Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Eyes on Birkirkara-Ħamrun clash on matchday 20
Feb 12, 2021
Posted in:
General
BOV Premier League
PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

Birkirkara vs Ħamrun Spartans (Saturday – National Stadium, 2pm)

 

The top match this weekend sees leaders Ħamrun Spartans face the in-form Birkirkara with both teams chasing their fourth league victory on the trot.


Both sides are on a long unbeaten run with the Spartans undefeated in their last 14 matches while the resurgent Birkirkara have put together a positive run spanning 12 matches.

 

Incidentally, the last defeat for Ħamrun was at the hands of Birkirkara in October. The leaders will be fully motivated to make amends for that defeat as they seek to consolidate top spot and increase their gap on Birkirkara.

 

However, their task promises to be anything but easy. In recent months, Birkirkara have raised the bar with a series of fine performances, and with a game in hand over their impending opponents, they are fully aware that a three-point return could revive their title challenge.

 

The Stripes will be without influential defender Oscar Carniello, who must serve a one-match ban, but Cain Attard returns from suspension. The Spartans are expected to field their best starting XI, having rested several regular players for their midweek FA Trophy win over Sannat Lions.

 

Hibernians vs Mosta (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 2pm)

 

Hibernians face Mosta knowing that a win is a must if they are to keep the pace with Ħamrun Spartans, moreso considering that the latter have a very difficult test against Birkirkara. As for Mosta, they will be looking to end a run of four consecutive league defeats which has halted their charge towards the top positions.

 

Hibernians come into this game in high spirits after beating Valletta 4-1 in their last league match. They will be looking to complete the double over Mosta having narrowly beaten them 3-2 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

 

Both teams have a player suspended. Hibernians will be without Izquier Artiles who serves a one-match ban while Matias Muchardi will miss out for Mosta.

 

Ferdinando Apap returns for Hibernians while Mosta welcome back Tyrone Farrugia and Bojan Kaljevic.

 

Senglea Athletic vs Floriana (Saturday – Hibernians Stadium, 6pm)

 

Floriana are under increasing pressure to get their season on track after going winless in their last 10 league outings. They meet Senglea who, with two points from 16 matches, are staring at relegation.

 

In midweek, Floriana were knocked out of the FA Trophy, losing 3-1 to Santa Lucia. The Greens are boosted by the return of Nicola Leone, Alex Cini and Brandon Diego Paiber.

 

Floriana beat Senglea 1-0 in the first-round fixture.

 

Santa Lucia vs Tarxien Rainbows (Saturday – National Stadium, 6pm)

 

Neighbouring rivals Santa Lucia and Tarxien Rainbows go head to head in what promises to be a highly entertaining match. Santa Lucia are enjoying a very positive season as shown by their mid-table position.

 

Tarxien Rainbows face a fight to keep their Premier League status but they are clearly giving their all to reach their target. They are buoyed by a 3-1 win over Sirens in their last league outing.

 

The Saints will be looking to complete the double over their neighbours, having beaten them 2-0 earlier in the season. A win for Rainbows would see them increase their survival chances.

 

Santa Lucia are boosted by the return of Rei Tachikawa and Victor Luiz Filho, both back from suspension, while the Rainbows welcome back Raphael Kooh Sohna.

 

Gżira United v Lija Athletic (Sunday – National Stadium, 2pm)

 

Gżira United will be vying to maintain their positive run when they take on Lija Athletic. On Thursday, the Maroons beat Mqabba 8-0 in the FA Trophy Round of 32.
 

Lija Athletic are also in need of points at the other end of the table but they have enjoyed a mini-revival in the championship, with two wins and a draw in their last four league outings. They will also be looking to make amends after losing 3-0 in the first-round fixture.

 

The Maroons have four players suspended – Jackson Mendoza, Nikolai Muscat, Gabriel Bohrer Mentz and Ricardo Correa Duarte.

 

Clayton Giordimaina is back in the frame for Lija.

 

Sirens v Valletta (Sunday – Centenary Stadium, 3pm)

 

A compelling match is on the cards between two sides in need of points to steer further clear of the bottom half.

 

Sirens are on 25 points, one ahead of Valletta who have a game in hand. Both sides are looking to bounce back from defeats in their last league outings. Sirens went down 3-1 to Tarxien Rainbows and Valletta lost 4-1 to Hibernians.

 

Both sides will be fully aware that only a win would suit their cause.

 

Shaun Dimech will be out for the Whites following his dismissal against Hibernians but right-back Enmy Pena Beltre is in line to return.

 

Sirens moved into the next round of the FA Trophy after a 5-0 victory over Fgura United while Valletta overcame Gudja United 2-1.

 

The first-round fixture between the two sides ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

 

Gudja United vs Sliema Wanderers (Sunday – Centenary Stadium, 7pm)

 

Gudja United and Sliema Wanderers will be seeking to bounce back from their FA Trophy exit in midweek.

 

While Gudja were eliminated by Valletta, Sliema were on the receiving end of an upset as they lost 1-0 to BOV Challenge League side St Andrews.

 

Sliema are fourth in the league on 35 points while Gudja United have now slipped to 11th, level with Żejtun Corinthians on 23 points.

 

John Mintoff will serve the last of a three-match ban for the Wanderers who welcome back prolific striker Jean Paul Farrugia.

 

Gudja will be without recent signing Tommy Veronese who was shown the red card in their last league defeat againt Ħamrun Spartans.

 

The first-round encounter went Gudja’s way – 2-1.

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