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Hibs could face Sheriff Tiraspol or Qarabag in Champions League

The European journey of the Maltese clubs participating in the UEFA competitions gets underway on Tuesday as the European football governing body will hold the draw for the first qualifying round of the Champions League in Nyon at noon.

On Wednesday, UEFA will also hold the second qualifying round draws of both competitions which will also be of interest for the Maltese teams as well.

Hibernians will be representing Malta in the Champions League having won the Maltese title in the 2021-22 season.

The Paolites, who are unseeded in this draw, are in Group 3 and can face Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova, the last team to beat 14-time Champions League winners Real Madrid, in UEFA’s main club competition.

Hibernians can also face Azerbaijani side Qarabag, Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia, Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar – who made it to the Conference League’s group stages last season – and Shamrock Rovers from Ireland.

The Maltese champions have a trio of suspended players together with their coach for their opening ties in the competition following the hefty bans that UEFA had slapped on the Hibernians clan after the controversy that erupted in the return leg of the third qualifying round tie against Riga of Latvia.

Coach Stefano Sanderra and defender Andrei Agius have been suspended for five matches, midfielder Bjorn Kristensen will miss four games while Ferdinando Apap is sanctioned for just two games.

To back up for their absentees, the Paolites have already reinforced their backline bringing defenders Lorenzo Fonseca from Sta Lucia and Rodolfo Soares, who returns at the club

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