Balzan Youths and Qormi will be hoping to secure the remaining spot in the Championship Pool as they take on Tarxien Rainbows and Marsaxlokk respectively in two of the four matches in programme on Saturday at two different venues.
Two points separate the two teams with Balzan lying in sixth place on 28 points, two ahead of Qormi.
At the Hibernians Stadium, Qormi face Marsaxlokk seeking the three points to maintain hopes of securing a place in the Championship Pool. However a win could not be enough should Balzan win. On the other hand, a decider would be necessary if Qormi win and Balzan are held in a draw. A draw for Stephen Azzopardi’s side would condemn them to playing in the Relegation Pool for a second successive season. The Yellow Blacks lost four out of the last five matches, claiming the only points in a win over Mqabba.
Marsaxlokk, on the other hand, lost the last nine matches, including the game against Tarxien which they won but eventually lost the points over the ineligibility of a player. The Southseasiders are coming from a heavy 6-2 defeat to Hamrun Spartans in their last outing and against Qormi, they will only aim at stop their negative run.
Marsaxlokk coach Anton Cremona is expected to field his best formation. On the other hand, Roderick Sammut and Joseph Chetcuti are ruled out through suspension for Qormi.
In the first round, Qormi defeated Marsaxlokk 3-1.
In the first match at the Hibernians Stadium, Mqabba take on Hibernians.
Hibernians will be aiming at returning to winning ways as they take on a depleted Mqabba side. Lying six points behind leaders Valletta, the Paolites hope to close in on the Citizens. Hibs are coming from six positive results, winning four, the remaining two matches ending in draws. Jackson Lima is suspended but Bjorn Kristensen will be back after serving a one-match ban.
Mqabba coach Clive Mizzi has a lot to worry about as he could not field his best formation since goalkeeper Kris Calleja, David Fenech, Mauro Bonnici and Mark Anthony Psaila are all suspended. They are coming from two defeats to Qormi and Mosta respectively.
In the first round, Hibernians beat Mqabba 4-1.
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Balzan Youths meet Tarxien Rainbows.
Balzan Youths will be all out to claim the three points from this game as this would enable them a top six finish and hence, make sure of retaining Premier League status for the first time in the history of the club. The Youths lost two of the last three matches but claimed maximum points from the previous two matches.
The Rainbows are currently second from bottom and lost 1-3 to Birkirkara in their last outing after a run of three positive results. From this game, Patrick Curmi’s side hopes to collect more precious points as they maintain the challenge against relegation in the Relegation Pool.
Justin Grioli is suspended for Tarxien. For Balzan, Nikola Tasic and Clifton Ciantar will be back after serving a one-match but Bledjon Guga is suspended.
In the first round, Balzan defeated Tarxien 2-1.
In another match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Sliema Wanderers take on Mosta.
After defeating Qormi in their last outing, Sliema hope to collect another three points as they face Mosta. The win over Mosta was the first win in over a month after losing one game and ending in three draws. A win over Mosta would put them possibly just four points behind Floriana in the beginning of the second phase.
Mosta, on the other hand, also aim for precious points from this game. They won three out of the last four matches and have already defeated Sliema 3-2 earlier this season.
Sliema coach Danilo Doncic could not count on Beppe Muscat, Ryan Fenech and Rumen Galabov as they are ruled out through suspension. Mosta, on the other hand, hope to welcome back Dyson Falzon from injury but Federico Tisbi and Florent Raimy are suspended.
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