Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Eight teams vying for berth in FA Trophy semi-finals
Feb 22, 2019
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Cups & Competitions

Pietà Hotspurs vs Gżira United (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 2pm)

 

The FA Trophy quarter-finals kick off with the encounter between Pietà Hotspurs and Gżira United.


While the Maroons have won this competition once in their history, back in 1973, the Hotspurs reached the semi-finals in 1996/97, losing 3-2 to Hibernians.

 

Judging by their positions in the BOV Premier League standings, Gżira United start as favourites to reach the last four and boost their chances of winning the cup but Pietà could prove tricky opponents. They have nothing to lose and will be surely going out to pull off a surprise and keep their KO hopes alive.

 

Pietà, under the guidance of coach Ramon Zammit, defeated Mdina Knights (4-1) in round three and Żejtun Corinthians (2-0) in the following round.

 

The Maroons, now led by Jesmond Zerafa, eliminated Rabat Ajax (4-0) and Melita (4-2) on their way to the quarter-finals.

 

Mosta vs Birkirkara (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 4pm)


Birkirkara face the in-form Mosta in Saturday’s second semi-final, a game that can go either way.

 

Mosta have registered two wins and a draw in their last outings, showing considerable improvement.

 

Birkirkara, who have gained only two points from their last three matches, know that only win would lift their morale and strengthen their chances of winning a trophy this season after falling off the title pace in the championship.

 

The Stripes, who have won this competition five times, overcame Nadur Youngsters (4-0) and Ħamrun Spartans (2-1) in the previous rounds.

 

Mosta edged fellow Premier League sides Senglea Athletic (3-2) and Sliema Wanderers (2-1) to progress to the last-eight round.

 

Tarxien Rainbows vs Balzan (Sunday – National Stadium, 2pm)

 

This is an encounter between two teams who have never won the FA Trophy.

 

The knock-out competition represents Balzan’s most realistic hope of silverware as well as a route to European football next season.

 

Balzan reached the final in 2015/16, losing to Sliema Wanderers 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw.

 

Tarxien have made three semi-final appearances – 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2016/17.

 

Coach Josè Borg knows that his team must raise their performance if they are to upset Balzan as the Rainbows are coming from three consecutive defeats. 

 

Tarxien have ousted Vittoriosa Stars (3-0) and Żebbug Rangers (5-0) in the previous rounds while Balzan, now under the charge of Jacques Scerri, cruised past Qrendi (5-1) and Xewkija Tigers (6-1) to reach the quarter-finals.

 

Tarxien Rainbows have Matthew Spiteri suspended.

 

Hibernians vs Valletta (Sunday – National Stadium, 4pm)


This is the stand-out game of the FA Trophy quarter-finals as the leading duo in the BOV Premier League, Hibernians and Valletta, go head to head in a do-or-die clash.

 

Four weeks ago, Valletta, the FA Trophy holders, beat Hibernians 2-1 in the same championship but the latter have since opened a two-point gap at the top.

 

Both teams will be going all out to win and move closer to achieving success in the FA Trophy, knowing also that victory on Sunday could give them a psychological edge in the title race.

 

Hibernians will be without young striker Jurgen Degabriele who is facing a long lay-off due to a knee injury.

 

Valletta have the FA Trophy 14 times to Hibernians’ 10 triumphs. However, the Paolites have won three of their five final encounters with Valletta.

 

Hibernians defeated Qormi (5-1) and Fgura United (4-0) on their way to the quarter-finals.

 

Valletta eliminated Marsa (3-0) and Lija Athletic (7-1).


 

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