Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Four clubs chase coveted berth in FA Trophy final
May 13, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Cups & Competitions

The two semi-finals of this season’s FA Trophy are a clash between tradition and novelty as Old Firm duo Sliema Wanderers and Floriana, who have won the Cup 40 times between them, take on Tarxien Rainbows and SK Victoria Wanderers, two clubs that are vying for their first KO success.


The two semi-finals are being played on Saturday evening at 17.00 with SK Victoria Wanderers hosting Floriana at the Gozo Stadium and Tarxien Rainbows meeting Sliema Wanderers at the National Stadium.

 

Having finished fifth in the BOV Premier League, the FA Trophy is Floriana’s only hope of qaulifying for the Europa League, their declared target at the start of the season.

 

“This is a massive game for our club,” Riccardo Gaucci, the Floriana FC president, was quoted as saying by Times of Malta.

 

“After missing out on a top-three position in the league our hopes of salvaging the season rest solely on the FA Trophy.”

 

Floriana, who have won the Knock-Out competition 19 times, beat ─Žamrun Spartans 2-0.

 

SK Victoria Wanderers have made history after becoming the first Gozitan club to advance to the semi-finals after beating Pembroke Athleta 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

 

Although they are regarded as underdogs, SK will fancy their chances of causing an upset, especially since they can bank on home comforts after coming out first in the draw.

 

Club president Brian Azzopardi is wary of Floriana’s pedigree but promised that SK Victoria Wanderers will “give it their best shot” at the Gozo Stadium.

 

ALL-BLUE CLASH

Sliema Wanderers, who head the all-time FA Trophy winners’ list with 21 triumphs, edged past Senglea Athletic 3-2 on penalties while Tarxien Rainbows beat Balzan, last year’s beaten finalists, 2-1 after extra-time.

 

Alex Muscat, the Sliema captain, is heartened by the team’s improving form going into their semi-final against Tarxien Rainbows.

 

“We want to play in the final and lift the trophy as, besides collecting another winners’ medal. There is the added bonus of returning to UEFA club competitions,” Muscat said.

 

Last season, Sliema Wanderers didn’t compete in the Europa League despite winning the FA Trophy after withdrawing their application for a UEFA licence.

 

John Buttigieg, the Sliema Wanderers coach, can’t bank on a fulll a squad as strikers Jean Paul Farrugia and Salomon Wisdom are both suspended.

 

For their part, Tarxien Rainbows will be without player-coach Triston Caruana who is suspended.

 

Caruana, who will be giving directions to his team from the stands, has backed Tarxien Rainbows to rise to the occasion as they chase a place in the final of the second most prestigious competition in Maltese football.

 

The winners of this season's FA Trophy will be presented with a brand new cup, designed and manufactured by renowned London-based firm Thomas Lyte, as the former trophy is being retired.

 

An exact replica of the original trophy will be given to the winner to keep for good.

 

The final of the FA Trophy will take place on May 20 at the National Stadium.

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