Malta Football Association
Gżira United, Valletta aim to extend positive run
Oct 19, 2018
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BOV Premier League

Senglea Athletic v Gżira United (Friday – Centenary Stadium, 6pm)


The first fixture of matchday seven brings together the two teams at opposite ends of the BOV Premier League standings as leaders Gżira United take on bottom side Senglea Athletic who are still without a win this season.


These two teams have met four times before, winning a game each while the other two encounters finished in a draw.


The Maroons start as favourites to collect the three points and extend their unbeaten start. They will be strengthened by the return of Senegalese striker Amadou Samb who was suspended for the win over Qormi.


Senglea need to tighten up at the back after suffering two heavy defeats against Valletta (5-1) and Floriana (4-1).


Qormi v St Andrew’s (Friday – Centenary Stadium, 8.15pm)

This should be an interesting match between two teams in the bottom half of the table.


Qormi, second from bottom in the table, will be going all to end a run of three consecutive defeats – vs Valletta (6-0), Floriana (3-1) and Gżira United (1-0).


On the other hand, St Andrews are going into this match with their morale sky-high after beating Birkirkara 2-0 thanks to a Martin Davis brace before the international break.


Qormi will be without Gaetano Gesualdi and Tensior Gusman, both suspended, with the latter starting a two-match ban.
Johann Scicluna, the St Andrews coach, is expected to field the same formation that claimed the scalp of Birkirkara.


Pietà Hotspurs v Valletta (Saturday – Centenary Stadium, 3pm)

Coming from a 4-1 victory over Balzan, Valletta will be looking to extend their positive spell when they face Pietà Hotspurs but they will surely not underestimate their opponents, themselves buoyed by a 3-1 win over Mosta.


Valletta, the current champions, are aiming for their fifth consecutive win, having scored 18 goals and conceded just two in the previous four games.14 of their goals have been scored by Bojan Kaljevic and Mario Fontanella.


The Hotspurs, led by Ramon Zammit, must be on their best form to stop Valletta’s attacking machine.


Birkirkara v Tarxien Rainbows (Saturday – Centenary Stadium, 5.15pm)

This is a clash between two teams who are under pressure to bounce back from defeats.


Back-to-back defeats have left Birkirkara with no margin for error as they need the points to keep the pace with the leading teams.


Tarxien also need the points to stay clear of the bottom place.


Paul Zammit, the Birkirkara coach, is expected to make changes following the upset against St Andrews.


Tarxien Rainbows coach Josè Borg is still hampered by the absence of Italian striker Michele Paolucci who has yet to complete a two-match ban following his sending-off in the 3-1 defeat to Sliema Wanderers. Without doubt, Paolucci’s absence was very much felt in the 4-2 loss against rivals Hibernians.


Mosta v Sliema Wanderers (Sunday, Centenary Stadium – 3pm)


Mosta take on second-placed Sliema Wanderers in all-blue clash.


Sliema have been consistent this season as attested by their second place in the table but they hardly impressed in their last outing – a goalless draw against Ħamrun Spartans.


Misael Miranda returns for Mosta who went down 3-1 to Pietà Hotspurs before the international break.
while the Wanderers will be boosted by the return of experienced midfielder Ryan Fenech who has completed a three-match ban.


Hibernians vs Ħamrun Spartans (Sunday, Centenary Stadium – 5.15pm)

Hibernians, sharing third place with Valletta and Balzan on 12 points, face Ħamrun Spartans who have now gone three matches without a win.


However, the Spartans have the best defensive record so far, having conceded only two goals in six games – both in the 2-1 defeat by Tarxien Rainbows, on 22nd September. On the other hand, Giovanni Tedesco’s team have scored just four goals


Hibs coach Stefan Sanderra is expected to retain the same formation that started the 4-2 win over Tarxien. In fact, the Paolites have used the least number of players since the start of the 2018-19 BOV Premier League – a total of 16.


For the second consecutive game, the Spartans will be without goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo who is serving the second of two-match ban. His deputy, Sean Cini, kept a clean sheet against Sliema.


Balzan vs Floriana (Monday, Victor Tedesco Stadium – 7pm)

Beaten 4-1 by champions Valletta in their last match, Balzan will be eyeing a strong reaction against Floriana but the latter have the same intentions.


The injury situation at Balzan has improved following the international break and coach Marko Micovic is expected to have a stronger squad at his disposal for Monday’s showdown.


Floriana, who have won three and lost three of their opening six games, can hardly afford to drop more points if they want to boost their challenge for a UEFA Europa League place.


The Greens are coming from a 4-1 win over Senglea Athletic.


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