Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Birkirkara-Valletta encounter steals the show
Sep 14, 2018
Posted in:
General
Leagues
BOV Premier League
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

The 2018-19 BOV Premier League returns this weekend following Malta’s opening two games against Faroe Islands and Azerbaijan in the UEFA Nations League.
 


Rivals Birkirkara and Valletta lock horns in the game of the weekend, scheduled for Sunday at the National Stadium.

 

Valletta, the reigning champions, are under pressure to get their season up and running following two defeats in their opening two matches. By contrast, Birkirkara have maximum points after wins over Balzan and Pietà Hotspurs.

 

Floriana, who like rivals Valletta are still looking for their first points, also face a strenuous test when they take on Hibernians, on a high after beating Valletta before the international break.

 

Another intriguing tie on matchday 3 sees Gżira United take on neighbouring rivals Sliema Wanderers on Sunday night.

 

Hibernians v Floriana – (Friday, National Stadium – 7 p.m.)

 

Only a win will do for Floriana following back-to-back defeats against Ħamrun Spartans and Sliema Wanderers.

 

They face a strong Hibernians side who have started strongly, winning their opening two matches against Pietà Hotspurs (2-1) and Valletta (2-1).

 

Luis Oliveira will take charge of his first match since returning as coach of Floriana, replacing Nicolas Chiesa.

 

The Hibernians players are responding well to Italian coach Stefan Sanderra’s tactics.

 

Qormi v Pietà Hotspurs – (Saturday, Victor Tedesco Stadium – 6pm)

 

Newly-promoted sides Qormi and Pietà Hotspurs this season go head to head in what is expected to be a balanced and hard-fought game between two sides hoping to avoid relegation.

 

Qormi have three points from their opening two games, edging Senglea Athletic 1-0 before going down 4-2 against Balzan.

 

Pietà have suffered identical 2-1 defeats against Hibernians and Birkirkara.

 

This will be the fourth encounter between these two sides in the top league with Qormi and Pietà winning a game each while the other ended in a draw.

 

Senglea Athletic v Balzan – (Saturday, Victor Tedesco Stadium – 8.15pm)

 

Balzan start as favourites to take the three points following their 4-2 win over Qormi in their last outing.

 

Montenegro striker Bojan Kaljevic has left Balzan after completing a deadline-day move to champions Valletta. Kaljevic scored 51 goals during his three-and-a-half-year spell with Balzan.

 

Winger Ricardo Correa is suspended for Balzan.

 

Senglea Athletic, who have parted ways with Italian coach Bruno Russo, will be without Belgian forward Nour Eddine Lachrach, suspended, as they chase their first points and first goals of this campaign.

 

Ħamrun Spartans vs St Andrews – (Sunday, National Stadium – 6pm)

 

Ħamrun Spartans will be vying to build on their encouraging start following a 2-0 win over Floriana and a goalless draw against Gżira United.

 

The Spartans, led by coach Giovanni Tedesco, have impressed so far and their Italian players are living up to expectations in their quest to qualify for the Europa League.

 

On the other hand, after beating Mosta 3-1 in their league opener, St Andrews were brought back to earth following their 5-1 mauling to Tarxien Rainbows before the international break.

 

Birkirkara vs Valletta – (Sunday, National Stadium – 8pm)

 

Rivals Birkirkara and Valletta meet in the most attractive fixture of matchday 3.

 

The two teams met in the FA Trophy final last season with Valletta winning 2-1 to complete a league and cup double.

 

The champions will be going all out to open their account this season after losing their first two matches against Sliema Wanderers and Hibernians.

 

Coach Danilo Doncic has strengthened his team’s firepower with the signing of striker Bojan Kaljevic who joins the likes of Matteo Piciollo, Mario Fontanella and young Kyrian Nwoko up front.

 

Birkirkara have made a strong start after beating Balzan and Pietà Hotspurs in their first two games.

 

Veteran striker Michael Mifsud will be facing his former club following his two positive outings for the national team in the UEFA Nations League.

 

Cain Attard is out for Birkirkara after his sending-off in their last outing against his former side Pietà Hotspurs.

 

Under-21 winger Myles Beerman is set to make his debut for Birkirkara following his loan move from Scottish club Glasgow Rangers.

 

Mosta vs Tarxien Rainbows – (Sunday, Victor Tedesco Stadium – 6pm)

 

Mosta and Tarxien Rainbows, two teams coming from a victory on MD2, will be hoping to extend their winning run..

 

In their last outing, Mosta beat Senglea 2-0 while Tarxien Rainbows trounced St Andrews 5-1.

 

Mosta coach Enrico Piccioni and Josè Borg, his Tarxien counterpart, have no injury worries and should field their best formation in what is expected to be a keenly-contested encounter.

 

Sliema Wanderers vs Gżira United – (Sunday, Victor Tedesco Stadium – 8.15pm)


An exciting game is on the cards this Sunday as high-flying Sliema Wanderers take on neighbours Gżira United.

 

Sliema Wanderers are being regarded as potential title contenders after opening their season with eye-catching wins over Valletta (3-0) and Floriana (1-0).

 

Gżira, with four points from their first two games, are also aiming high after their third-place finish last season.

 

Statistics are in Sliema’s favour as they won 16 of their 23 top-flight encounters with Gżira United with the latter winning three times. The remaining four matches between these two teams ended in a draw.

 

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