Stripes’ test for leaders Valletta

Leaders Valletta will be hoping to extend their unbeaten record with a fifth consecutive win as they take on rivals Birkirkara in this weekend’s big match from the BOV Premier League.

The Citizens defeated Hamrun, Vittoriosa, Hibernians and Qormi in their last four outings, scoring eleven and suffering two goals. Four wins which keep Jesmond Zerafa’s side seven points clear of second-placed Tarxien Rainbows. With a win over the Stripes, Valletta would therefore move ten points clear.

However their task is no easy one considering that Birkirkara had already held them in a 2-2 draw in the first round. In the BOV Super Cup, Valletta defeated Birkirkara 3-2 after extra-time while in the Euro Cup, the Citizens had registered a comfortable 3-0 win.

Birkirkara extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches in their last league outing. Seven matches in which they registered three wins and were held in four draws. Lying in fourth place on twenty points, the Stripes could join Tarxien in second place should they manage to inflict the first defeat on the Citizens.

Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Harding, Andrew Decesare and Trevor Cilia are all expected to miss the game for Birkirkara. Valletta, on the other hand, should be in full strength, except for Kenneth Scicluna.

Meanwhile in the first game, Hibernians take on Marsaxlokk in a clash between two teams who are eager for points.

The Paolites are having one of the worst ever seasons as they lie second from bottom on eight points from twelve matches. They failed to win in the last eleven matches and lost to Valletta and Birkirkara in their last two outings.

The Southseasiders, on the other hand, are currently sixth on fourteen points. After a rather positive start to the Premier League campaign, Marsaxlokk disappointed in recent outings, collecting just two points from their last five matches, losing to Qormi, Tarxien and Floriana.

A boost for Patrick Curmi’s side should be the debut of midfielder Florent Raimy who returns with the club after a short spell in Cyprus and on-loan striker Ryan Darmanin. However Ruben Guerreiro Gravata and Carlo Mamo are ruled out through suspension.

In the first round, the two teams shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

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