U*BET FA TROPHY ENTERS SEMI-FINAL STAGEPublished: 07-05-2013 15:20
The new-look U*BET FA Trophy competition open to all national league clubs including those from Gozo has now entered its semi-final stage. The initial countdown started during the first week of September and went through five rounds, the last being played on Sunday 17th February. Eight teams, five from the Premier League, two from the First and one from the Second Division were involved in the quarter-finals. Holders Hibernians from the top division eliminated Żebbuġ Rangers, champions of the third tier league, the clash between first division teams Lija Athletic and St. Andrew’s saw the former team going through, while the matches between Premier League sides, Valletta and Rabat and that between Qormi and Balzan were resolved in favour of the City team and Qormi. The competition, revamped as it has been since last season, has given the less fancied teams from the lower divisions the opportunity to make further inroads than they had ever made before in this knock-out contest. One of the positive elements is the fact that there has been increased interest among a bigger cross-section of club supporters. In this respect Lija Athletic are this year’s standard-bearers as they are the only team out of the last four not militating in the top echelons of Maltese football. Their supporters should be highly-satisfied with the achievement of their team who now look forward to further progress when the semi-finals are played. Likewise, the aspirations of the fans of the ‘bigger’ teams, Valletta, Hibernians and Qormi, the first two in particular, not so much for the teams’ rich pedigree in this competition as for the quality football they are capable of producing. Present for the draws were Vasileos Kasiotakis Director General, Maltco, the FA Trophy sponsors, MFA CEO Bjorn Vassallo and Rodney Pisani, MFA Deputy General Secretary. The draws resulted as follows: Qormi vs Lija Ath. to be played on Friday 17th May at 7.30pmValletta vs Hibernians to be played on Saturday 18th May at 6 pm We now look forward to two keenly-contested semi-final ties.