Hibernians and Birkirkara both suffered defeats in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round but while the Paolites’ chances are close to zero after losing at Ta’ Qali, the Stripes’ narrow defeat in Hungary leaves high hopes of qualification.

At Ta’ Qali, the dismissal of Jonathan Pearson after just ten minutes and a penalty paved the way for Spartak Trnava to go three goals ahead by the end of the first half and although Hibernians reduced the gap thanks to goals by Andrew Cohen and Clayton Failla, a late goal gave the Slovakian side a 4-2 win.

On the other hand, in Debrecen, Hungary, despite going one goal down to Diosgyor, Matheus Bissi da Silva was quick to equalise and although the Brazilian defender was sent off early in the second half, it was only in added time that the Hungarians registered victory with a second goal.

The second legs will be played in a week’s time.

Article by MFA
Photo by Joe Borg