After a double win over Shamrock Rovers and a 5-3 victory over Fehérvár, our defending Hungarian champions travelled to Malta to play Hamrun Spartans in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. Our head coach Csaba Máté made several changes to the starting eleven he saw at the weekend, sending out Dibusz - Makreckis, Mmaee, Cissé, Ramírez - Sigér, Ben Romdhane, Abu Fani - Traoré, Varga B., Zachariassen.
It didn't take long to get the first goal of the match, in the third minute Abu Fani scored a great goal from 30 meters (0-1)! After his three assists against Fehérvár, the Israeli midfielder now has a goal for FTC. Five minutes later, Hamrun threatened first, as former player Joseph Paintsil's brother Seth Paintsil tried to score from a sharp angle, but Dibusz saved, and the Hungarian national team goalkeeper had to save twice more.
In the 17th minute, Ben Romdhane passed to Traore after a brilliant clearance, who shot in front of goal after two adjustments, but the goalkeeper saved, and Zachariassen fired the rebound over. Past the half-hour mark came another attempt by our Malian winger, Marchetti was again alert. Moments later, Ben Romdhane fired in from inside the penalty area, but the home goalkeeper was able to save again. In the dying minutes of the period, Hamrun first tried again, this time with a deep cross, but Dibusz moved well out of his goal.
There were no more goals in the first half and Abu Fani's early wonder goal gave us a 1-0 lead at the break.
Although the home side started the second half, our team got the ball very quickly and after a well-constructed attack Makreckis tried to score from a sharp angle, but was blocked by the Maltese defence. In the 50th minute, Bjelilic's free-kick was saved by Dibusz. Afterwards, we quickly got to the home goal, first Abu Fani's and then Traoré's shots were blocked, but Zachariassen was in the right place and headed the ball into the empty net (0-2). Our Norwegian midfielder scored for the third match in a row.
Two minutes later, a bouncing ball back and forth was converted by Barnabás Varga (0-3), and after three minutes the Hungarian striker scored a second goal (0-4). In the 57th minute, we made two changes: Ben Romdhane and Makreckis left the pitch, Owusu and Wingo arrived. Our American defender made his first appearance for Ferencváros after a long time, after the home UEL round of 16 game against Leverkusen (16 March 2023), 147 days after the match.
Despite the four-goal lead, our team kept Hamrun under pressure, we created a series of situations, and in the 65th minute Barnabás Varga stepped up and again shot accurately (0-5). Twenty minutes before the end of normal time, after a pass from Sigér, Traoré slid in, and Barnabás Varga came down the length and came close to the fourth, but only hit the post.
Moments later, Traoré aimed for the top long corner, but Marchetti made a great save to push the ball over the bar. In the 88th minute, Eder found Dibusz's goal, but the captain saved first, yet, moments later Montebello made it 1-5. A goal was the perfect answer to the goal: Owusu scored at the end of a beautifully executed attack (1-6).
Our football team won 6-1 away to Hamrun and will now have a big advantage in the return leg. The match resumes in a week's time, on Thursday 17 August at 19.00 at the Groupama Arena.
UEFA Europa Conference League Liga, Round 3, 1st leg
Hamrun Spartans – FTC 1-6 (0-1)
Ta’ Qali, National Stadium, Malta
Hamrun Spartans: Marchetti – Mbong (Corbalan, 72.), Borg, Marcellina, Bjelicic – Elionay da Silva (Krstic, 72.), Prsa, Nenov (Eder, 59.), Camenzuli – Robert (Montebello, 59.), Paintsil
Head coach: Luciano Zauri
FTC: Dibusz – Makreckis (Wingo, 57.), Mmaee, Cissé (Knoester, 66.), Ramírez (Pászka, 78.) – Sigér, Ben Romdhane (Owusum 57.), Abu Fani (Tokmac, 66.) – Traoré, Varga B., Zachariassen
Head coach: Máté Csaba
Yellow card: Prsa (31.), Nenov (37.), Borg (66.), Montebello (70.), resp. Makreckis (45.)
Goals: Montebello (89.), resp. Abu Fani (3.), Zachariassen (51.), Varga B. (53., 56., 65.), Owusu (90.)
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