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Maltese clubs face tougher path in the Conference League second qualifying round

Gżira United, Birkirkara and Mosta FC discovered their fate in the UEFA Conference League second qualifying round when the draw was held on Wednesday.

Gżira United have been handed a tough draw as should the Maroons manage to overcome Andorran side UE San Julia they will be up against Croatian side Rijeka.

The Maroons have some fond memories of facing Croatian sides as two seasons ago they managed to produce a major upset when they knocked out Hajduk Split.

In fact after losing the first leg in Malta 2-0, Gżira United defied the odds as guidied by coach Giovanni Tedesco they beat Hajduk Split 3-1 to progress to the next round on the away goals rule as the tie ended in a 3-3 draw on aggregate.

Birkirkara will also be heading to a former Yugoslav Republic if they manage to overcome San Marino side La Fiorita in the first qualifying round as the Stripes were drawn to face Olimpija Ljubljana, of Slovenia.

No doubt, Ljubljana will be a far tougher proposition for the Stripes than La Fiorita as the Slovenians, twice winners of the national title, are looking to move into the group stages of the newly-formed UEFA competition.

Last season, Olimpija only managed to reach the second qualifying round of the Europa League where they were knocked out by Bosnian side Zrinski Mostar.

On the other hand, Mosta FC, who were handed a very tough draw when being paired by Spartak Trnava, of Slovakia, will face OSK Sfantul Gheorghe, of Romania, if they win their first qualifying round tie.

The Romanians are a new face in European football as this is their first appearance in UEFA club competitions.

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