GŻIRA UNITED 0
WOLFSBERGER AC 4
GŻIRA UNITED D. Zarkov; G. Bohrer, L. Tabone (46 Thiaguinho), N. Muscat (70 B. Borg), Z. Scerri, M. Dias, L. Riascos (70 J. Mendoza), T. Kolega (70 A. Borg), R. Correa (46 C. Gauci), M. Cosic, Jefferson.
WOLFSBERGER AC H. Bonmann; A. Jasic, K. Kerschbaumer (75 A. Boakye), S. Piesinger, T. Baribo, M. Leitgeb (67 E. Omic), T. Rocher (62 N. Vergos), D. Baumgartner, R. Schiffert, M. Novak, T. Ballo (46 M. Taferner).
Referee Nicholas Walsh (Scotland FA).
Yellow cards Schifferl, Dias, Baumgartner, Jefferson, Scerri, Gauci, Jasic.
Red card Zach Scerri (Gżira United) 53, Jefferson (Gżira United) 66.
Gżira United’s run in the UEFA Europa Conference League came to a disappointing end after succumbing to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Wolfsberger AC.
Buoyed by their 0-0 draw on Austrian soil, Gżira were determined to write another chapter in their club’s history.
However, Wolfsberger spoiled the party with a high-intense game and two first-half goals that practically sealed the deal for them.
Gżira’s task became even more difficult with Zach Scerri and Jefferson sent off in the second half as the Maltese side had to play with nine players for the remaining 25 minutes of the match.
Wolfsberger AC will now face the winner between Molde of Norway and Kisvard of Hungary, with the Norwegian side favourites after claiming the first leg 3-0.
Coach Abdilla was forced to leave Maxuell on the bench as the Brazilian was not deemed fit to start the game, with Toni Kolega returning to the starting formation.
Wolfsberger AC made their intentions clear from the start with an aggressive approach in search of an early lead with Konstantin Kerschbaumer hitting a shot from a tight angle but Darijan Zarkov was alert to avert the danger.
The Austrian side capitalised on their early pressure through Tai Baribo who, after a passing combination inside the penalty area, fired into the far post.
Moments later, Raphael Schifferl tried to double Wolfsberg’s lead but his close-range shot sailed over the bar.
Gżira replied through a set-piece situation with Gabriel Bohrer meeting the ball with a header but failed to hit the target.
Wolfsberg came close to score a second when Thorsten Rocher lobbed the ball over Zarkov only for Luke Tabone to clear off the goal line.
Nonetheless, the Austrians found a second midway into the first half when defender Dominik Baumgartner hit the target with a low drive into the far corner to virtually dash Gżira’s hopes of progressing.
At half-time, Gżira coach Abdilla made two changes as Thiaguinho and Clive Gauci came on for Ricardo Correa and Luke Tabone.
Adding insult to injury was Zach Scerri’s sending off for a second yellow early in the second 45 minutes, with the Maroons having to play with a numerical disadvantage for the remaining of the game.
The Austrian Bundesliga team secured qualification when Thorsten Rocher converted from the spot after Wolfsberger were awarded a penalty following a Bohrer foul.
Gżira’s nightmare continued when Jefferson was also given a second yellow card for hitting his opponent as the Maroons were reduced to nine with half an hour to go.
Wolfsberger could have added a fourth when Nikolas Vergos struck the crossbar with a fierce strike from inside the penalty area.
In the closing stages, Wolfsberg did add a fourth goal through Augustin Boakye whose curling effort beat Zarkov to seal the Austrian Bundesliga side qualification.