Reigning Estonian football champions Tallinn FC Flora advanced to the final qualifying play-off round of the UEFA Europa League, notching a 4:2 penalty shootout win over Maltese club Floriana after things were goal-less in regular time.
The first half passed without much action; Flora dominated possession at 59 percent and pulled off three shots on goal. but none hit the net. Ball possession in the second half was, on the other hand, dominated by the reigning Maltese champions, Floriana, at 57 minutes to 43 minutes, but still neither team was able to score.
The two teams thus headed for extra-time, where a rather cautious pace was set, culminating in penalties - something which Flora had been preparing for after crashing out of the top-tier Champions League qualifiers in a shoot-out - after the two periods of extra time were devoid of goals too.
Flora converted four of their five penalties, with Michael Lilander, Vladislav Kreida, Märten Kuusk and Frank Liivak accurate from the spot.
Floriana's first penalty was punted over the crossbar by Kristian Keqi. Flora goal-keeper Matvei Igonen saved the Maltese club's second penalty, but Markus Poom was not able to make it three straight for Flora. The teams then traded shots until Frank Liivak scored on Flora's fifth attempt, giving the Estonian side a 4:2 overall penalties victory (the full penalty shootout sequence is available as video at the top of this article).
After falling out of this year's Champions League on penalties on August 21, Flora made sure not to repeat the experience in their second-tier Europa League qualifiers. Forward Rauno Sappinen had said the day before the game that the reigning Estonian champion club had been practicing their penalty-taking just in case.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste