Paide hoping for 'Estonian football miracle' against Anderlecht

Paide Linnameeskond - Anderlecht, Thursday, August 4 2022.
Paide Linnameeskond - Anderlecht, Thursday, August 4 2022. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonian club Paide Linnameeskond are prepared for a tough battle in Brussels tonight as they aim to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their UEFA Conference League third qualifying round tie with Belgian giants Anderlecht.

Paide, who arrived in Belgium on Tuesday ahead of the game, are the only Estonian side still in European competition at this stage of the season, after Tallinn clubs FC Flora and FCI Levadia both failed to make it past the Conference League's second qualifying phase.

Head coach Karel Voolaid was under no illusions about the task in hand, believing nothing short of a miracle is required for the Estonian Cup holders to progress into the group stages of the competition.  "There is no doubt that we need to perform one of the biggest miracles in Estonian club football," admitted Voolaid. "We are in a very difficult position after the first leg, 2-0 down. But the game will start from 0-0. We have our own plan for this game and we'll see how well it goes."

Nevertheless, Paide, who reached this stage after defeating Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi and then Armenians Ararat-Armenia on penalties in the previous rounds, were in good spirits as they set off for Brussels from Tallinn on Tuesday.

All the players who traveled to Belgium with the squad are available for selection. However, Dutch forward Deabeas Owusu-Sekyere will be sorely missed by the Estonian side, having scored 9 goals in 18 Meistriliiga appearances so far this season. According to, Deabeas is soon to complete a transfer away from the club, meanning he will not feature in Thursday night's game.

One Paide player who will be on the field, is legendary Estonian national team defender Ragnar Klavan. Klavan, who joined Paide from Italian club Calgiari last season, having previously completed spells at Liverpool and FC Augsburg, even found time last week to present Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas with a signed club shirt.

Prime Minister Kallas shared photos of her meeting with Klavan on Instagram, praising Paide's run in the competition so far as a "big feat for a small team."

Tonight's UEFA Conference League third qualifying round second leg match between Paide Linnameeskond and Anderlecht kicks off at 21:00 Estonian time. Live coverage of tonight's match can be found on ETV2, starting from 20:50.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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