Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Top clash as leaders Gżira United face buoyant Valletta
Nov 9, 2018
Posted in:
General
Leagues
BOV Premier League
(From left) Gżira United defender Rodolfo Soares and coach Darren Abdilla with Danilo Doncic, coach of Valletta, AND PLAYER JOSEPH ZERAFA. PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA
(From left) Gżira United defender Rodolfo Soares and coach Darren Abdilla with Danilo Doncic, coach of Valletta, AND PLAYER JOSEPH ZERAFA. PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA

Gżira United vs Valletta (Friday – National Stadium, 7pm)


Matchday 10 of the BOV Premier League kicks off with the eagerly-awaited encounter between leaders Gżira United and champions Valletta, who are sharing second place with Hibernians, two points behind the Maroons.
 


 A hard-fought encounter is on the cards as both teams are chasing the three points to boost their title prospects.

 

A win for Gżira would take them five points clear of Valletta. On the other hand, if the Whites prevail, they will overtake the Maroons for the first time this season.

 

This game is also shaping up as a direct clash between two of the best strikeforces in the BOV Premier League – Gżira United duo Amadou Samb (6) and Haruna Garba (5) have scored 11 goals between them while Valletta’s Mario Fontanella (10) and Bojan Kaljevic (8) have 18 goals between them.

 

Experienced midfielder Andrew Cohen is in line to start for the Maroons after coming on in the last 30 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Pietà Hotspurs. 

 

Coach Darren Abdilla must make do without Zack Scerri who was handed a one-match ban after being shown his fourth yellow card of the season. 

 

Goalkeeper Justin Haber is also expected to return after Anthony Curmi started the game against Pietà. 

 

Danilo Doncic, the Valletta coach, is hopeful of having striker Kaljevic back in the frame as the Montenegrin has been sidelined with injury.

 

In their last outing, Valletta needed a late Miguel Alba to beat rivals Floriana 1-0 and extend their winning run to seven games. 

 

Ħamrun Spartans vs Senglea Athletic (Saturday – Centenary Stadium, 2pm)

 

Ħamrun Spartans start as favourites to pick up the three points when they meet struggling Senglea Athletic.

 

Led by coach Giovanni Tedesco, the Spartans are aiming to register their third consecutive win after ending a run of four games without victory.

 

The Spartans will be without Karl Micallef, suspended. Antonio Monticelli returns from suspension along with Carlos Hernan Henneberg.

 

Senglea will be without Argentine Braian Alexis Volpini who was dismissed in the 2-1 defeat against Tarxien Rainbows last weekend.

 

St Andrews vs Pietá Hotspurs – (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 2pm)

 

This is a direct encounter between two teams who need the points to move further clear of the relegation zone and boost their chances of keeping their top-flight status.

 

Both teams have a player suspended – American Kevyn Mc Farlane, of St Andrews, and Nigerian Paul Chimezie, the Pietà Hotspurs striker who was on target in the 1-1 draw against Gżira United.

 

Johann Scicluna and Ramon Zammit, the coaches of St Andrews and Pietà Hotspurs, are not expected to make drastic changes to their starting teams. St Andrews’ morale is sky-high after their 2-0 victory over Balzan while the Hotspurs gained a point from their difficult clash with Gżira United. 


Tarxien Rainbows vs Balzan (Saturday – Centenary Stadium, 4.15pm)

 

The pressure is piling for Balzan following three defeats in their last four league outings.

 

Balzan can’t afford any more slip-ups if they are to revive their title challenge as their 2-0 upset to St Andrews last weekend left them eight points of the top.

 

Nenad Sljivic is expected to return for Marko Micovic’s team after the Serbian midfielder was sent off in the 3-0 defeat to Gżira United.

 

Tarxien Rainbows are doing well this season. They are on a high after consecutive wins over Qormi (1-0) and Senglea Athletic (2-1) which lifted them on the 12-point mark.

 

Sliema Wanderers vs Qormi (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 4pm)


Both teams are coming from 2-0 defeats – Sliema Wanderers lost to Birkirkara and Qormi went down to Ħamrun Spartans. 
Sliema Wanderers, under the guidance of John Buttigieg, will be determined to get back to winning form after back-to-back defeats. They play against a Qormi team who have lost six consecutive defeats. 

 

Brian Spiteri resigned from his post as Qormi coach this week with the club putting assistant coach Matthew Psaila in temporary charge.

 

Qormi have all the players at their disposal while the Wanderers will be without Kilian Amehi after he was sent off in the 2-0 defeat against Birkirkara.

 

Floriana vs Mosta (Sunday – National Stadium, 2pm)

 

This is another direct encounter between two teams who are going through a bad phase. 

 

Floriana suffered their consecutive defeat after losing 1-0 to rivals Valletta in Sunday’s derby while Mosta went down 4-0 toHibernians, their fourth successive defeat.

 

The Greens face an uphill task to challenge for a Europa aw they are in the bottom half of the standings with only nine pints from nine games. 

 

Argentine defender Enzo Ruiz returns for the Greens.

 

Mosta, who have not won in the last six games, will be strengthened by the return of Japanese Hirose Kei.

 

Hibernians vs Birkirkara – (Sunday – National Stadium – 4.00 pm)

 

Matchday 10 end with another interesting encounter between the top-four candidates – Hibernians and Birkirkara.

Hibernians have climbed to second place of the table after a five-match winning run while Birkirkara are fourth, six points adrift.

 

Both teams are expected to go all out in search of the three points. 

 

The Paolites will be looking to keep the pace with Gżira United and Valletta while Birkirkara are eyeing their second win in a row to maintain their charge up the standings.

 

Hibernians have no selections problems but Birkirkara are missing Danilo Augusto Chapoval who must serve a one-match ban following his dismissal in the win over Sliema Wanderers. 

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