Ħamrun Spartans host Partizan Belgarde in the second leg of the UEFA Conference League playoff

Ħamrun Spartans lost 4-1 against Partizan Belgrade in the first leg of the UEFA Conference League’s play-off stage despite displaying a combative spirit

Ħamrun Spartans (Photo: Facebook)
Ħamrun Spartans (Photo: Facebook)

Ħamrun Spartans hope to turn the tide as they host Partizan Belgarde in the second-leg of the UEFA Conference League on Thursday.

Ħamrun were stunned in the first half with Partizan scoring three goals in the 15th, 25th and 33rd minutes. The Spartans had a goal cancelled because of a foul on the Partizan goalkeeper just before the half-time whistle.

In the second half, Ħamrun piled pressure on Partizan and managed to score through a Matthew Guillaumier header from a corner kick by Prsa in the 52nd minute.

Guillaumier almost made it two goals a few minutes later when he connected to another Prsa free-kick but was denied by Partizan goalkeeper Popovic.

With 15 minutes left, Patrick Andrade scored Partizan’s fourth goal after a solo effort inside the penalty area that left the Ħamrun defence gaping.

The margin of defeat makes it hard for Ħamrun to turn around the result in the return match at Ta' Qali in Malta today, but assistant coach Nisevic is not shying away from the challenge.

“We have our style of play… we press high and go to the other box whilst keeping possession, but yes there will be small tactical adjustments,” he told the media in a press conference on Wednesday.

He insisted that while the Serbian side played well, statistics where on the Spartans’ side.

“The difference is the individual players that they possess. The result is not a perfect reflection of what happened on the pitch. We had better possession and even if they now have a new coach, we can say that we believe if we repeat the same performance the result should be definitely on our side this time around,” he said.

He also praised the fans’ support, who are expected to turn up for tonight’s European football tie.

“We thank them from the bottom of our heart for being there every step of the way. We are looking forward to give them more nice memories this year,” he said.

The game kicks off at 8pm on Thursday night.