Tre Penne vs Rabotnicki by Isaiah
A modest side from San Marino will once again have a chance to present themselves in European competitions, this time playing in the first round of Europa League against Macedonian Rabotnicki. Tre Penne had a decent previous season, as the team managed to win the Cup competition in the finals over La Fiorita 2:0, however they didn't manage to get Champions League qualifiers losing the domestic league in play-off stage.
They reached the finals, however La Fiorita was better this time, celebrating with a 2:1 result after extra-time. Their season has ended late in May and since the league starts later, it's hard to say that the amateurs from San Marino had real preparations for this one, as in every previous season. They already had five outings in Europe in previous few years, being twice defeated on all occasions so far (Zrinjski, Rad, Dudelange, The New Saints), with exception of victory against Armenian side Shirak 1:0 at home back in 2013, but they got outplayed on the road with a 3:0 defeat later on.
Rabotnicki, on the other side, disappointed a bit in previous season, as the team only managed to get the third position and more worrying was the fact that they have ended the season with twenty-nine points less than champions from Vardar and sixteen points less than second placed Shkendija. On the other side, they were quite safe with European exit, so the team didn't care much for their results towards the end of the season.
They have ended the season with two straight defeats, last one being against relegation struggling from Bregalnica Stip 6:2. Now, they turn their attention to European matches as it's one of rare chances to test their players a bit more. The side is having much more experience as a club in Europe, even reaching the play-off stage of Europa League twice in recent times, losing to Lazio in 2011 and to Rubin only with a 1:2 aggregate result back in 2015. As for the Cup competition, they were eliminated by Shkedija in 1/8f finals stage with a 2:0 aggregate score later in previous year. Defenders Najdovski (20/1) and Shikov (15/0) are suspended for this one, while midfielder Elmas (33/6) will miss too.
Visiting side managed to overpower such opponents in previous years with ease. Having in mind that it's off-season for both teams, I give plenty of more chances to players of Rabotnicki. They are not European cream, however should be more than quality for the amateurs from San Marino this time. Two goals difference is surely objective target for them.