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Ħamrun Spartans’ air of optimism rings on ahead of Partizan tie

Croatian midfielder Roko Prsa (left) in a light moment with Dodo. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Ħamrun Spartans are all but wary of the opponents they will be facing on Thursday at the Stadion FK Partizan in Belgrade as they take on none other than FK Partizan in the two-legged tie from the UEFA Europa Conference League Play-off stage.

Having already ousted the likes of Alashkert from Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Velez Mostar and Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia along the way, it comes as no surprise about the air of optimism surrounding the Spartans camp ahead of this important first leg in Belgrade.

Fully aware that they are on the brink of history by claiming a first-ever group stage berth, the Ħamrun outfit, led by former Malta national team assistant coach Branko Nisevic, are all ready to step into the Stadion FK Partizan and rewrite history for the second time running.

FK Partizan’s glorious history speaks for itself – 27 times national champions and 16 times winners of the national cup, the Belgrade outfit are at the moment occupying eighth place in the Serbian Super Liga – 8 points adrift of arch rivals Red Star Belgrade, after five matches played – and have recently appointed former FK Partizan player Gordon Petric as their new head coach after a very uncertain start to the season.

Former Birkirkara stalwart Nikola Vukanac, a Serbian himself spoke about Hamrun’s chances of advancing further in the competition.

“In my opinion Ħamrun stand a very good chance of getting a good result against Partizan.  Partizan have been riddled by problems this season and this is their last chance to redeem, probably an entire season. Ħamrun should seize the opportunity,” Vukanac said

In-form Juan Corbalan also spoke highly of the Spartans chances against Partizan.

“Partizan are a different mettle than our previous opponents Levski Sofia. Levski play a collective type of match whilst Partizan have individual good players. We have worked hard to get here and we intend to keep this dream going.”

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