Balzan, Floriana in direct clash for fourth place

balzan-floriana131005Balzan and Floriana cross swords in a direct clash between the two teams lying in fourth place in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme on Saturday.

Leaders Hibernians target the twenty-second win as they take on Pietà Hotspurs, Birkirkara face Sliema Wanderers while Mosta meet bottom-placed Qormi.

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Balzan vs Floriana, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Balzan and Floriana will both be all out to claim the three points as they target a fourth place which could mean a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer. For Balzan, this Premier League campaign was the best one ever for the club as they continue to chase a historic a top-four finish. They won three of the last five matches and are coming from a 2-1 win over Naxxar last week. Floriana also won three out of the last five matches, defeating Pietà and Tarxien in their last two matches.

Matteo Piciollo and Sacha Borg return for Floriana after serving a one-match ban. Balzan hope to recover Lydon Micallef, Luke Sciberras and Gianmarco Piccioni who were all recovering from injuries.

In the first round, the two teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw but the second round clash ended in a 3-2 win for Balzan.

Hibernians vs Pietà Hotspurs, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Leaders Hibernians hope to extend their positive run with a win over Pietà Hotspurs, knowing that should Birkirkara fail to beat Sliema, they would also extend the lead on top the BOV Premier League table. They are coming from three consecutive wins over Tarxien, Qormi and Zebbug.

The Hotspurs, on the other hand, held Sliema in a 1-1 draw last week and lie in joint-eighth place, three points ahead of bottom-placed Qormi.

Claudio Frances will be back for Pietà after serving a one-match ban. Tarabai also returns for Hibs after missing the last game through suspension but this could be one of his final matches for the Paolites before his proposed move to Seoul E-Land FC in South Korea.

Hibs defeated Pietà 3-1 and 3-0 in the first two rounds.

Mosta vs Qormi, kick-off 14:00 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
After going six matches without a win, Mosta will be aiming for a win over Qormi in order to steer away from the relegation zone. The Blues are currently seventh but lie just five points ahead of bottom-placed Qormi. Last week, they suffered a 0-3 defeat to Birkirkara. Qormi lost nine of the last ten matches, losing to Hibernians and Valletta in their last two outings.

Ryan Grech returns for Mosta after serving a suspension while Ryan Micallef is ruled out for Qormi due to a one-match ban.

Qormi defeated Mosta 4-0 but in the second round, Mosta beat Qormi 3-1.

Birkirkara vs Sliema Wanderers, kick-off 16:15 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Birkirkara hope to extend their unbeaten record to thirteen matches with a third successive win as they take on Sliema Wanderers. The Stripes defeated Naxxar and Mosta in their last two outings and a win over Hibernians is a must as they aim at keeping the pace with the leaders. However Birkirkara are yet to beat Sliema this season after a 1-0 win for the Blues in the first round and a 1-1 draw in the second.

The Wanderers are currently sixth but need points to stay clear of the danger zone. They dropped two points in a draw with Pietà after beating Mosta and Tarxien in the previous two matches.

For Sliema, Djumo Bocar is ruled out through suspension.