Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Four teams pursue place in 2018/19 FA Trophy final – Preview
May 10, 2019
Posted in:
General
Cups & Competitions
Valletta's Kyrian Nwoko holds off Gżira defender Rodolfo Soares during a league match. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Valletta's Kyrian Nwoko holds off Gżira defender Rodolfo Soares during a league match. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

All the focus will be on the 2018/19 FA Trophy semi-finals this weekend as Balzan take on Birkirkara on Saturday and Gżira United face champions Valletta in the second semi-final on Sunday. The winners of these two intriguing cup ties will contest the FA Trophy final on May 18.


Representatives of the four semi-finalists addressed the media in back-to-back press conferences at the Trophies Lounge on Friday.

 

Jacques Scerri declared himself pleased with the form and progress shown by Balzan since taking charge of the team.

 

“We know how important the FA Trophy competition is for our club,” the Balzan coach said.

 

“It’s a very prestigious cup and an opportunity for Balzan to win its first major honour.

 

“The players are very motivated. The FA Trophy also gives us the chance to qualify for Europe.

 

“For these kind of matches, you don’t need added motivation as all the players are eager to inscribe their names in the history of this club.”

 

Birkirkara captain Nikola Vukanac acknowledged that the FA Trophy is their only chance to make up for an underwhelming campaign.

 

“This is our last chance to go to Europe and save the season,” Vukanac said.

 

“It’s not going to be easy. Balzan have a very good squad that has been together for a long time.

 

“Our duty is to give our best to try and reach the final. If we manage to do that, then everything is possible in the final.”

 

GŻIRA-VALLETTA

 

On Sunday, Gżira United, who finished third in the BOV Premier League, meet champions Valletta who advanced to the semi-finals after beating Hibs 3-2 after extra-time in midweek.

 

Gżira coach Jesmond Zerafa dismissed suggestions that Valletta could be tired after their last two clashes against Hibernians – the league decider and the FA Trophy quarter-final – went to extra-time.

 

“You must always respect Valletta,” Zerafa said.

 

“We need to avoid mistakes and keep our tactical discipline and composure.

 

“On the other hand, we have also made strides forward this season and we will be doing our best to give this club the best possible chance of winning a top honour after 45 years.”

 

While praising the club’s medical staff for their bold efforts to aid the recovery of players following their two relentless games against Hibs, Valletta coach Gilbert Agius struck an upbeat note.

 

“We are aware of the importance of Sunday’s game but I’m pleased that we’re going into this match as champions,” Agius said.

 

“Nobody expected us to beat Hibernians after going two goals behind but my players showed that they have the hunger to win and lift more trophies.

 

“Our morale is high, we know we’re facing a tough opponent in Gżira but we will be doing our utmost to reach the final.”

 

REFEREES ANNOUNCED

 

For the first time, the referees of the two FA Trophy semi-finals were announced beforehand during the pre-match press conferences.

 

Fyodor Zammit will take charge of the first semi-final between Balzan and Birkirkara on Saturday.

 

Alan Mario Sant will officiate the Gżira United-Valletta semi-final on Sunday.

Official Sponsors
Commercial Partners