Floriana and Msida St. Joseph both aim at returning to winning ways at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Tuesday as they face each other in a clash between two teams who will be playing in the Relegation Pool.
Obtaining just five points from the last eight matches stopped Floriana from making it to the Championship Pool. They are currently joint-seventh on 20 points together with Hamrun Spartans. On the other hand, six defeats out of the last seven matches leaves Msida second from bottom on eleven points.
Therefore at this point, a win would lift the morale of the winners ahead of their Relegation Pool commitments. With a win, Floriana would start the second phase on 12 points, six ahead of Msida. On the other hand, a win for the Saints would put them on fourteen points and hence seven points in the Relegation Pool, just three behind the Greens. With a draw, Floriana would start on 11 points while for Msida, it would make no difference as they would still start on six points.
Floriana coach Zoran Popovic could not count on Argentine midfielder Pablo Doffo who is ruled out through suspension while the presence of goalkeeper Bernard Paris is in doubt after he left the pitch injured during the National League 100 Anniversary Cup quarter-final against Hamrun on Wednesday. Msida’s Joseph Damato is ruled out injured.
In the first round, Floriana defeated Msida 2-1.
Meanwhile at the Centenary Stadium, Hamrun Spartans take on Tarxien Rainbows. A clash between two teams who were actively engaged in the battle for a place in the Championship Pool with the latter securing a top-six finish thanks to 2-2 draw with Valletta and a 1-0 derby win over Hibernians.
Both sides will aim for the three points for different reasons. A win for Tarxien would enable them to leapfrog Hibernians and move fifth although they would still start their second phase commitments on 14 points, just like the Paolites. On the other hand, with a win, Hamrun would start the Relegation Pool with 12 points. In case of a draw, Tarxien would start with 13 points and Hamrun with 11.
A boost for the Spartans is the return of Roderick Fenech, Rupert Mangion and Ian Zammit but Hamrun definitely need to do much better than they did in the game against Floriana in the National League 100 Anniversary Cup. Brazilian striker Marcelo Pereira and Diego Cucciardi are ruled out through suspension. Jonathan Holland is injured. Tarxien will be without the suspended Andrew Decesare.
In the first round, Hamrun defeated Tarxien 1-0.