Floriana FC will mark their return to European football when they host Moldovan side CS Petrocub, of Moldova in the first qualifying round from the UEFA Conference League on Thursday evening (kick-off: 19.00).
A return to participation in UEFA clubs’ competition has been one of the major goals set up by the Floriana FC administration and no doubt the Greens are hoping to put in a strong showing in today’s first leg.
The Greens have been working hard during the last four weeks to ensure they arrive for these matches in the best possible condition and coach Gianluca Atzori has made it clear that the team are targeting a win that would put them in a strong position ahead of next week’s second leg.
“This is one of the biggest appointments for the year for our club,” Atzori told the Times of Malta.
“Last season, we have worked really hard to qualify for European football and now that we have reached this goal we are determined to try and give it our best shot.
“Petrocub is a team full of experienced players who are very organised on the pitch. Petrocub’s major strength is their forward line so it will be imperative for us that we show good defensive organisation and make sure we don’t commit silly mistakes.
“The Moldovan side are a very physical side so it will be important for us to ensure we come out on top in key duels in the middle of the park to ensure we have good control of the match.
“European ties are decided over 180 minutes but having said that our goal is to try and win our home leg so that we gain an advantage ahead of next week’s second leg in Moldova.”
In the close season, Floriana lost some key players as Ryan Camenzuli joined Ħamrun Spartans while midfielders Brandon Paiber and Rumyan Hovsepyan have left the club to move to Valletta FC and Alashkert respectively.
The Greens have brought in some young talent such as midfielder Carlo Zammit Lonardelli and forward James Scicluna as well as goalkeeper Duncan Formosa and Italian wing back Lorenzo Trillo.
“Unfortunately, at the moment we are still working to complete our squad of players and many of the new signings are not yet prepared from a physical point of view,” Atzori said.
“The club is working hard to bring in another two or three players but they have to be the right players with the perfect characteristics. It’s a long
process and we ready to be patient as we have to make the right choices.
“But despite all this we are determined to go out and put in a strong performance as this is a match we are very keen about.
“I expect the players to adopt our usual approach of playing a high pressing game with swift movement of the ball.
“The early signs from our pre-season friendlies have been very encouraging as apart from the results, the performance of the team was very encouraging and surely it has injected a lot of confidence in the players.
“This is a challenge that all the players are relishing and hopefully we can get the job done.”
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