Citizens aim at keeping the pace with Birkirkara

Valletta will be aiming for the three points in order to keep the pace with leaders Birkirkara as they take on Tarxien Rainbows in one of the two BOV Premier League matches on Saturday. The other game is the Relegation Pool clash between Floriana and Hamrun Spartans.

Following a 3-0 win over Sliema Wanderers on Friday, Birkirkara moved seven points clear on top and therefore Valletta cannot afford dropping any points in the coming matches in order to maintain the bid to secure the twentieth title in the history of the club.

The Citizens lost two of their last three league games – 1-2 to Sliema and 0-1 to Birkirkara – but in the mean time, they defeated Tarxien 3-1 after extra-time in the National League 100 Anniversary Cup semi-finals and Birkirkara 2-0 in the U*BET FA Trophy quarter-finals.

The game against Tarxien will definitely be no easy one for Ton Caanen’s side. The Rainbows held the Citizens in two 2-2 draws in the first phase and although Valletta registered a most comfortable 6-2 win in the first game of the Championship Pool, in the Anniversary Cup, Tarxien once again gave them a hard time, forcing extra-time although Valletta eventually emerged as winners.

In their last two league outings, Tarxien held Birkirkara in a 3-3 draw and then went on to beat Hibernians 2-0.

Valletta will be unable to field their best formation due to the absence of defenders Steve Borg and Luke Dimech who are both serving a one-match ban.

Meanwhile in the first game, Floriana could condemn Msida St. Joseph to playing in Division 1 next season should they obtain a positive result from the game against Hamrun Spartans.

The Spartans are leading the way in the Championship Pool with 20 points, followed by Floriana on 18, Msida on 9 and Dingli on 2. Therefore, with three games to go, the Greens need just one point to secure their Premier League status. Hamrun have already made sure of playing in the top division next season while Dingli were condemned to the First Division a couple of weeks ago.

Hamrun claimed maximum points from the three Relegation Pool matches played so far, defeating Floriana 2-1, Dingli 6-0 and Msida 5-3. Last week, they eliminated holders Sliema from the FA Trophy beating them 5-2. Floriana, on the other hand, beat Msida 2-1 and Dingli 3-0. They secured a place in next Tuesday’s National League 100 Anniversary Cup final after beating Mosta 3-1 after extra-time.

In the first round, Floriana defeated Hamrun 1-0 with the second round clash ending in a 1-1 draw. Floriana eliminated Hamrun from the Anniversary Cup, beating them on penalties.

Hamrun midfielder Rupert Mangion is ruled out through suspension.

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