Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Difficult tests for front-runners Balzan and Valletta
Jan 26, 2018
Posted in:
General
Leagues
BOV Premier League

Title challengers Balzan and Valletta face tricky tests this weekend as the BOV Premier League resumes with a seven-match programme following a short break due to the BOOST Diesel FA Trophy fourth-round matches.


Valletta, one point behind leaders Balzan in the standings, face Sliema Wanderers in the opening game on Friday at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off 7 p.m.)

 

This clash between two of the most glorious clubs in the history of Maltese football always generates significant interest even if this time around, 11 points separate the two teams.

 

Sliema Wanderers are level with Ħamrun Spartans on 25 points while Valletta, who beat Naxxar Lions 1-0 in their last league outing, occupy second place with 36 points.

 

Valletta won the first-round encounter 1-0 but they will surely not underestimate the Blues who are one of the most tough-to-beat teams in the BOV Premier League.

 

A win for Valletta on Friday evening would pile the pressure on Balzan who meet Ħamrun Spartans on Sunday.

 

Balzan beat Sliema Wanderers 2-1 in their last league match but they will be without key player Alex Alves De Paixao for their game against the Spartans who drew 1-1 with St Andrews in their last league match.

 

In the first round, Balzan and Ħamrun drew 0-0.

 

TOP-FOUR CLASH


The Hibernians Stadium hosts the clash between Hibernians and Gżira United on Saturday.

 

At present, five points separate Gżira and Hibernians. Both will be going all out for the points in a direct clash between two teams with top-four ambitions.

 

Hibernians, on a high after following up their 1-0 league win over Floriana with a 3-0 defeat of Xewkija Tigers in the FA Trophy, will be without Jackson De Lima Sequeira and Joseph Mbong, both suspended.

 

The first-round meeting between the two teams in the first round was a breathtaking affair which ended 3-2 in favour of the Maroons. Gżira, who beat Tarxien 3-1 in their last league outing, boast the best attack in the top division with a total of 35 goals.

 

In other games, Lija Athletic will be involved in a relegation clash with Naxxar Lions. The first-round match ended 1-1.

 

Defender Patrick Borg is suspended for Lija while Naxxar will be missing Angus Buhagiar.

 

Floriana will be seeking to bounce back from their defeat to Hibernians when they meet St Andrews in Saturday’s second match at the Centenary Stadium.

 

The Greens, fourth in the table, will be without the suspended Steven Pisani.

 

Relegation strugglers St Andrews have two players missing, Tristan Grant and Adrian Borg suspended.

 

Ricardo Faria and Eduard Calin are out of the picture for Tarxien Rainbows who meet Mosta.

 

Mosta, 5-1 winners over Lija in their last league match, have Zachary Brincat and Dexter Xuereb serving a one-match ban.

 

Macedonian defender Antonio Mitrev is suspended for Tarxien.

 

The first-round match between Tarxien and Mosta ended in a 3-1 win for the latter.

 

The first match at the National Stadium on Sunday is between Birkirkara and Senglea Athletic.

 

The Stripes will be wary of Senglea’s threat after being on the receiving end of a 1-0 defeat to the Cottonera outfit in the first round.

 

Since that setback, Birkirkara have turned their fortunes around, climbing up the table after winning their last five matches.
 

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