U*BET FA Trophy takes centre stage

Thirty two teams will be seeking a place in the fourth round of the U*BET FA Trophy as sixteen third round matches will be played this weekend. The twelve Premier League clubs enter the competition at this stage after being awarded a bye. They will be joined by eight First Division clubs, nine from Division 2, one from Division 3 and two from Gozo who survived the first three rounds.

Friday 16 December

18:00 Mellieha vs Siggiewi (Centenary Stadium)
20:00 Hamrun S. vs Dingli S. (Centenary Stadium)

Two matches are in programme at the Centenary Stadium on Friday as Mellieha take on Siggiewi and Hamrun Spartans face Dingli Swallows.

Second Division side Mellieha managed to beat First Division side Melita on penalties following a goalless draw in the second round. Siggiewi, who also play in Division 2, beat Gozitan side Xaghra United 1-0 in the second round. The two teams already met this season in the BOV Second Division with Mellieha winning 3-0. In Division 2, Mellieha are currently joint-second while Siggiewi are eighth.

Premier Division side Hamrun Spartans take on Dingli Swallows from Division 1. The Spartans are currently ninth in the Premier League while Dingli are second from bottom in the First Division. The Swallows defeated Third Division side Qrendi 5-1 in the second round.

Saturday 17 December

14:00 Gharghur vs St. George’s (Centenary Stadium)
16:00 Kirkop U. vs Rabat A. (Centenary Stadium)
14:00 Zejtun C. vs Balzan Y. (National Stadium)
16:00 Gzira U. vs Qormi (National Stadium)
14:00 San Gwann vs Marsaxlokk (V. Tedesco Stadium)
16:15 Hibernians vs Pembroke A. (V. Tedesco Stadium)

Six matches are in programme on Saturday at three different venues – Centenary Stadium, National Stadium and Victor Tedesco Stadium.

At the Centenary Stadium, Second Division side Gharghur face St. George’s from Division 1. Gharghur, who are currently sixth in Division 2, defeated Gozitan side Sannat Lions 2-1 in the previous round. The Saints, on the other hand, beat Mtarfa from Division Three 5-0. They are currently second from bottom in Division 1.

In another match, Kirkop United from Division 2 meet Rabat Ajax from Division 1. After eliminating another First Division side – Naxxar Lions 3-1, Kirkop, who are currently seventh in Division Two, will be hoping to repeat themselves against the Magpies. Rabat, who defeated First Division side Birzebbuga St. Peter’s 3-1 in the second round, are currently second in the First Division.

At the National Stadium, First Division side Zejtun Corinthians face Balzan Youths from the Premier League. Zejtun lie in fourth place in the BOV First Division and defeated Third Division Mgarr United 3-0 in the second round of the competition. Balzan Youths are joint-sixth in the BOV Premier League.

In another match, Gzira United from Division 2 take on Premier League side Qormi. The Maroons, who lead the way in Division 2, reached this stage after defeating Gozitan side SK Victoria Wanderers on penalties. Qormi are currently joint-sixth in the Premier League.

At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Second Division side San Gwann meet Premier League side Marsaxlokk. San Gwann are currently fifth in Division 2 while Marsaxlokk are second from bottom in the Premier League. In the previous round, San Gwann defeated another Division 2 side St. Venera Lightnings 2-1.

Hibernians, who are currently second in the Premier League, take on Third Division leaders Pembroke Athleta in another match. Pembroke defeated Third Division side Ghaxaq 2-1 in the first round and Second Division side Gudja United 2-1 after extra-time in the second.

Sunday 18 December

14:00 Luqa SA vs Floriana (Centenary Stadium)
16:00 Tarxien R. vs Pietà H. (Centenary Stadium)
15:00 Lija A. vs Victoria H. (Luxol Stadium)
16:00 Xewkija T. vs Senglea A. (Gozo Stadium)
14:00 Birkirkara vs Vittoriosa S. (Hibernians Stadium)
16:00 Mqabba vs Sliema W. (Hibernians Stadium)
14:00 Msida SJ vs Mosta (V. Tedesco Stadium)
16:15 St. Patrick vs Valletta (V. Tedesco Stadium)

Eight Third Round matches will be played on Sunday at five different venues.

At the Centenary Stadium, Second Division side Luqa St. Andrew’s face Floriana. The Saints, who are currently eighth in the Second Division, defeated Zurrieq on penalties in the second round following a 2-2 draw. Floriana, on the other hand, are the holders of the FA Trophy after defeating Valletta 1-0 in last May’s final.

In the second match, Premier League side Tarxien Rainbows face Pietà Hotspurs from Division 1. The Hotspurs, who are currently the leaders in the First Division, defeated Third Division side Santa Lucia 5-1 in the second round of the competition. The Rainbows are currently third from bottom in the Premier League.

At the Luxol Stadium, First Division side Lija Athletic take on Gozitan side Victoria Hotspurs. Lija Athletic, who are currently joint-eighth in Division 1, eliminated another First Division side St. Andrews on penalties following a 5-4 draw. On the other hand, Victoria Hotspurs, who are currently second from bottom in the GFA First Division, eliminated another Gozitan side Nadur Youngsters 2-1.

Xewkija Tigers host Second Division side Senglea Athletic at the Gozo Stadium. The Tigers, who are the joint-leaders in the Gozitan First Division, eliminated two Third Division sides – Swieqi United 5-0 and Mdina Knights 2-1 in the previous rounds of the FA Trophy. Senglea, on the other hand, defeated Zebbug Rangers 6-0. They lie at the bottom of the table in Division 2.

At the Hibernians Stadium, Birkirkara face Division 1 side Vittoriosa Stars. The Stars are currently eighth in Division 1. The Stripes, on the other hand, are joint-fourth in the Premier League. In the previous round, Vittoriosa defeated Attard 3-1.

The other game is the only clash between two BOV Premier League sides – Mqabba and Sliema Wanderers. Eight points separate the two teams in the Premier League table with the Blues lying in fourth place and the Reds in the eighth. The two teams met twice this season – a 2-0 win for Sliema in the first round and a 1-1 draw in the second.

At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Msida St. Joseph from Division 2 take on Mosta. The Saints defeated Third Division side Fgura United 3-2 in the second round of the competition. They are currently third from bottom in Division 2. Mosta, on the other hand, lie at the bottom of the table in the Premier League.

In the last match, First Division side St. Patrick, who lie at the bottom of the table, face Premier League leaders Valletta. To reach this stage, the Zabbar side defeated Third Division side Marsaskala 1-0 in the second round.

In all these matches, extra-time will be played if necessary and if the result is still draw at the end of the one hundred and twenty minutes, penalty kicks shall be taken in accordance with the Laws of the Game.