Malta Football Association
Thrilling finale beckons as Valletta, Hibs chase crown
Apr 26, 2019
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BOV Premier League

Tarxien Rainbows vs Floriana (Friday – National Stadium, 6pm)


Only pride is at stake as Tarxien Rainbows and Floriana are safe from relegation but out of the Euro race.

Floriana have not won in their last three games… their last win was against rivals Valletta earlier this month.


On the other hand, the Rainbows will be aiming to collect the three points to move level with Floriana on 29 points.


Both teams are strengthened by the return of players from suspension – Enzo Ruiz for Floriana, and Siraj Eddin Arab and Matthew Tabone for Tarxien.


Floriana won the first-round game 4-0.


Qormi vs Mosta (Friday – National Stadium, 8pm)

Qormi face Mosta in a crucial match which may determine their fate.


A win is a must for Qormi but even if they succeed, they would have to wait for the result between St Andrews and Gżira United as the third-from-bottom Saints are two points clear.


The scenarios are various.


If the Saints win, Qormi will be automatically relegated to the BOV First Division. A win for Qormi coupled with a draw for St Andrews would force a decider for 12th place with the team finishing third from bottom to face the third-best team in the First Division in a play-off.


Qormi have Romeu Romao suspended but Tensior Gusman returns.


Dexter Xuereb is back for Mosta


Mosta beat Qormi 2-0.


St Andrews v Gżira United (Friday – Hibernians Stadium, 8pm)


With Gżira United certain of third place and a berth in the UEFA Europa League, the pressure is all on St Andrews who need a win to avoid automatic relegation.


They are coming from a win against Floriana after seven consecutive defeats and are expected to go into this match in high spirits.


Coach Johann Scicluna welcomes back Adrian Borg and Ricardo Martin from suspension.


Gżira will be without Zack Scerri, suspended, but Justin Mengolo is available.


The Maroons edged St Andrews 2-1 in the first round.


Birkirkara vs Senglea Athletic (Friday – Victor Tedesco Stadium, 8pm)


Senglea Athletic need the three points from their final match against Birkirkara to secure their BOV Premier League status.


The situation is somewhat complicated for Senglea as a draw and a win for St Andrews would force a match to decide who finishes in 12th place and subsequently who plays in the Relegation/Promotion Play-Off.


Birkirkara’s only objective is to end a run of three consecutive defeats and boost their morale ahead of their FA Trophy quarter-final against Mosta.


The Stripes are missing Kurt Zammit and Cain Attard, both suspended, while for Senglea, Augusto Rene Caseres returns from a two-match ban.


Birkirkara won the first-round match 2-0.


Ħamrun Spartans vs Valletta (Saturday – National Stadium, 4pm)


A crunch match as the stakes are very high for these old rivals in their final league match this season.


Valletta are in pole position in the title race but need a win to retain the crown as they are two points ahead of Hibernians.


On the other hand, Ħamrun Spartans also need a win to secure fourth place and a potential return to European competition, depending on the outcome of the FA Trophy.


If Valletta lose and Hibernians beat Balzan, the latter will be crowned champions.


If Valletta draw and Hibernians win, a championship decider will be needed.


The first-round match went Ħamrun’s way – 1-0.


Hibernians vs Balzan (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 4pm)

A must-win for Hibernians if they are to have any chance of winning the championship on the final day of the season.


Balzan are still in the hunt for fourth place but they need to win and hope for a Valletta victory over Ħamrun Spartans.


Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra has Nemanja Radojevic suspended but is buoyed by the return of Marcelo Dias who has served a three-match ban.


Balzan coach Jacques Scerri has no selection issues.


Hibs and Balzan shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw in the first round.


Sliema Wanderers vs Pietà Hotspurs (Saturday – Centenary Stadium, 4pm)


Sliema Wanderers, in sixth place, can force a decider for fourth place if they beat Pietá Hotpurs, who have already been relegated, and Ħamrun and Balzan lose.


Stefano Maccoppi, the Sliema Wanderers coach, must make do without the suspended Frank Temile while Italian defender Stefano Bianciardi returns.


For the Hotspurs, this will be the last game in the Premier League for the next 12 months as next season they will play in a lower division.


The Wanderers won the first-round match 3-0.

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