Maltese teams hoping to repeat last week’s success... but bookmakers think otherwise

Valletta FC play Hungarian team Ferencvaros on Wednesday night and Gzira United face Latvian outfit Ventspils on Thursday, in the first leg of the second qualifying round

Gzira United’s Hamed Kone celebrating his goal
Gzira United’s Hamed Kone celebrating his goal

European football saw two Maltese sides progressing to the next round last week after dramatic results with Valletta and Gżira supporters hoping for a repeat in this week’s round of fixtures.

Valletta FC survived a strong second half fight from F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg, with the match ending 1-1. The result saw Valletta progressing to the next round of the Champions League qualifiers on away goals, after they held their opponents to a 2-2 draw in Luxembourg in the first leg.  

Valletta will face Ferencvaros in their first leg tonight in Hungary. The match starts at 8pm local time.

Gżira United also made it through to the second qualifying round, this time of the Europa League. They eliminated Croatian giants Hajduk Split with a curling drive by Hamed Kone deep into injury time.

After losing the home fixture 0-2, Gzira conceded an early goal in Split, putting qualification to the next round beyond their reach. But the Maroons fought back in the second half, clawing back three goals, to progress to the second round on away goals.  

Gżira United will play Latvian side Ventspils in the second round. The first leg is tomorrow and Gżira will play away. The match starts at 4.45pm, local time.

Both sides’ fans will be hoping their teams can notch up good results ahead of next week's return games. The return matches will see Valletta play on Tuesday at 8pm and Gżira on Thursday at 8pm.

The odds

The odds of Valletta winning their first leg look bleak, with betting company William Hill’s current odds on the champions taking home a win standing at 16/1. Bet365’s odds stand at 14/1, Skybet’s odds stand at 14/1 while Unibet has Valletta at 17/1.

Bet365 have the odds set at 7/1 on Valletta qualifying to the next stage of the competition.

Gzira United’s chances of winning their away game on Thursday look brighter, as both Bet365 and Unibet have the odds set at 15/4 on the Maroons clinching a win against their Latvian opposition.

Bet365 have set the odds at 11/10 on Gzira qualifying to the next round.

FK Ventspils have won six league titles and seven Latvian cups.

They made history in 2009, when they were the first Latvian team to participate in the group stages of a UEFA competition, securing a place in the Europa League.

Valletta’s opposition, Ferencváros, are Hungary’s most successful football team, having won the country’s domestic league 30 times, while clinching the cup competition 23 times.

Valletta will face Dinamo Zagreb or Saburtalo if they progress to the next round, while Gzira United face Jeunesse Esch or Vitoria SC if Ventspils are eliminated.