The 2023/24 season is in full flow for KAA Gent forward Gift Orban who has his sights set on the UEFA Europa Conference League second-leg clash with MŠK Žilina.
Gent thrashed the Slovakian side 5-1 in the first leg at the Ghelamco Arena last Thursday. Orban scored in that tie and followed it up with another in their Belgian Jupiler Pro League opener against Kortrijk on Sunday.
The return leg at the Štadión pod Dubňom is another opportunity for the 21-year-old to help Gent make it to the Europa Conference League finals, which begins in September.
MŠK Žilina v KAA Gent: Ticket to Europa Conference League third qualifying round at stake
Gent and Žilina are battling for one ticket to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
The 11,000-seater Štadión pod Dubňom will play host to both teams and the home side will be attempting to spur their team on to make up for the four-goal deficit from the first leg in Belgium.
The tie is as good as sorted because it is unlikely that the Buffalos will fall to the Shoshone on Thursday 3 August. Žilina, however, will come into the game on the back of a 3-1 win in the Slovak Super Liga.
They were in a bad run of form before the match but that win will boost their morale as they face off against Gent and Orban in the Europa Conference League.
Gent manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck is unlikely to start a much-changed XI against the Slovakian side with matchday two of their Belgian Jupiler Pro League season coming up on Sunday 6 August.
— KAA Gent (@KAAGent) July 31, 2023
Considering the away form of Gent in the Europa Conference League, it can be inferred that the upcoming fixture will see over two goals scored.
Gent have also overperformed in their last five matches. Experts predicted wins with margins of one or two goals. Only their Belgium League opener stuck true to those predictions in recent times which gives Žilina hope of a win in front of their fans.
Vanhaezebrouck will also be spurred to keep up the momentum of the win he secured in Gent's first opening day win in 10 seasons last Sunday. He will also hope that Gift Orban's strike partner Hugo Cuypers will be fit for the game, after having to play with a bloodied head against Kortrijk.
Gift Orban looks to play Europa Conference League with different team
Glory on the Europa Conference League stage beckons for Orban but the forward is looking to do it outside Gent.
Before starting the Belgian Jupiler Pro League season, Orban spoke to the media about his wish to play in another league ahead of the 2023/24 season.
“No, I’m not talking to my manager; he’s doing his job,” Orban said after scoring in the first leg against Žilina. “I love Belgium, but I want to go to a bigger league. “There, I can gain more experience and improve.”
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 30, 2023
He also spoke about his disappointment with scoring just one goal in Gent's 5-1 thrashing of the Slovakian side in their first leg Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
“I'm not happy, no. I should have scored a lot more goals. How many? More than four. Oh well, it's the first match, I have to stay calm and focused. Sometimes one flies on the pole instead of inside,” the Super Eagles prospect added.
With this mentality, it is expected that he puts in his best to help Gent secure the ticket to the third qualifying round, which will help them compete for the third-ever UEFA Europa Conference League title.
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago