Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Balzan face stern test against Gżira United on Monday
Mar 2, 2018
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General
BOV Premier League

Valletta will be aiming to pile the pressure on Balzan as the Citizens meet strugglers Tarxien Rainbows on Saturday, knowing that a win would take them level on points with Balzan who face Gżira United on Monday.


Matchday 21 of the BOV Premier League kicks off with four matches on Saturday and concludes on Monday with arguably the most awaited clash betweeen leaders Balzan and Euro hopefuls Gżira United.

 

Balzan start as favourites but Gżira, who drew 0-0 with Floriana last weekend, will also be eyeing a win to stay in the hunt for a top-three finish and a place in the UEFA competitions.

 

Balzan had no trouble beating neighbours Lija Athletic 3-0 last Saturday to increase their gap on Valletta to three points following the latter’s goalless draw against Birkirkara.

 

Colombian defender Elkin Serrano Valero returns for Balzan.

 

Gżira coach Darren Abdilla has playmaker Andrew Cohen missing due to suspension.

 

In the first round, Balzan beat Gżira 2-1.

 

Valletta coach Danilo Doncic will be hoping that his team find their scoring touch as a lack of punch up front is hampering their title hopes.

 

The Whites know that only a victory will do against second-from-bottom Tarxien Rainbows who lifted their spirits following their 1-1 draw against Sliema Wanderers last weekend.

 

The Rainbows can’t repeat the disastrous performance in their first-round encounter with Valletta which ended in a 6-0 win for the latter.

 

Sean Cipriott is out for Tarxien as he must serve the last of a three-match ban together while defender André Charles Scicluna is also suspended.

 

EURO CONTENTION


With their hopes of retaining the title fading fast, Hibernians need a win to stay in contention for European qualification.

 

In first round, Mark Miller’s team lost to three teams – Balzan, Gżira and Sliema Wanderers.

 

In the second round, Hibs will be looking not to repeat the mistakes that marred their performance in the first-round 1-0 defeat to Sliema Wanderers.

 

Both teams drew their last match with Hibs being held by Naxxar Lions while Sliema figured in a 1-1 draw against Tarxien.

 

Miller has lost midfieder Bjorn Kristensen to injury but welcomes back Rodolfo Soares who missed the last game against Naxxar.

 

Italian defender Stefano Bianciardi returns for Sliema.

 

Birkirkara are expected to extend their unbeaten league run to 10 matches when they face relegation-bound Lija Athletic on Saturday at the Hibs Stadium.

 

Lija are rooted to the bottom of the standings with ony five points from 20 matches while the transformed Birkirkara are sharing third place with Gżira.

 

With the Maroons facing a tough test against leaders Balzan on Monday, Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit will view the match against Lija as an opportunity to steal a march on their Euro rivals.

 

Floriana, another team chasing European qualification, play Mosta in Saturday’s opening match at the National Stadium.

 

The Greens need a win to keep the pace with their fellow Euro challengers but Mosta can be difficult opponents as they proved in the first round when they held Floriana to a 2-2 draw.

 

Midfielder Maurizio Vella returns for Floriana following a three-match ban but Clyde Borg is still missing. Argentine midfielder Sebastian Ricardo Nayar has joined Borg on the suspended list.

 

RELEGATION CLASH


Two teams fighting against relegation face each other in Saturday’s second match at the Hibs Stadium as St Andrews play Naxxar Lions.

 

Just one point seperates the two teams who will be going all out to win in order to boost their hopes of retaining their Premier League status.

 

St Andrews will be without Kevaun St Micheal Atkinson, suspended.

 

Naxxar Lions beat St Andrews 3-1 in the first round.

 

Buoyed by their win over Mosta, Ħamrun Spartans welcome back Tiago Souza da Silveira and Daniel Zerafa for their clash with Senglea Athletic on Sunday. 

 

The Yellow-Reds are also on a high after their 2-1 victory over St Andrews last weekend.

 

In the first round, Ħamrun beat Senglea 3-1.
 

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