By Nemanja Bjedov
Anorthosis and Omonia are preparing for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round matches against Swedish side Gefle IF and FC Astra Giurgiu of Romania, with the first legs scheduled for this coming Thursday.
After suffering a 5-0 defeat against Apollon in their last friendly match, ahead of the clash with Gefle IF at Larnaca’s Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in four days time, Christakis Kassianos’ men must bounce back from disappointment if they are to secure a positive result against the Swedish outfit.
This is especially so in the absence of a stadium crowd, as Anorthosis is serving a UEFA ban of three matches behind closed doors for abandoning the match against Georgian side Dila Gori, a few minutes before the final whistle, in last season’s third qualifying round.
Gefle IF is currently 13th in their national top flight and demolished Estonia’s JK Trans Narva 8-1 on aggregate in the first qualifying round.
Omonia will commence their Europa League campaign against FC Astra Giurgiu, with the first leg scheduled to take place in Romania; the second leg will be played at Nicosia’s GSP Stadium on July 25.
The Romanians eliminated Slovenian team NK Domžale 3-0 on aggregate after beating their opponents in both matches.
Omonia have faced Romanian rivals five times in European football cups, but have never managed to eliminate them.
The Nicosia powerhouse played ten matches against Romanian teams and recorded two wins, two draws and six defeats, with their latest clash against FC Vaslui in the third qualifying round of the Europa League in 2009-2010, which the Romanians claimed 3-1 on aggregate.