Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Sta Venera and Mellieħa coaches upbeat ahead of direct clash
Apr 6, 2018
Posted in:
General
Leagues
BOV Second Division
BOV Third Division
Photo: Stephen Gatt
Photo: Stephen Gatt

BOV Division Three front-runners Santa Venera Lightnings and Mellieħa face each other in a direct clash on Saturday which is likely to decide the destination of the title.


The two rivals are sharing top spot with 47 points from 20 matches, meaning that a draw would suffice for both to secure promotion.

 

Santa Venera have led for most of the campaign but defeats to Kirkop United and Xgħajra Tornadoes before Easter have enabled Mellieħa to draw level at the top ahead of their direct encounter on Saturday.

 

Speaking to www.mfa.com.mt, Marco Grech, the coach of Santa Venera Lightnings, said the match against Mellieħa cannot come soon enough for his team.

 

“Losing our last game to Xgħajra was very disappointing but we are still very close to reaching our target,” the former Ħamrun Spartans defender said.

 

“We only need one point from the last two matches to clinch promotion.”

 

Although a point would be enough for both Santa Venera and Mellieħa to secure automatic promotion, both will be looking to win to edge close to significantly boost their championship chances.

 

Grech said: “Throughout this campaign, Mellieħa and us have shown that we are the best teams in the division. We are on a par as highlighted in our first-round encounter which ended goalless.”

 

A draw on Saturday would increase the possibility of a title decider between Sta Venera and Mellieħa.

 

While Grech is aware of this scenario, he is focusing on this weekend’s match.

 

“At the moment I’m only concentrating on my team, we need to work tactically and mentally ahead of Saturday’s match,” Grech said.

 

“Despite the pressure, I’m confident that my players will not only strive for promotion but they are also capable of becoming champions of this division,” Grech said.

 

TITLE AMBITION


Mellieħa coach Alex Delia is also optimistic ahead of this important game.

 

“We are aware that a draw would be enough for both teams in their quest for promotion but we have bigger ambitions and strongly believe that winning the title is within our reach,” Delia said.

 

“We have a tougher run-in compared to Sta Venera as our last match is against Kirkop United but, based on our recent form, my players have peaked at the right moment and we can do it.”

 

Mellieħa have shown great consistency as they are coming from a run of four consecutive wins, scoring 15 goals scored and conceding none – vs Żurrieq (3-0), Dingli Swallows (1-0), Ta’ Xbiex (6-0) and Mtarfa (5-0).

 

“There is great optimism in our squad,” Delia said.

 

“Dedication and commitment are the main attributes. We have been strong throughout the season, now we have these last 180 minutes where our focus and level of performance need to be high.

 

"I am sure we can get through these two games and win the league.”

 

Both coaches have no injury worries ahead of Saturday’s big match, kicking off at 6.15 p.m. at the Luxol Stadium.

 

Meanwhile, another intriguing encounter this weekend from the Third Division as Kirkop United lock horns with Xgħajra Tornadoes.

 

The Tornadoes are on 41 points, two ahead of their rivals with both teams chasing third place and a play-off spot against the third-from-last team in the Second Division.

 

FIXTURES

Sat-07-Apr 16:00 Luxol Stadium Marsaskala vs Mdina Knights

Sat-07-Apr 18:15 Luxol Stadium St Venera L vs Mellieħa
Sat-07-Apr 16:00 Sirens Stadium Msida SJ vs Għaxaq
Sat-07-Apr 18:15 Sirens Stadium Kirkop Utd vs Xgħajra T
Sun-08-Apr 16:00 Charles Abela Stadium Ta’ Xbiex vs Dingli Swallows
Sun-08-Apr 18:15 Charles Abela Stadium Mtarfa vs Żurrieq

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