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Familiar opponents await Floriana and Marsaxlokk in UEFA Conference League

Floriana and Marsaxlokk will be keeping their fingers crossed that they will be handed a favourable draw in the draws of the UEFA Conference League to be held on Tuesday in Nyon (time: 4pm).

The 50 participating teams were divided into five groups of ten teams (groups 1 to 5).

Within each of the five groups, the teams were divided into an equal number of seeded and unseeded teams.

Floriana were put in Group 2 and will face one of five seeded teams in Iceland’s Breidablik, F91 Diddeleng, of Luxembourg, San Marino’s Tre Penne, Gibraltar’s St Joseph’s FC, and Crusaders, of the Northern Ireland.

No doubt, for Floriana, who finished second in last season’s Premier League and were also runners-up in the FA Trophy, will be hopeful of avoiding Iceland’s Breidablik.

Last season, the Icelandic side reached the group stages of the UEFA Conference League.

Luxembourg’s F91 Diddeleng are familiar opponents for Maltese football as last season they were knocked out by Gżira United, who at the time were led by Darren Abdilla, the current coach of Floriana FC.

Crusaders FC, St Joseph’s FC and Tre Penne, of San Marino, are all favourable picks of Floriana FC given that all these three teams have rarely made it past the second qualifying rounds of UEFA competitions.

Marsaxlokk, on the other hand, are likely to be handed tough ties as the Southerners could draw one of Dinamo Tbilisi, of Georgia, FK Partizani, of Albania, Moldova’s Milsami Orhei, FK Sarajevo, of Bosnia Herzegovina, and FC Urartu, of Armenia.

Tbilisi and FK Sarajevo are familiar teams for Maltese football.

In fact, last season, Dinamo Tbilisi were knocked out of the UEFA Conference League by Ħamrun Spartans, while on the other hand, FK Sarajevo played against Marsaxlokk in the first qualifying round of the Champions League in 2007, with the Bosnians prevailing 9-1 on aggregate.

Moldova’s Milsami Orhei look to be the best ‘option’ for Marsaxlokk as the Moldovans crashed out of the UEFA Conference League last season in the first qualifying round against Lithuania’s Panevezys.

FK Partizani, of Albania, are likely to be real dangerous opponents as last season they came a whisker away from reacing the group stages of the Conference League only to be knocked out by FC Astana, of Kazakhstan.

The other Maltese team in the competition, Sliema Wanderers will start their campaign in the second qualifying round.

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