Thrilling finale as Valletta, Hibs face off in title deciderPublished: 04-05-2019 08:20
CompetitionsBOV Premier League
The 2018/19 BOV Premier League will reach a thrilling climax this afternoon (Saturday) with Valletta and Hibernians facing each other in a title decider at the National Stadium (kick-off 16.30). The two title challengers ended their league campaign level on 58 points, hence a decider is needed to establish this season’s champions. Valletta were on the verge of winning the title last Saturday but conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Ħamrun Spartans while Hibernians overcame Balzan 5-1. At the pre-match press conference, held on Friday at the Trophies Lounge, Valletta coach Gilbert Agius said that the unwavering support of the club fans has given the team a lot of courage. “The incredible support we had at the last match has filled us with courage,” Agius said. “The fans stayed behind the team throughout the match. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to close the title issue last week but we’re still in it as there is another game left. “I’m convinced that the Valletta supporters will again be the 12th player. Perhaps even they don’t realise the courage they give us when they keep supporting the team through thick and thin. “I believe that if, we can identify a slight edge over Hibernians, that will be our fans.” Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra believes that the decider represents a fitting finale to what has been an exciting title race. “I think it’s the best scenario for Maltese football following the neck-and-neck race for the BOV Premier League title involving Valletta and us,” Sanderra, who took charge of Hibernians last summer, said. “My message is that I hope it will be an entertaining match. We will play our game according to our qualities and principles based on hard work while hoping that our flair in attack will give us that unpredictability to surprise Valletta.” Friday’s press conference was also addressed by the two captains, Valletta’s Jonathan Caruana and Bjorn Kristensen, of Hibernians. Both players are cautiously optmisatic about their team’s chances of emerging on top in what promises to be a hard-fought encounter and appealed to their supporters to back their team. Valletta, who are looking to defend the title they won last season, will be without Joseph Zerafa and Ibrahim Saleh, both suspended. Hibernians, who are chasing their 13th top-flight title, are missing striker Jurgen Degabriele who is recovering from a knee operation.