Malta Football Association
Tricky games for title chasers Hibernians and Balzan
Apr 7, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League

With each team having five matches remaining to complete the league trek and the front-runners Hibernians, Balzan and Valletta enjoying a handsome points’ lead over Birkirkara and Floriana the battle for the title is, for all intents and purposes, restricted to this top trio.

Only two points separate the leading three teams in this enthralling title race following Valletta’s dramatic win over Hibernians in midweek and Balzan’s 3-1 success over Gżira United.


This weekend, Hibernians and Balzan face tricky fixtures against Floriana and Birkirkara respectively while Valletta meet Gżira United. 


After sharing the points in the first and second round encounters with Floriana, Hibernians would need to up their game to collect maximum points at the expense of the Greens.


There is optimism in their camp that they can accomplish their mission and maintain pole position in the rankings as the Paolites seek to make amends for their upset to Valletta which has thrown the title issue wide open.


Hibernians coach Mark Miller is concerned about the fitness of Brazilian striker Jorginho whose participation in the Valletta match was cut short by injury while Clayton Failla is expected to recover from a bout of flu.


Floriana, only one point behind Birkirkara, will be going all out to maintain their pursuit of fourth place.


Coach Giovanni Tedesco welcomes back in the fray Nicolas Chiesa, Enrico Pepe and Ryan Camenzuli but goalkeeper Justin Haber remains sidelined as he has yet to complete a two-match ban.


Winger Steve Pisani also misses out after receiving a one-match ban following his sending-off in the 2-1 victory over Ħamrun Spartans in midweek.


Buoyed by their crucial win over Hibs, Valletta will fancy their chances of beating Gżira United, having had the better of the Maroons twice, 3-1 and 1-0 in the previous rounds. 


Valletta will be without two key players as defender Steve Borg, who struck the winning goal on Wednesday, and Nigerian winger Umeh Calistus are suspended.


Balzan are involved in a tricky test against Birkirkara who beat their neighbours 3-0 in the first-round match and drew the other 1-1. However, a feel-good atmosphere is still prevailing in the Balzan side, moreso after the midweek results went their way.


Coach Oliver Spiteri must make do without defender Samir Arab who has been given a two-match ban following his red card in the Gżira win.


It all points to another sumptuous weekend menu for all the contestants as Sliema Wanderers will be eyeing revenge against Ħamrun Spartans after coming a cropper againts them in the previous match.


Striker Jean Paul Farrugia is suspended for Sliema while the Spartans will be without Igor Misan.


In the other ties Mosta and Pembroke will only be after some consolation when locking horns with Tarxien Rainbows and St Andrews respectively.


Tarxien Rainbows will be without Sacha Borg and Ebiabowei Baker, both suspended.

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