FC Differdange 03 have their sights set on a UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie against either Tromsø IL or FC İnter Bakı after a remarkable comeback victory against FC Utrecht last night.
The first leg at the Josy Barthel stadium did not start well for the Luxembourger side, who fell behind to Jacob Mulenga's second-minute strike before an Omar Er Rafik double gave them the upper hand going into next Thursday's return. Afterwards, assistant coach Emilio Lobo revealed the slightly unusual pre-match research that had underpinned the win. "We had a look around on YouTube to learn a little more about our opponents," he explained. "Our manager also asked a number of foreign colleagues about the club."
However, coach Michel Leflochmoan is refusing to get carried away. Although he conceded that the Dutch Eredivisie team are superior, he was impressed with how his own charges handled the early setback and stuck to their principles throughout. "They are stronger than us," said the 61-year-old, who has been in charge at Differdange for a year. "When the players took to the field, they knew we could go behind. They were mentally prepared for it.
"I said, even if we go a goal down, it doesn't change anything. We left it up to our organisation. Praise should go to the players. They were mature, stuck together and were really motivated. Whenever we had the ball we caused them problems. We made them run."
The Luxembourger First Division outfit finished fourth last term to earn their place in the competition and, having beaten KF Laçi of Albania 3-1 on aggregate in the first qualifying round, they will be looking to complete the job in the Netherlands next week. Leflochmoan believes it will be a tough task. "The difference will be clear across the two matches," he added. "They are stronger than us. To play in front of 15,000 people will be hard. The game next week will be difficult."
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