U*BET FA Trophy: Eight teams seek remaining quarter-final berths

Eight teams seek a place in the quarter-finals of the U*BET FA Trophy as the final four fourth round clashes will be played on Sunday at the Hibernians Stadium and the Centenary Stadium.

The four winners would join holders Floriana, last season’s finalists Valletta, Qormi and First Division side Pietà Hotspurs in the quarter-finals which will be played on February 25 and 26.

In the first match at the Hibernians Stadium, First Division side Rabat Ajax take on Hibernians.

The Magpies are currently joint-first in the BOV First Division with25 points from eleven matches. The Paolites, on the other hand, lie in second place in the BOV Premier League with 38 points from seventeen matches.

Rabat reached this stage after beating Division 1 side Birzebbuga St. Peter’s 3-1 and Division 2 side Kirkop United 3-0. Hibernians, on the other hand, struggled much more than expected to beat Third Division leaders Pembroke Athleta 5-3.

In another match at the same venue, Birkirkara take on Hamrun Spartans in a clash between two Premier League clubs.

The Stripes are currently fourth on 26 points while Hamrun lie in ninth place on 15. Birkirkara lost three out of the last six Premier League games which saw them lose ground with the top three teams. The Spartans, on the other hand, collected just four points from the last six matches and chances of securing a top six finish are almost nil as they lie nine points behind sixth-placed Balzan.

In the previous round, both sides eliminated teams from Division 1. The Stripes defeated Vittoriosa Stars 4-0 while Hamrun beat Dingli Swallows 3-1.

The two teams already met in the first round of the Premier League with Birkirkara winning 4-0.

In the first game at the Centenary Stadium, Mosta take on the only remaining team from Gozo – Xewkija Tigers.

After all Gozitan clubs were admitted to the competition as from this season, the Tigers were the only team to survive after eliminating three Maltese clubs – Third Division sides Swieqi United 5-0 and Mdina Knights 2-1 and Second Division wooden-spoonists Senglea Athletic 3-0. Xewkija, who are currently leaders in the GFA First Division, now aim to make history by being the first Gozitan team to reach the quarter-finals.

Mosta, on the other hand, are currently tenth in the BOV Premier League and lost just one of the last six matches. They defeated Second Division side Msida St. Joseph 1-0 in the third round of the competition.

Meanwhile another First Division side is sure to make it to the quarter-finals as St. George’s take on Lija Athletic in an all-Division 1 clash.

The two teams lie in the lower part of the table as Lija are currently joint-ninth with nine points from ten matches and St. George’s second from bottom, one point behind Lija.

St. George’s defeated Third Division side Mtarfa 5-0 and Second Division side Gharghur 2-0. Lija, on the other hand, eliminated First Division side St. Andrews on penalties and then Gozitans Victoria Hotspurs, beating them 6-0.

Lija defeated St. George’s 4-1 in a First Division clash last month.