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Live: Hibernians, Gżira United, Ħamrun Spartans through in historic night for Maltese football

An unprecedent night in domestic football as the trio of Maltese representatives have made it to the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League…

10.06pm Here’s a recap of next week’s third qualifying round commitments for the Maltese clubs.

RFS (Latvia) vs Hibernians

Wolfsberger (Austria) vs Gżira United

Levski Sofia (Bulgaria) vs Ħamrun Spartans

10.04pm ĦAMRUN SPARTANS THROUGH! What a night for Maltese football.

The Spartans defeat Velez Mostar 1-0 and will now face Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia in the next round of this competition.

9.58pm Here is Darijan Zarkov’s decisive save which handed Gżira United a historic qualification to the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.

9.56pm Meanwhile at the Centenary Stadium, in stoppage time, Sowe should have killed off Velez Mostar when in a quick break he stormed inside the area but was denied by Bogdanovic.

9.55pm For the first time ever, Maltese football will be represented by multiple teams in the third round of a UEFA club competition.

Hibernians and Gżira United have booked their spot in the next round at the expense of Levadia Tallinn and Radnicki respectively.

Ħamrun are minutes away from joining them… can we make it 3?

9.54pm GŻIRA ARE THROUGH!!!!!! Darijan Zarkov denies Radnicki from the spot as the Maroons win 3-1 to make it to the third qualifying round.

Darren Abdilla’s side will now face Austria’s Wolfsberger in the next round.

What a night in Serbia!

9.53pm GŻIRA GOAL! Steve Pisani converts Gżira’s third penalty as they now lead 3-1 from the spot.

9.52pm RADNICKI MISS! Gżira stay 2-1 ahead as the Serbian side miss their second penalty in this shoot out.

9.51pm GŻIRA SCORE! The Maroons are ahead again as they convert their second penalty.

9.50pm RADNICKI SCORE! The Serbian side level terms on 1-1 as they score their second penalty.

9.49pm GŻIRA SCORE! Maxuell buries his penalty as the Maroons lead 1-0.

9.46pm RADNICKI MISS! The Serbian side kickstart the penalty shoot out as their club captain sees his penalty struck the crossbar.

9.42pm PENALTIES! What an end to the tie in Nis as late drama and a goal from Maxuell keeps both sides at par. Penalties are next!

9.41pm A final substitution for Gzira in injury time as Andrew Borg replaces substitute Emmanuel Mbong.

9.39pm GOAL! Maxuell finds himself again on the scoresheet as Gzira equalise again after a missed interception from the Radnicki defence in injury time of the second half in extra time.

9.27pm Half time in extra time between Radnicki and Gzira United. the Serbian side lead 3-2 at the break

9.20pm GOOALL. Radnicki take the lead in extra-time 3-2.

After a Gabriel Bohrer foul inside the area, Aleksandar Pejovic makes no mistake to fire into the top corner from the spot as Radnicki are back in front in the 102nd minute.

9.14pm Velez Mostar continued to press forward in the second half and on 53 minutes Pantelic was denied by a fine one-handed save from Bonello and then Hasanovic headed over the bar from close in.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

9.07pm We’re set for extra-time in Nis as Gżira save the tie at the death and have another 30 minutes to extend their European dream.

9.02pm GOAALLL… Gżira United grab a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time. Extra time on the cards in Nis as the Maroons equalise at the death. Jefferson the hero yet again for his side as he hits home to give the Maroon parity 10 minutes into injury time

8.53pm HIBERNIANS ARE THROUGH! The Maltese champions managed to hold on to their narrow lead and advance to third qualifying round for the second consecutive time. Andrea Pisanu’s side will now face FK RFS of Latvia.

8.51pm Almost a second for Ħamrun Spartans when Elvis Mashike finds Dodo in space and the Cape Verde forward sees his shot cannon off the upright. That is the last kick of the first half as the referee blows half-time.

8.45pm Six minutes of added time in Tallinn as Hibernians are holding on their one-goal lead on aggregate.

8.40pm GOAL! An immediate response by Levadia who capitalise through Karl Oigus from point-blank range. Hibernians still lead 4-3 on aggregate, with 10 minutes left!

8.38pm GOAL! Radnicki lead at home after a number of opportunities when after Zarkov attempts to save a Jovanovic effort, Petrov makes no mistake to put the ball into the net.

8.36pm CLOSE… Ħamrun Spartans almost double their lead when first Ognjen Bjelicic sees his shot from a free-kick saved by Bogdanovic and then Dodo fires over from close in.

8.34pm GOAAL… Hibernians score in Tallinn. The Malta champions take the lead through Malta international Ferdinando Apap. Hibernians now lead 4-2 on aggregate with 13 minutes to go.

8.28pm It’s still all level in Serbia between Gzira United and Radnicki. A double substitution for Gzira this time in the 66th minute as Clive Gauci is taken off for Jackson Mendoza and Maxuell finally makes his cameo to replace Toni Kolega.

8.25pm Here is the goal scored by Jonny that put Ħamrun Spartans ahead against Velez Mostar.

8.21pm Hibernians are pushing for an opener and they came close through clinical finisher Jurgen Degabriele who let fly a first timer from the edge of the area just to be denied by Levadia’s goalkeeper.

Jonny scores Ħamrun’s opening goal against Velez Mostar.

8.17pm Matthew Guillaumier sends a perfect throughball towards Jonny who keeps his cool and prods the ball past Bogdanovic…. fine start for the Spartans.


Ħamrun midfielder Roko Prsa fights for the ball against Velez Mostar. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

8.15pm The first chance of the match came Ħamrun’s way after ten minutes when Elvis Mashike made space for Dodo who burst through but was anticipated by goalkeeper Bogdanovic.

8.10pm After 53 minutes, Hibernians coach Andrea Pisanu has removed Terence Groothusen to make space for Yunusa Muritala, the scorer of the Paolites’ third goal last week.

8.09pm Radnicki get the first chance of the second half but Sava Petrov’s shot is blocked by Zarkov right after the restart.

8.07pm Match is back under way also in Tallinn and Nis as Hibs and Gżira United continue their quest for a place in the third qualifying round.

8.01pm We’re under way at the Centenary Stadium.

7.58pm The teams are out at the Centenary Stadium as Ħamrun Spartans look to protect their 1-0 win achieved in Bosnia last week against Velez Mostar.

7.55pm All square at half time in Nis as Gzira United and Radnicki Nis head to the dressing rooms at 1-1 after goals from Tolordava and Jefferson early on in the half.

An entertaining match so far as the teams are level on aggregate ahead of the final 45 minutes in the tie.

7.48pm Radnicki’s Arsic forces Zarkov into a save as three minutes of added time for the half are given at the end of the first 45 minutes.

7.45pm Half-time in Tallinn and it’s still goalless. Hibs do have one final chance but Gabriel Artiles fails to connect to Thaylor’s cross with the goal at his mercy. But the Paolites will be pleased at the break as they still lead 3-2 on aggregate.

7.38pm Tension is rising in Serbia as the referee shows three yellow cards in the space of a minute. Gzira’s Ricardo Correa is booked after a rough tackle, Radnicki’s Nemanja Jovicic is cautioned for rough play on Nikolai Muscat, and Gzira’s Muscat right after a technical foul as Radnicki try to counter on 33 minutes.

7.35pm In Tallinn, Hibernians’ goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone blocks Maximilian Ugge’s volley from inside the penalty as the score is still 0-0 after 36 minutes.

7.30pm The atmosphere is building at the Centenary Stadium as Ħamrun Spartans prepare to face Velez Mostar, holding a crucial one-goal lead.

Hamrun Spartans players during their warm-up at the Centenary Stadium

7.24pm Gabriel Artilles squanders a brilliant opportunity for Hibernians as his close-range effort was blocked by Levadia Tallin’s goalkeeper.

7.22pm GOAL!!! Instant reply from Gżira United they waste no time to draw level. Jefferson replies with a cannon of a shot from the left after meeting a long ball into the area to bring the game back level after 15 minutes.

7.20pm GOALLLL!!! The first goal of the night comes in Serbia and it’s Radnicki who take the lead.

Radnicki go ahead in Nis when from a corner which was met by Anton Tolordava who fired first time into the net.

Radnicki take the lead.

7.14pm Team news from the Centenary Stadium as Ħamrun Spartans coach Branko Nisevic has kept faith with the same 11 players that grabbed a vital 1-0 win over Bosnian side Velez Mostar.

Henry Bonello again starts in goal with the three-man defence formed part Steve Borg, Ognjen Bjelicic and Emerson Marcelina. Ryan Camenuli and Juan Corbalan will patrol the flanks while Matthew Guillaumier, and Roko Prsa will run the team engine room.

Upfront, the Spartans will have the three-pronged forward line formed by Dodo, Jonny and Elvis Mashike.

7.12pm Hibernians had an inviting opportunity after 12 minutes when Terence Groothusen found himself in space but his shot was easily saved by the Tallin goalkeeper.

7.10pm In Tallinn, the match is evenly-balanced with Hibernians protesting for a penalty for a challenge on Thaylor Aldama but the referee waved play on.

7.05pm Gżira United made a bright start in Serbia and after six minutes of play Nikolai Muscat had the first shot on target of the match with his effort saved by the Radnicki goalkeeper Filip Dujmovic.

7pm We’re under way both in Serbia and in Estonia…

6.58pm Radnicki effected some changes from last week’s team for their match against Gżira United.

Filip Dujmovic starts in goal, replacing Marko Drobnjak.

Nikola Aksentijevic and Anton Tolordava are the only defenders left from last week’s match as Nemanja Jovicic, Maka Gakou join them at the back.

Lazar Arsic, Aleksandar Pejovic, and Stefan Dimic man the midfield, the latter replacing Sasa Marjanovic.

Leading the line are Lazar Jovanovic, Nikola Stulic, and Sava Petrov yet again.

6.55pm We are just five minutes away from kick off in Tallinn and Nis as Hibernians and Gżira United look to make it another memorable night for Maltese football.

6.45pm Gżira United posted a video on their facebook page on their team’s arrival at the Cair Stadium ahead of their match against Radnicki Nis.

6.40pm HIbernians will surely hope to make a similar start to last week’s match at the Centenary Stadium when first-half goals from Ferdinando Apap and Jurgen Degabriele put them in charge against Levadia Tallinn.

Ferdinando Apap heads Hibernians ahead against Levadia Tallinn

6.35pm In Estonia, Hibernians coach has Andrea Pisanu has vowed that his team will go out to attack in Tallinn despite holding a 3-2 lead.

Read also: Pisanu wants Hibs to attack at Levadia Tallinn

And the Italian has kept his word when naming his starting formation as he effected one change to his team when he roped in the more offensive Thaylor Aldama for Zachary Grech.

6.30pm Coach Darren Abdilla has named his squad for tonight’s fixture and has surprisingly left out Maxuell Maia, the team’s hero in last week’s first leg.

The Brazilian forward started on the bench with Toni Kolega handed a place upfront alongside Jefferson.

Clive Gauci is the other new face in the Gżira starting XI as he is preferred to Luis Riascos.

6.20pm Gżira United produced a strong second-half update against Radnicki Nis. The Maroons were trailing 1-0 at the start of the second half but two quick fire goals from Maxuell Maia put them on the brink of a famous victory.

Maxuell Maia scores Gżira’s equaliser against Radnicki Nis

Unfortunately, the Maroons conceded a stoppage time goal that denied them what would have been a deserved victory.

But still, coach Darren Abdilla was heartened by his team’s performance and said that it instilled in them belief that they can progress to the next round.

Read also: Gżira United have the belief to upset Radnicki, says coach Abdilla.

6.15pm Welcome to our live blog that will keep you updated with the three UEFA Conference League matches involving all three Maltese clubs. Gżira United and Hibernians will set the ball rolling at 7pm at Radnicki Nis and Levadia Tallinn respectively, while Ħamrun Spartans are in action against Velez Mostar.

After last week’s first legs all three sides are still with a chance of securing qualification to the third qualifying round. Gżira United are level with Radnicki Nis following a 2-2 draw at the Centenary Stadium.

Hibernians, on the other hand, hold a 3-2 lead over Estonian side Levadia Tallinn after a thrilling encounter at the Centenary Stadium last week.

Ħamrun Spartans are also in a strong position after securing a famous 1-0 win over Velez Mostar in Sarajevo last week.


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