The much-anticipated UEFA Champions League qualifiers kick off this week, and Maltese champions Hamrun Spartans are gearing up to face Maccabi Haifa at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.
After an impressive run in last season’s UEFA Europa Conference League, Hamrun Spartans clinched the BOV Premier League title and now look to build on their success under the guidance of new coach Luciano Zauri.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the match, Zauri expressed his confidence in his team’s readiness for the challenge. “We have prepared in the best possible way,” Zauri said. “We have analyzed our opponents, but our focus remains on our own qualities and opportunities. The players have shown great professionalism, and I am grateful to the club and the players themselves.”
Maccabi Haifa, known for their victory against Juventus in last season’s Champions League group stages, have undergone significant changes both in their squad and technical staff. Despite this, Zauri emphasized the importance of focusing on Hamrun’s strengths rather than the opponent. “Our concentration must be on our game,” he stated. “Maccabi Haifa is a tough adversary, but we are fully prepared and have analyzed their recent friendlies. They have good players and are strong in attack, but we are 100% prepared for the match.”
Spartans captain Steve Borg echoed Zauri’s sentiments, highlighting the team’s preparation and readiness for the upcoming challenge. “We know it won’t be an easy game, but we are confident in our plans and abilities,” Borg said. “We have recovered well from our short break and are prepared to give our best.”
With Zauri at the helm, Hamrun Spartans are entering a new phase, and the coach is eager to focus on the present and future. “Last season’s success is commendable, but my focus is on what we can achieve now,” Zauri explained. “The team is filled with talented players, and I embrace the pressure that comes with football. I am excited to be back coaching and contributing to the team’s progress.”
Zauri also spoke about the club’s recent signing of Italian goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, emphasizing the strength and competition within the squad. “We brought in Marchetti as a great addition to the team, especially with Henry Bonello’s injury. We have a tough competition for positions, including the goalkeeper position, but it’s a good problem to have. We have many options to choose from,” Zauri added.
As Hamrun Spartans kick off their Champions League journey, fans eagerly anticipate their performance and hope for another successful European campaign. The team’s focus remains on their own qualities and opportunities as they aim to overcome the challenge posed by Maccabi Haifa and continue their impressive run in European competitions.
Hamrun Spartans possible starting lineup:
Bonello; Borg, Bilic, Bjelcic; Corbalan, Krstic, Prsa, Camenzuli; Mbong, Djuranovic, Ederson
Maccabi Haifa possible starting lineup:
Nitzan; Sundgren, Seck, Kandil, Cornud; Mohamed, Haziza; Jaber, Chery, Saba; David