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Abdilla wants players to show character against Dudelange in Conference League

Gżira United coach Darren Abdilla speaks to a press conference ahead of the their tie against Dudelange.

Buoyed by last week’s incredible qualification to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League, Gżira United will be looking to put themselves in a strong position of further European progress when they host Luxembourg side Dudelange this evening (kick-off: 7pm).

Last week, the Maroons reached the second qualifying round of the competition with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Glentoran at the Oval in Northern Ireland.

Their reward for their qualification is a tough clash against Luxembourg side Dudelange and coach Darren Abdilla, admitted that his players will have their work cut out at the Centenary Stadium this evening.

“This is, without doubt, a far more difficult tie for us than the one we had against Glentoran,” Abdilla said.

“Dudelange is a more technical team and boast some highly-experienced players and that makes them a top-quality side. It’s going to be a very tough night for us but I have great faith in my players who will surely give their all to try and bring home a positive result.”

Abdilla said that the win attained against Glentoran last week was a huge injection of confidence for his players and hopes that they can replicate the never-say-die attitude they displayed in Northern Ireland last week.

“The match against Glentoran instilled a lot of self-belief among the players,” he said.

“There were players who were making their debut in European football and hopefully now they will no longer feel excitement when taking the field of play. The level of determination shown by my team against Glentoran was immense.

“In my 22 matches in European football, I have never witnessed a match with so many episodes that could have hit hard my team. During the match we defended diligently and managed to take the lead with a good transition.

“Then in stoppage time, Glentoran had a goal disallowed and when we thought we made it we conceded a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time that could have easily broken the team’s spirit.

“But the players kept fighting during extra-time and then kept their composure during the penalty shoot-out. When David Cassar thought he saved the penalty and the ball finished in the net, I thought that was the final straw, but we maintained our high levels of concentration to seal a famous victory.

“I am sure that if we show the same kind of determination and fighting spirit we are more than capable of providing a strong challenge for Dudelange and achieve qualification to the next round.”

Abdilla said that the main goal for tonight’s game is to ensure they had to Luxembourg with a result that keeps the qualification hopes still alive.

“The main goal is always that to keep the tie open ahead of next week’s second leg,” Abdilla said.

“We have prepared a game plan and you are not going to see a Gżira team who will be going out in an all-out approach to try and close the tie in the first leg. We need to be diligent and make sure we get a positive result that keeps us in the tie.

“If we do that then I am more than positive that we can head for the second leg in Luxembourg in high spirits and with the belief that we can upset our opponents and secure qualification to the next round.”

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