Mosta FC are set for a baptism of fire in the newly-formed UEFA Europa Conference League as the Blues will come up against Slovakian giants Spartak Trnava in the first qualifying round, opening leg at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday evening (kick-off: 5.45pm).
Mosta found themselves in a UEFA club competition for the first time following the exclusion of Ħamrun Spartans from the UEFA Champions League which saw Hibernians being ‘promoted’ to the elite club competition with Mosta taking their place in the Conference League.
There is no hiding that Mosta are facing a very tough task against Spartak Trnava. The Slovakians boast a great tradition in European football and two seasons ago, they also reached the group stages of the Europa League where they managed to amass seven points.
Mario Muscat, Mosta’s technical director, told the Times of Malta that he is aware of the difficult task awaiting his players but said that their main goal for tonight’s opening leg will be to garner a positive result that would leave the tie open ahead of next week’s second leg.
“There is no doubt that we were handed the toughest draw from all the Maltese teams in the UEFA club competitions this summer,” Muscat said.
“We are approaching this match with renewed enthusiasm as we are hopeful of giving a tough test to our superior opponents. Our main goal for the first leg is to try and get a positive result to make sure we are still in the running for qualification come next week’s second leg.
“In the build up to the match, I had the chance to watch some of their friendly matches and they are truly a very strong side. But we worked a lot from a tactical point of view to try and find a weak link in their armoury to try and hurt them.
“It’s going to be a difficult test but we are thinking positive to make the impossible possible.”
Since last season, Muscat has lost some key players as Bojan Kaljevic rejoined Balzan, Kevin Tulimieri and Johan Bezzina went back to Valletta and Birkirkara respectively after their loan spell ended. On the other hand, Mathias Muchardi and Divine Naah left the club.
Since then, the Blues have signed Colombian midfielder Luis Riascos, Serbian midfielder Ivan Doric and Ghana forward Johnson Nsumoh, who for the past 18 months played for Spartak Trnava.
“Our squad is still incomplete, but I’m happy with the players we have managed to sign so far,” Muscat said.
“Doric is a very interesting player who I’m sure will do well for us while Nsumoh may be only 19 but he is a very talented player. He knows Spartak Trnava well, having played with them for the past 18 months so hopefully he can boost our cause.
“I think that our defence and midfield departments are looking very strong… may be we still lack one or two forwards but we are working on that.
“This tie is a great opportunity for our youngsters to gain valuable experience and showcase their talent. There is no bigger stage to play than UEFA club competition so hopefully it will serve as a stepping stone for their future and at the same time help us to make a good start to our European adventure.”