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Maltese clubs discover second round opponents in UEFA competitions

Ħamrun Spartans, Birkirkara, Gżira United and Balzan discovered their second round opponents in the UEFA competitions, on Wednesday.

Malta’s champions, Ħamrun, were drawn to face Israeli giants Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League first qualifying round, on Tuesday.

The Spartans are back in UEFA’s premier competition for the first time after an absence of more than 30 years.

Should they advance to the next round of the competition, they would face the winner of the tie between Romania’s Farul Constanta and Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova.

On the other hand, the Spartans will face the loser of the tie between Kazakhstan’s Astana and Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia in the second qualifying round of another competition – the Europa Conference League – if they fail to progress against the Israeli champions.

The two-legged ties of the second qualifying round of the Champions League will take place on 25/26 July and 1/2 August.

Meanwhile, the Europa Conference League already hosts three Maltese teams in its opening qualifying round.

Gżira were the only Maltese team to be seeded in yesterday’s draw and have been given a seemingly a balanced tie when they will be up against Glentoran of the Northern Ireland.

Another trip to that region could be in the pipeline if they progress to the second round as the Maroons could face St Patrick’s Athletic of the Republic of Ireland or Luxembourg’s F91 Diddeleng.

Balzan were handed a rematch against familiar opposition in the form of NK Domzale, of Slovenia, in the first round.

The Reds, under the charge of Oliver Spiteri, qualified to Europe after placing fourth in the Premier League last season, after defeating Hibernians in a play-off.

If they make it to the next round, a tie against either Liechtenstein’s Vaduz or Neman Grodno of Belarus awaits them.

Birkirkara, on their part, were handed a tricky draw as they will face Slovenia’s Maribor in the opening round.

The Stripes’ opponents in the second qualifying round, if they beat Maribor, will be Differdange of Luxembourg.

The Europa Conference League second qualifying round ties will take place on 27 July and 3 August.

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