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Mosta and Birkirkara look to preserve slim first-leg lead

Mosta have the tough task of maintaining their lead over Spartak Trnava. Photo: Stephen Gatt

Birkirkara and Mosta FC will be looking to protect their first-leg leads as they seek a passage into the second qualifying round of the Conference League when they play at San Marino’s La Fiorita and Spartak Trnava, of Slovakia.

The Stripes will be in action in Serravalle as they seek to preserve their 1-0 first-leg victory against La Fiorita (kick-off: 8.45pm).

Birkirkara dominated their first leg tie against the San Marino side but only had a Yannick Yankam goal to show at the end of the 90 minutes.

Birkirkara coach Andre Paus was not happy with the performance of his team against La Fiorita but says that the most important thing for him is that his team completes the job in San Marino and progress to the second qualifying round.

“Our target is very clear, we have to qualify to the second qualifying round,” the Dutchman told The Times of Malta.

“We won the first leg last week even though I must admit that we didn’t play a very good game. I felt that we should have scored more goals, but it was not to be. But the most important thing is that we are in front.

“We have a one-goal advantage and normally in our games we always manage to score so I’m confident that we can finish the job. At the end of the day, it’s the result that counts so we need to get the right result even if we don’t play nice football.

“We need to start the game very focused and try and create chances. This time round we know our opponents better and we need to make it difficult for them.”

Paus has no selection problems for tonight’s match and is set to field his strongest formation with Brazilian midfielder Diego Venancio pushing for a start after coming on as a second-half substitute in last week’s first leg.

On the other hand, Mosta face a far tougher task than Birkirkara when they face Spartak Trnava in Slovakia.

The Blues created one of the upsets of last week’s first legs when they stunned the Slovakian giants 3-2 at the Centenary Stadium.

Mosta will be aware of the difficult task awaiting them against Trnava who received a strong backlash from their passionate fans after last week’s debacle in the first leg.

No doubt, Mosta coach Joe Grech and Mario Muscat, the team’s technical director, will be hoping their players can produced a disciplined display and try and keep their opponents at bay to try and complete a remarkable qualification to the second qualifying round.

All the pressure will be on the home side and Mosta will again be banking on the pace of their attacking duo Christ Ememe and Johnson Nsumoh who
created a lot of problems for the Trnava defence.

MALTESE CLUBS SCHEDULE

Gżira Utd vs Sant Julia 20.00
(first leg: 0-0)

La Fiorita vs Birkirkara 20.45
(first leg: 0-1)

Spartak Trnava vs Mosta 20.45
(first leg: 2-3)

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