BATE or Sarajevo await City in Europa League Published on: 06-08-2019

Astana vs Valletta

Valletta will be facing either Bate Borisov, of Belarus, or Bosnia’s Sarajevo in the play-off round of the Europa League should the Malta champions successfully overcome Kazakhstan’s Astana in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
Valletta left Malta yesterday  for a long trip to Kazakhstan where they will take on Astana in the third qualifying round first leg tie on Thursday.
After last week’s elimination from the Champions League qualifiers at the hands of Ferencvaros, following a commendable 1-1 draw at the Centenary Stadium, Valletta yesterday discovered their next opponents in Europe should they have the better over
Astana in the two-legged tie.
The draw in Nyon pitted Valletta with former Champions League participants BATE Borisov or Sarajevo.
BATE are on paper a much tougher proposition for Valletta as the Belarus side are used to play in the group stages of both the Champions League and the Europa League.
Like Valletta, the Belorussians were eliminated from this summer’s Champions League qualifiers after going down to Norwegian side Rosenborg 3-2 on aggregate.
On the other hand, Sarajevo are of a lesser stature than BATE as the Bosnian champions were eliminated from this year’s Champions League by Scotland’s Celtic 5-2 on aggregate.
The Bosnians have so far never managed to reach the group stages of a major UEFA competition.
Sarajevo are no new opponents for Maltese teams having faced Marsaxlokk in the Champions League qualifiers in 2007 and then played Hibernians in the Europa League in 2012.
Valletta are Malta’s remaining representatives in the UEFA club competitions after Balzan, Hibernians and Gżira United all bowed out from the Europa League in the last few weeks.