Rivals Valletta and Birkirkara cross swords in a direct clash for second place in one of the two matches at the National Stadium on Sunday which will bring the second round to an end. Points will then be halved as the third and final round kicks-off in two weeks’ time.
Valletta are currently second on 43 points, one ahead of the Stripes. In case of a win, the Citizens would start the third round on 23 points, seven behind Hibernians. A draw or a defeat would make no difference as they would start on 22 points. On the other hand, a win for Birkirkara would also put them on the 23-point mark. With a draw, they would start on 22 and should they lose, they would start on 21.
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Birkirkara are unbeaten for nine matches but after a 1-1 draw with Hibernians two weeks ago, they were disappointed to be held in a 1-1 draw by Sliema last week. Valletta, on the other hand, suffered a 1-2 defeat to Balzan.
Steve Borg returns for Valletta after serving a one-match ban. For Birkirkara, Ryan Scicluna is suspended. Goalkeeper Mirza Hamzabegovic is still awaiting his debut for the Stripes.
Birkirkara defeated Valletta 2-1 in the BOV Super Cup and 2-0 in the BOV Premier League first round.
Meanwhile in the first match, Floriana take on Qormi.
The Greens are currently fifth and with a win over Qormi, they would move to just one point behind fourth-placed Balzan. A defeat would leave them three points behind Balzan while a draw would lead to a two-point gap.
Floriana are coming from a rather disappointing 1-1 draw with Tarxien and are therefore eager to return to winning ways. However the absence of the suspended Clyde Borg, Steve Pisani and Amadou Samb together with the injured Manolito Micallef and Andre Scicluna apart from goalkeeper Valerio Senatore makes things more difficult.
Qormi suffered seven consecutive defeats and failed to win any of their last twelve matches to fall bottom of the table and following the appointment of Mark Miller, they would be aiming to halt this negative run.
In the first round, Qormi defeated Floriana 4-2.