Following a 4-0 loss against Lithuanian side FK Ventspils away from home, it looks like Maltese side Gżira United FC are already out of the Europa League. While that seems to be the case, stranger things have happened in football. Let’s take a look at one of football’s third qualifying round matches from the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League: Dinamo Minsk VS Zenit St Petersburg.
Dinamo Minsk VS Zenit St Petersburg
The Belarusian side Dinamo Minsk met the Russian outfit of Zenit St Petersburg on the 9th August 2018, and the 16th August 2018. The Belarusian side beat the Russians 4-0 during the first match. In the second leg, Zenit St Petersburg scored 4 goals before 90 minutes to take the game to extra time. With the score drawn at 4-4 on aggregate, Dinamo Minsk’s Seidu Yahaya scored to make the score 4-1, which meant a 5-4 aggregate advantage to the Belarusians.
With 15 minutes to go, Zenit were once again losing the tie. However they would not let this stop them, as Sebastián Driussi brought the game to another draw. This would be the last time the game would see a draw on aggregate, as a goal from the penalty spot by Russian international Artem Dzyuba, another penalty scored by Róbert Mak, and a chipped goal by the same Mak sealed their victory with an aggregate of 8-5 to the Russians.
Can they make it?
Will history repeat itself? Can Gżira’s side rise to the occasion and beat the Lithuanians tonight in Ta’ Qali’s Centenary Stadium? Their supporters will certainly hope so, as qualifying to the Europa League’s third qualifying round would be a dream come true. If this happens, Gżira United FC will be the third Maltese team to do so, after Birkirkara FC in 2016, and Valletta FC after being eliminated from this year’s Champions League qualifying round.