The second edition of the Eurosport JPL Christmas Cup will be held on Sunday at the Hibernians Stadium, kick-off at 15:00. Italian Serie B side Padova will be facing BOV Premier League sides Birkirkara and Hamrun Spartans in this triangular tournament.
All the matches will have a duration of forty-five minutes and the first game of the tournament will be between Birkirkara and Hamrun Spartans. Padova will play against the loser of the first match and in the third and final match, they will play against the winner of the first match.
In case of a draw after forty five minutes of play a penalty shoot will decide a winner of that game. Three points will be awarded to a winner of the match in regular time, two points will go to a winner after a penalty shoot-out and one point will go to the losing side after a penalty shoot-out.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Louis Agius from JPL Sports Events said the company’s objective was that of giving Maltese football more exposure to international football. In fact, after having Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United taking part in two tournaments in summer over the past couple of years and hosting Italian Serie A side Parma in the first edition of the JPL Christmas Cup last year, it was now the turn of Calcio Padova who are celebrating their hundredth anniversary.
Agius thanked the sponsors, namely Eurosport, Cisk Lager and the Ta’ Qali Gym.
Padova coach Alessandro Calori said the club aims at securing one of the top spots in the Serie B this season and will be using this training camp and this mini-tournament as part of the team’s preparation for the rest of the league campaign. An important clash with Torino awaits Padova on January 8 and this mini-tournament will be a good test ahead of this game.
He thanked the club administration for bringing the squad for this training camp and thanked the Maltese for their hospitality.
Speaking on behalf of Hamrun Spartans, Joseph Fenech said the club was honoured to take part in this tournament and said this will serve as good preparation ahead of the next league game against Floriana.
Fenech ruled out new signings by the Spartans, revealing that the club had turned down requests by players, local and foreign, who were willing to join the club. He said Dene Shield will be the club’s most important signing in January as he will be back from a long injury.
Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit also thanked the organisers for inviting the club for this tournament. He said this was a delicate period for the team considering the break from Premier League matches. Therefore such tournaments serve as preparation for the coming league matches. Playing against a strong team like Padova was a unique opportunity at this point in time as it would once again put the players back on track in terms of intensity.
Zammit admitted that there could be new signings, both local and foreign but said the club will only sign foreign players if he is confident they strengthen the squad as he does not want the younger players to get less chances at the club. He ruled out the possibility of any of the key players leaving the club.
Tickets for the tournament, costing €6, are available from the following outlets: Eurosport – Birkirkara, Fenech Arredamenti – St. Venera, Birkirkara FC and Hamrun Spartans FC.