Hibernians take on Valletta in top-of-the-table clash

Hibernians take on leaders Valletta in what could be a do-or-die clash for the team led by Mark Miller in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The Paolites are currently second on 35 points, three behind the Citizens. Should they beat Valletta, they would therefore join them on 38 points while a draw would leave them three points behind. On the other hand, a win for Valletta would put Jesmond Zerafa’s side six points clear and a step closer to the 21st championship in the history of the club.

Hibs bounced back from a defeat to Birkirkara with a 4-1 win over Balzan in their last outing. However the absence of January signing Jackson Lima Siqueira is definitely a setback for the Paolites as he is turning out to be one of the club’s key players. But on a positive note, goalkeeper Mario Muscat and Adrian Pulis will be back after serving a one-match ban.

Valletta registered the 20th league win on Saturday, defeating eternal rivals Floriana 2-0 under the watchful eyes of UEFA President Michel Platini. Therefore they extended their positive run to twenty-one matches . Steve Borg and Alfred Effiong are suspended.

The two teams met twice this season with Hibernians claiming the three points in the first round thanks to a 2-0 clash. The second round match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Sliema Wanderers and Floriana hope to return to winning ways as the two teams aim at maintaining the challenge for third place. The Wanderers are yet without a win in the Championship Pool after two draws and two defeats. They have already defeated Floriana 1-0 in the first round and after a goalless draw in the second, they now hope for another three points in order to move to just one point behind the Greens.

Floriana lost three out of the last four matches and now that they are out of the race for the title, they could only aim for third place since second-placed Hibernians lead them by eleven points. After losing to rivals Valletta 2-0 in their last outing, they need to improve considerably in order to make sure of taking home the three points.

Duncan Pisani returns for Floriana after missing the last two games through suspension. However Joseph Borg and Christian Caruana are both suspended while Christian Cassar Caruana is ruled out injured. Clifford Gatt Baldacchino is ruled out as he serves a one-match ban but Anicet Eyenga will be back after serving a two-match ban.

Sliema defeated Floriana 1-0 in the first round while the second round clash ended in a goalless draw.

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