Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Title challengers Balzan, Valletta look to keep up the pace
Mar 16, 2018
Posted in:
General
Leagues
BOV Premier League

With four matches remaining, title contenders Balzan and Valletta can’t afford to drop points on matchday 23 of the BOV Premier League.
 


The front-runners have winnable fixtures on paper as Balzan meet Mosta and Valletta take on St Andrews.

 

Leaders Balzan have a clear edge over Mosta who are still reeling from their 5-3 defeat to Gżira United.

 

Mosta, led by Johann Scicluna, are 10th but need to collect a few more points to secure their BOV Premier League status.

 

For their part Balzan will be aiming to maintain their one-point advantage on Valletta in this crucial phase of the season.

 

Under the guidance of Serbian coach Marko Micovic, Balzan are on a high after their emphatic performance in the 3-1 victory over Birkirkara last weekend.

 

Striker Bojan Kaljevic returns for Balzan. Mosta will be without Kurt Magro, suspended, but they welcome back defender Davide Mansi.

 

In the first round, Balzan trounced Mosta 5-0.

 

Valletta are also favourites to collect maximum points from their clash with relegation candidates St Andrews.

 

The Whites are coming from a 2-1 victory over Hibernians which kept them in the title mix.

 

St Andrews have won only one of their last eight league games.

 

They have flank defender Matthew Gauci missing through suspension but Kemmu Degran Jackson and Ricoardo Adrian Martin return.

 

Valletta cruised to a 3-0 win over St Andrews in the first round.

 

BIRKIRKARA LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK

 

On Friday evening, Birkirkara will be looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to Balzan when they meet relegation battlers Tarxien Rainbows at the Centenary Stadium.

 

Birkirkara, who had the better of Tarxien 3-1 in first round, l need a win to keep their top-three push on track after being leapfrogged by Gżira United who meet Senglea Athletic on Sunday.

 

Nigerian defender Ebiabowei Baker returns for the Rainbows.

 

Floriana take on Naxxar Lions in Saturday’s opening match at the Hibs Stadium.

 

The Greens were held to a goalless draw by Senglea last weekend while Naxxar lost 4-1 to Ħamrun Spartans.

 

Captain Steve Pisani is suspended for Floriana. Striker Daren Falzon returns for the Lions.

 

Floriana won the first-round match 2-1.

 

Also on Saturday, Sliema Wanderers have a tricky match against Ħamrun Spartans who have won their last three matches.

 

The Blues had to fight harder than expected to pick up the points against St Andrews last weekend.

 

Guilherme Felipe de Castro returns for the Spartans who won the first-round match 2-0.

 

Gżira United will be going all out to consolidate third place and stay in contention for qualification to the Europa League when they meet Senglea Athletic on Sunday.

 

It will not be easy as Senglea also need the points to edge closer to safety.

 

The Maroons have Amadou Samb available after the Senegalese served a one-match ban.

 

Senglea are buoyed by the return of Gonzalo Julian Leyton but Jonathan Bondin is suspended.

 

The first-round match ended 1-1.

 

Hibernians, have gone three games without a win, can’t afford to drop points in their clash with basement team Lija Athletic on Sunday.

 

Hibs defender Andrei Agius and Patrick Borg, of Lija, are out, suspended.

 

In round one, Hibernians beat Lija 3-0.
 

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