[WATCH] Triumph in Croatia: Gżira demolish Hajduk Split in Europa League

Gżira United make it to the second qualifying round of the Europa League after an impressive comeback sees them winning over Croatian side Hajduk Split

Triumph in Croatia! Watch Gzira FC demolish mighty Hajduk Split
Triumph in Croatia! Watch Gzira FC demolish mighty Hajduk Split
The Gżira United clan celebrating victory in the dressing room (Photo: Gżira Utd/Facebook)
The Gżira United clan celebrating victory in the dressing room (Photo: Gżira Utd/Facebook)

Gżira United have every reason to feel accomplished after knocking out Croatian football giants Hajduk Split from the Europa League on Thursday.

The Premier League club reversed a 2-0 defeat in Malta last week to beat the Croatian team 3-1 at the Poljud Stadium in Split.

The winning goal came deep into injury time after Ivorian striker Hamed Kone kept his cool and hit a splendid volley that stunned the stadium. Kone had earlier scored Gżira’s second goal with an amazing bicycle kick.

Gżira qualified to the second round of the Europa League qualifiers on the strength of the away goals rule.

After going one goal down just seven minutes into the game, it looked all but out of reach for Gżira. But an incredible comeback in the second half saw the Maroons snatch victory at the dead of time.

Victory surprised the Gżira clan but most of all, shocked and angered the 18,000 Hajduk Split supporters.

At the final whistle, some of the Hajduk supporters smashed stadium seats and invaded the pitch to chase after their own players.

But Gżira’s passage to the second round is also significant because this is the first time the club has progressed into the next round of a European club competition. The Maroons now face Latvian side Ventspils.

And while the Gżira clan in Croatia celebrated, the club received accolades here in Malta. Nationalist MP Robert Arrigo and former Sliema Wanderers president congratulated the team for its impressive qualification. He praised the players and Gżira club president Sharlon Pace for the whole set up.

Congratulations also poured in from Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and supporters of other Maltese clubs.

On Tuesday, Valletta also made it to the second round of the Champions League qualifying stages after a draw against Luxembourg side Dudelange saw them through on the away goals rule.

Valletta now face Hungarian champions Ferencvaros.

More in Football