After losing to Hamrun Spartans in their last outing, Valletta will be all out to return to winning ways on Sunday as they take on Sliema Wanderers in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium and Hibernians Stadium.
In the first match at the National Stadium, kick-off at 14:00, Balzan take on the newly-revamped Birkirkara side. Two teams who are eager to get back on track after disappointing in the first round. In fact, the Stripes are currently sixth ten points behind leaders Hibernians while Balzan lie one point behind.
Winning their last three matches against Mosta and bottom-placed Qormi and Senglea enabled Birkirkara to recover a bit but during the winter break, the club appointed John Arne Riise as their new sporting director, signed a number of new players and released others. They signed Maurizio Vella, Johann Bezzina Muamer Svraka and Jorge Pereira da Silva, released Myles Beerman, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Petar Orlandic and Milan Basrak, transferred Paul Fenech to Balzan and loaned Llywelyn Cremona and Brandon Muscat to Gudja United and Zebbug Rangers respectively. Luke Montebello is back after serving a one-year ban.
On the other hand, apart from signing Paul Fenech, Balzan signed
central defender Aleksandar Kosorić. However Elkin Serrano is ruled out from Sunday’s game as he serves a suspension.
The first round clash ended in a 1-0 win for Birkirkara.
In the second match at the National Stadium, kick-off at 16:00, Valletta take on Sliema Wanderers.
The defeat to Hamrun brought to an end a fine run of ten positive results which included nine wins and a draw with Gżira. A win against Sliema would put the Citizens just one point behind the Maroons although they would still remain third.
The Wanderers lie three points behind Valletta and therefore a win would put them on level points with Danilo Doncic’s side. They won three out of the last four league matches, losing only to Balzan.
Both Valletta and Sliema had a quiet transfer campaign so far.
Sliema had defeated Valletta 3-0 in the first round.
In the first match at the Hibernians Stadium, kick-off at 14:00, St. Andrews take on Mosta.
Five points separate the two teams as St. Andrews share the eighth place with Floriana and Tarxien while Mosta are eleventh on eleven points.
The Saints had failed to win any of their last four matches but were then awarded a 3-0 win after the game against Floriana as the latter had failed to include eleven home-grown players in their line-up.
Mosta, on the other hand, defeated Qormi 2-0 in their last outing – their first league win in three months. This week, the squad was strengthened with the signing of Duane Bonnici from Naxxar and American central defender Gianluca Cuomo
In the first round, St. Andrews beat Mosta 3-1.
In the second match at the Hibernians Stadium, kick-off at 16:00, bottom-placed Senglea Athletic and Qormi cross swords in a direct clash.
The two teams are desperate to lift up their fortunes after collecting just four points from the first thirteen matches. Qormi lost their last ten matches while Senglea are coming from a run of five consecutive defeats.
Senglea secured the services of Gary Camilleri, Luke Scorfna, Brazilians Diego Silva, Romulo Santos, Serbian duo Nikola Mitic, Marko Batinica and Moroccan Sidqy El Mehdi. Goalkeeper Philip Schranz was not retained.
Qormi, on the other hand, signed Brazilians Mateus Regis da Silva, Lucas Santana dos Santos and Wellington de Oliveira Vieira. Gaetano Gesualdi, Dejan Vukovic, Claudio Celis, Lubos Adamec, Seo-In Kim, Mario Andres Arrieta, Alexsandro Ferreira and Michael Camilleri were released.
In the first round, Qormi defeated Senglea 1-0.