Malta Football Association
Title chasers braced for tricky tests
Feb 3, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League

BOV Premier League leaders Balzan face a tricky test as they face Ħamrun Spartans on Saturday at the Hibernians Stadium. The top-flight championship resumes with another interesting six-match programme and a host of clubs are expected to parade their new signings after a busy end to the January transfer window.

Two points clear of Hibernians at the top, Balzan will be going all out to get back to winning form after their 2-2 draw against Tarxien Rainbows last weekend.


The Spartans will also be determined to take something from their clash with the pace-setters after their 1-0 upset to Pembroke Athleta last weekend.


Jacques Scerri, the Ħamrun Spartans coach, must make do without Brazilian Jorge Mesque Neto who was handed a three-match ban in midweek.


Having missed the chance to climb above Balzan last weekend after going down 2-1 to Birkirkara, Hibernians meet St Andrews at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Saturday.


Brazilian right-back Marcelo Dias is out for Hibernians, suspended, while St Andrews coach Danilo Doncic can’t bank on inspirational captain Joseph Farrugia who received a one-match ban in midweek.


Valletta, held to a one-all draw by St Andrews in their last outing, will also be bracing themselves for a difficult encounter as they take on Tarxien Rainbows, unbeaten in their last seven games, at the National Stadium on Sunday.


Tarxien coach Jesmond Zerafa, who enjoyed success with Valletta FC both as a player and coach, will be hoping to extend his team’s positive run but the champions have little margin for error in a tight title race.


Alex Alves, Tarxien’s powerful wing-back, is sidelined with a one-match ban.


Birkirkara, buoyed by their 2-1 victory over Hibernians, will be looking to stay in the title mix but are unlikely to underestimate a Gżira United side who caused a surprise last weekend when beating Floriana 4-3.


The deadline-day signing of experienced playmaker Andrew Cohen has further boosted Gżira’s spirits ahead of their tough clash with the Stripes on Sunday.


Back-to-back defeats have halted Floriana’s momentum with the Greens now fifth on 33 points. On Saturday afternoon, they meet Mosta who are on a high after their 2-1 defeat of Sliema Wanderers.


Floriana midfielder Antonio Monticelli will play no part in the Mosta game as he is suspended.


Mosta’s situation is worse as they have three players serving a one-match ban – Kurt Magro, Kyle Frendo and Adrian Caruana.


In the opening game on Saturday at the Hibernians Stadium, Sliema Wanderers cross swords with Pembroke Athleta.


The Blues, who have midfielder Peter Xuereb suspended, squandered the chance to make further inroads in the standings after their upset to Mosta.


Pembroke Athleta will be seeking to build on their 1-0 win over Ħamrun as they strive to move off the bottom.

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