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Gżira coach Abdilla pleased with Andorra return, but wary of potential pitfalls

Gżira United coach Darren Abdilla said that he was pleased that his team were drawn to face the Andorran side Atletic Club D’Escaldes in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League, although he admitted they were heading into a bit of an unknown.

The Maroons will return to Andorra just one year after they eliminated Sant Julia in last season’s Conference League following a tense penalty shoot-out at the Centenary Stadium.

For Atletic Club D’Escaldes, who won the domestic cup last term, this will be their first-ever appearance in European football.

“It’s good for us to face a team from Andorra,” Abdilla said.

“However, having said that from the experience we had last year, we are somewhat heading into the unknown as today clubs from Andorra have very few players from the country with the majority of the squad coming from Spain and France.

“Andorran teams change a lot after every season, particularly ahead of UEFA club competitions where they do all they can to progress to try and gain a lot financially.

“Atletic Club may have finished fourth in the league, just five points behind the league champions so that shows that they are not that far off from the country’s top team while they have also won the domestic cup.

“However, what is important for us is that we arrive for these matches in the best possible condition. This summer the club has not made a lot of changes to the squad and we will recover all the players that suffered injury throughout the season, so it’s important to be ready for these ties.”

The first legs of the first qualifying round will be held on July 7 while the second legs are scheduled for a week later.

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