In the 12th minute, Tai Baribo put Wolfsberger on the road to victory in front of 500 spectators at Ta’Qali’s MFA Centenary Stadium. Dominik Baumgartner made the preliminary decision before the break (33rd). Thorsten Röcher from the penalty spot (59th) and substitute Augustine Boakye (84th) ensured the final score. In contrast to the zero number in Klagenfurt, the Wolfsbergers presented themselves sovereign against the outsiders from Malta. The hosts also ended the game after two yellow-red with two men less.
In the play-off the winner of the duel Molde FK against the Hungarian runners-up Kisvarda awaits. The second leg between the two possible opponents is on Thursday (9 p.m.) on the program. Molde go into the game in Hungary with the clearly better cards, as the first leg in Norway ended in a clear 3-0 win for the hosts. The promoted team in the group stage, for which a starting fee of three million euros awaits, will ultimately be determined in the play-off games on August 18th and 25th.
Boakye marks the end
The “Joker”, who came on in the 75th minute, put the final point with the fourth WAC goal.
The Wolfsbergers were relieved after the heated battle that they finally made it into the play-offs. “We put the pressure on ourselves because we wanted to get through. We didn’t do that well in the first leg, but we did today,” said goal scorer Baumgartner in an ORF interview, “Maltese were hoping for more, but in the end we downplayed it and deservedly got promoted.”
Guests get the lightning start they had hoped for
The WAC was already under pressure after three league games without a win, including the 5-1 defeat at LASK last Saturday. With more than 30 degrees Celsius inland on the Mediterranean island, coach Robin Dutt relied on an additional offensive man in youngster Thierno Ballo – and was rewarded for it. Michael Novak and Adis Jasic, who replaced Jonathan Scherzer, who was injured during the warm-up, acted on the flanks.
Goalgetter Baribo made representations to Gzira goalkeeper Darijan Radelic-Zarkov after just 40 seconds, on whom WAC had lost his teeth in the first leg in Klagenfurt. Malta’s fourth-placed team from last season slowed down the game in front of around 500 spectators. After eleven minutes, however, Ballo penetrated the penalty area with dynamism. The ball got lucky to Baribo and the Israeli, who had already scored in the cup and league, shot in. Shortly thereafter, Gzira’s Luke Tabone almost put a cross from Thorsten Röcher into his own goal (20′).
On the defensive, however, the WAC seemed anything but stable. Counter-attacking opportunities opened up again and again for the Maltese around attacker Jefferson. But Baumgartner made it 2-0. The central defender was just not offside when Ballo shot after a corner kick and hit the far corner from the turn. The 26-year-old, who was actually aiming for a summer transfer to Sturm Graz, celebrated his first European Cup goal.
Baumgartner increases to 2:0
The 26-year-old brother of ÖFB team player Christoph Baumgartner makes the preliminary decision before the break
Penalty breaks resistance
The final decision came after the change of sides: After Gziras saw Zachary Scerri sent off (53′), Gabriel Mentz brought Baribo down in the penalty area. Röcher used the penalty safely in the right corner. Scottish referee Nicholas Walsh remained a protagonist. Because he had already drawn so many cards before the break, he also had to rule out Jefferson after a break (66′). Any resistance by the Maltese was then broken.
Röcher sinks a penalty safely
The veteran doesn’t miss the chance to make it 3-0 from the penalty spot.
After Nikolaos Vergos hit the crossbar from a tight angle (80′), Augustine Boakye, who was also a substitute, made sure of the final score with a well-considered shot from the edge of the penalty area. The 21-year-old from Ghana missed the big chance to score his second goal (88′). Nevertheless, the eleventh victory of an ÖFB representative in the twelfth European Cup duel with a club from Malta could not be shaken. The 0:0 in Klagenfurt was the only loss of points so far.
Europa Conference League Third Qualifying Round Second Leg
Gzira United – WAC 0:4 (0:2)
Ta’Qali, MFA Centenary Stadium, 500, SR Walsh (SCO)
0:1 Baribo (12.)
0:2 Baumgartner (33.)
0: 3 Röcher (59th / penalty)
0:4 Boakye (84.)
Island: Radelic-Zarkov – Cosic, Tabone (45./ Thiaguinho), Gabriel Mentz, Marcelo Dias – Riascos (70./Mendoza), Muscat (70./B. Borg), Scerri – Jefferson, Correa (45./Gauci), Collect (70./A. Borg)
WAC: Bonmann – Baumgartner, Piesinger, Schifferl – Novak, Kerschbaumer (75th / Boakye), Leitgeb (67th / Omic), Jasic – Röcher (61st / Vergos), Baribo, Ballo (45th / Taferner)
Yellow cards: Dias, Gauci and Schiffrl, Baumgartner, Jasic
Yellow-Red: Serri (52.), Jefferson (65.)
First leg: 0-0 – WAC 4-0 on aggregate in play-off (18 and 25 August) vs Sieger from Molde – Kisvarda (first leg: 3-0)