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Gżira complete historic qualification

Beat Andorra's Saint Julia to complete aggregate win

Emmanuel Okoye of Gżira United in action against UE Sant Julia. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Emmanuel Okoye of Gżira United in action against UE Sant Julia. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Gżira United reached another landmark in their club's history when they came from a goal down to beat Andorra's Sant Julia 2-1 and book their place into the first qualifying round of the Europa League following a 4-1 aggregate win.

It was far from a comfortable evening for the Maroons who after holding the edge for much of the first half, they found themselves behind after 62 minutes.

Joel Mendez Del Rio made space for himself on the edge of the area and his low drive had the better of Justin Haber.

But Gżira took just two minutes to hit back.

Roderick Briffa chipped the ball towards Zarate who was upended by goalkeeper Ratti.

From the spot, Samb kept his cool to blast the ball into the roof of the net.

Sant Julia almost regained their lead on 66 minutes when Luis Blanco looked set to score but his fluffed his effort in front of a gaping goal.

Gżira quickly recovered their poise and went on to cap a memorable evening with the winner in stoppage time.

Edison Bilbao Zarate let fly a scorching drive from the edge of the area that gave no chance to Kevin Ratti, the Sant Julia goalkeeper.

Sant Julia's hopes were all but extinguished when captain Luis Blanco was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

There was still time for one last opportunity for Gżira when Nikolai Muscat was unlikely to see his shot coming off the upright.

But that little mattered as at the final whistle Gżira celebrated their qualification as they now take on Serbia's Radinski in the first qualifying round.

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