Partizani prevail in Malta

Round-up 2: Albania's FK Partizani progressed for the first time, and are joined by both Slovenian contenders.

Albania's FK Partizani progressed in the UEFA Cup for the first time, while both of Slovenia's first qualifying round participants won through tonight and AC Omonia and FHK Liepajas Metalurgs were on goalscoring form.

Bylykbashi scores
Partizani had beaten Malta's Birkirkara FC 4-2 a fortnight ago, but were given a tough test tonight and after losing 2-1 prevailed only 5-4 on aggregate. Birkirkara had the better of the early exchanges, but could not force a goal and a minute before half-time Bekim Kuli found Dorian Bylykbashi to score for the visitors.

Birkirkara rally in vain
Constant pressure after the break finally told for Birkirkara on 56 minutes when Haruna Doda's perfect free-kick found Antoine Zahra, who scored with a looping header. Seven minutes from time Birkirkara were ahead in when Romanian defender Lucian Dronca got hold of a loose ball just inside the box and his dipping shot brought his side to within one goal of progress, but Partizani held on.
 
Maribor hold on
NK Maribor, entering this competition after missing out on the Slovenian title for the first time in eight years, held a 1-0 lead going into the home leg of their tie with FK Sileks of F.Y.R. Macedonia, and doubled their advantage five minutes in tonight as Milan Rakic set up Dragan Jelic to score. Sileks responded well, but faced determined home defending and only in the 78th minute did Stevica Ristic reduced the visitors' aggregate arrears to 2-1, and they could not score again to prevent Maribor entering Friday's draw.

Primorje progress
Also 1-0 up from their away leg were Maribor's compatriots NK Primorje as they welcomed Marsaxlokk FC from Malta. In a match played at Športni Park in Nova Gorica as Primoje's regular stadium did not meet UEFA criteria, the Slovenian side still made themselves at home and on 12 minutes Goran Jolic scored with a long-range free-kick. Two minutes later Robert Miloš put Primorje further ahead, and with Marsaxlokk only managing one shot all night, they bowed out 3-0 overall.

Katsonov scores four
It was also a good day for Latvian sides against opponents from the Faroe Islands. FK Ventspils beat B68 Toftir 8-0 to go through 11-0 on aggregate, while Metalurgs overcame B36 Tórshavn 8-1 to make it 11-2 in total. It was 6-0 to the home side by half-time, with Aleksandr Katsonov on target four times, Viktors Dobrecovs and Genadijs Solonicins scoring the other goals. B36 pulled one back 17 minutes from time, but Edvinas Lukoševicius and Kristaps Grebis swiftly extended the lead.

Comfortable for Omonia
Cypriot side Omonia sealed an 8-1 aggregate triumph against FK Sloga Jugomagnat thanks to a 4-1 win in F.Y.R. Macedonia. Nicos Georgiou made it 1-0 to Omonia after ten minutes, and early in the second half Vesko Mihaalovic scored their second. Omonia were forcing constant pressure, and Constantinos Kaiafas claimed a goal in the 69th minute. Ardijan Nuhiji pulled one back, but there was still time for Lubija Kekic to confirm the victory.

Honvéd happy
Budapest Honvéd FC survived a scare at home to FC MIKA. Having lost 1-0 at home, Armenian side MIKA led by that score at half-time in Hungary before Tibor Bábik's 58th minute goal ensured a 2-1 aggregate win for Honvéd.

Tiraspol triumph
FC Shirak followed compatriots MIKA out of the competition as they lost 2-0 to FC Tiraspol in Moldova to complete a 4-1 overall defeat, while Iceland's FH Hafnarfjördur won by the same aggregate against European debutants Haverfordwest County AFC to claim their first overall victory in this competition after beating the Welsh side 3-1 tonight.

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