Premier League sides Qormi and Hibernians will be hosting Italian Serie B leaders Torino and Serie A side Catania in the Trofeo Portomasolive.com at the National Stadium on Friday, starting at 18:30.
The tournament is part of the two Italian teams’ one-week training camp in Malta. Torino arrived on Tuesday and will leave on January 3 while the Sicilian side arrives on Thursday evening and will leave on January 5.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Torino captain Rolando Bianchi said this training camp and the tournament will serve the Serie B leaders as preparation for their forthcoming commitments. He praised the hospitality shown by the Maltese.
Torino FC Communication and Brand Licensing Manager Alberto Barile thanked the Malta Football Association for its support and said that just like other top foreign teams a winter training camp in Malta was of great benefit, hopefully this will also be the case for Torino who have an important objective to reach this season.
As regards the tournament, Bianchi said meeting any foreign opposition was always a good challenge. Barile, on the other hand, concluded by saying that if Torino and Catania both win their semi-finals, the Granata could have a taste of the Serie A in the final.
Hibernians coach Mark Miller said that after a break, the players have something to look forward to as they get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the top players in Italy. He stressed that such games provide local players a lot of experience.
Miller revealed that Torino goalkeeper Lys Gomis will play for the Paolites in the semi-final against Catania as goalkeeper Mario Muscat is unavailable due to personal reasons. Diego Balbinot, Adrian Pulis and Matthew Tabone are all ruled out injured. Striker Alex Pedrosa, who is currently on trial with the club, should make play some part in one or the two games.
Qormi goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia said that for the club, this tournament was another good opportunity to face foreign opposition after taking part in a triangular tournament with Serie B side Triestina last year. Farrugia said this tournament would help the players regain match fitness.
With coach Stephen Azzopardi being unable to lead the team from the bench, the team will be under the guidance of Qormi Nursery Head Coach Edward Micallef.
18.30 QORMI vs TORINO
19.30 HIBERNIANS vs CATANIA
20.30 Final for 3rd and 4th Place
In case of a draw in the semi-finals or the final, penalties will be taken to declare the winner.
The final will be followed by the presentation of the trophy and mementos.
Hibernians and Torino fans will be staying in West A Stand while West Stand C will be reserved for Qormi and Catania supporters.
Ticket Prices for local fans will be the same as those for the domestic competitions: €6 for adults, €4 for holders of Kartanzjan and €1 for children.