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Žilina bounce back to floor Birkirkara

MŠK Žilina 3-0 FC Birkirkara (agg: 3-1)
Goals from Jozef Piaček, Ivan Lietava and Tomáš Oravec helped a dominant Žilina side overturn their first-leg deficit against the Maltese champions.

Tomáš Oravec scores Žilina's final goal against Birkirkara
Tomáš Oravec scores Žilina's final goal against Birkirkara ©Ján Mintál

MŠK Žilina finally made their dominance count to overturn a first-leg deficit against FC Birkirkara and run out 3-1 aggregate winners.

The Slovakian champions started the second qualifying round decider 1-0 down after last week's loss in Malta. They soon levelled matters through Jozef Piaček, but despite creating plenty of openings did not move ahead in the tie until the 77th minute, Tomáš Oravec putting the result beyond doubt in added time to set up a third qualifying round tie against PFC Litex Lovech.

The hosts were rewarded for their early pressure in the 21st minute when Piaček headed in Emil Rilke's precise right-wing cross. Oravec then passed up a glorious chance, missing an open goal after Ivan Lietava won possession deep in Birkirkara territory. In the 35th minute, Oravec was left all alone with goalkeeper Ezequiel Lovizon but could not apply the finishing touch and the same player fell short again before half-time after dancing into the area.

Birkirkara's only real chance came just after the break when Michael Galea's header drifted just wide. Štefan Zošák then tested Lovizon from range before the keeper's error let in Lietava who put Žilina in the box seat. Oravec had another chance to put the tie beyond Paul Zammit's men before finally finding the target in added time after an eye-catching team move.