Mura lose first leg in Europa League last qualifying round
Murska Sobota – Slovenian football champions Mura lost 1:3 (1:1) at home to Austrian Sturm Graz in the first leg of the play-off round of Europa League qualification. The only goal for Mura was scored by Žiga Škoflek in the third minute. The return leg will be played in Graz next Thursday.
Despite a promising start, the Slovenian champions made it difficult for themselves before the second leg of the tie. Sturm Graz showed their quality, punished the mistakes of the Mura defence and achieved a very good position for the return leg in front of their fans.
Mura started the match very well, taking the lead in the third minute. But the Austrians then kicked into higher gear, scoring three goals to defeat the Slovenian champions, who were unable to reduce the deficit despite several attempts.
Nevertheless, Ante Šimundža’s side showed for the most part that they can compete equally against a respectable opponent, squandered some excellent chances and still retained a slim hope of qualifying for the group stage of the Europa League.
The 3rd placed team from the Austrian Bundesliga will now host Mura in Graz on 26 August in the return leg. Even if the Slovenian champions drop out of the UEFA Europa League next Thursday, they have a guaranteed spot in the third-tier UEFA Europa Conference League.
Europa League qualification would bring Mura EUR 3.63 million, but in any case, they are guaranteed to receive at least EUR 2.94 million by playing in the Conference League.
Mura are the last remaining Slovenian club in European football competitions, after Olimpija Ljubljana lost to Portugal’s Santa Clara in the 3rd round of qualifying for the UEFA Europa Conference League last week.
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