Europa League: Hibs face Molde or Laci if they defeat Asteras Tripolis

Hibs will face Norwegian side Molde or FK Laci of Albania in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round if they can get past Greek side Asteras Tripolis.

Molde finished runners up in last season’s Eliteserien, and are currently managed by former Manchester United and Norway international striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

They defeated Northern Ireland’s Glenavon 6-3 on aggregate in the First Qualifying Round, and face KF Laçi of Albania in the Second Qualifying Round.

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This is Molde’s 14th appearance in the Europa League, including under its former UEFA Cup branding. During the 2015/16 competition, they defeated Celtic 3-1 at home, and recorded a 2-1 win at Parkhead in the group stages.

Hibs defeated Runavik in round one and will face Asteras Tripolis in round two. Picture: SNS
Hibs defeated Runavik in round one and will face Asteras Tripolis in round two. Picture: SNS

The Norwegians topped Group A and advanced to face Sevilla, winning 1-0 at the Aker Stadion before a 3-0 reversal in Spain spelled the end of their journey.

Erling Braut Haaland, son of former Leeds and Manchester City footballer Alf-Inge Haaland, currently plays for Molde and has reportedly been scouted by a number of English Premier League sides.

Laçi on the other hand have competed just four times in Europe prior to the current campaign, losing 8-2 on aggregate to Dnepr Mogilev of Belarus in 2010/11 and 3-1 on aggregate to Luxembourg’s Differdange in 2013/14.

They fared slightly better in the 2014/15 Europa League, defeating Slovenian side Rudar Velenje on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate scoreline, but lost 5-1 to Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine in the Second Qualifying Round.

2015/16 saw Laçi lose on away goals to Inter Baku after a 1-1 draw at home and a goalless draw in Azerbaijan, while they defeated Anorthosis Famagusti of Cyprus on away goals in the First Qualifying Round this year after a 2-2 aggregate scoreline.

Goalkeeper Gentian Selmani has been in and around the Albanian national team in recent months while local boy Taulant Sefgjinaj is the team’s elder statesman, and has made more than 170 appearances for Laçi over three different spells since 2005.

The 3QR ties will be played on August 9 and 16.