cylinders on Saturday.”
Club captain Mark Zammit outlined the detailed preparation for this match over the past week or so.
“We must ensure to pull on the same end of the rope, if we do so I’m pretty confident we overcome this tough hurdle and reap the benefits of our recent efforts,” Zammit said.
“We all know about the strength of our opponents on Saturday, Dobovec are a top side, they are ranked ninth in Europe and therefore they are firm favourites to keep progressing.
“They are a side on the level of Barcelona and Benfica, both deemed as two of the best futsal sides in Europe, but we feel we are well prepared for the task ahead.”
Luxol have secured the services of experienced Brazilian player Beto who arrived in Malta this week to play in this European tie.
Beto’s arrival adds further strength to a side that includes Norwegian no.1 goalkeeper Kenito Rakvaag, long-serving Romanian player Emil Raducu as well as Brazilian Celino Alves.
Kenito Rakvaag, Dragan Obradovic, Andy Mangion, Giancarlo Sammut, Mark Zammit, Emil Andrei Raducu, Everton Veve, Leanderson Sant’anna, Maicon, Celino Alves, Beto, Marwan Telissi, Gia Nikvashvili, Evandro.