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Premiership

BANNSIDERS WELCOME SAMMARINESE VISITORS

19 Aug 2020
football
© PressEye Coleraine players celebrating Eoin Bradley's goal in the Irish Cup semi-final
Coleraine kick off their Europa League campaign on Thursday evening when they host San Marino's La Fiorita at The Showgrounds.
 
The Bannsiders qualified for the competition after securing the Danske Bank Premiership runners-up spot and with it a third European experience in four seasons.
 
Their Sammarinese opponents have qualified for Europe consistently over the past nine seasons, but have lost every game except one ... against Linfield in the 2017-18 Champions League when they held the Blues to a scoreless draw in the microstate but went down 1-0 at Windsor Park, and even then only to an 89th minute Jordan Stewart goal.
 
La Fiorita go into the game under new coach Nicola Berardi. Only appointed to the role last month, he has drafted in a number of new faces to strengthen their panel including midfielder Marcello Mularoni, defensive duo Andrea Grandoni and Andrea Brighi plus Italian striker Christian Damiano, most recently with Serie D side Trestina.
 
Kicking off at 7:30pm, Thursday's game will be played to a finish behind closed doors, as per UEFA regulations, but it will be streamed live via the BBC Sport NI website.
 
The winners are away to Slovenia's NK Maribor in the First Qualifying Round next Thursday evening.