Six Premier League clubs start as favourites to secure a place in the fourth round of the U*BET FA Trophy as the final six third round matches are in programme on Wednesday at three different venues.
In one of the two matches at the Centenary Stadium, Sliema Wanderers will be hoping to avoid another upset at the expense of Zebbug Rangers who had eliminated them from the competition last year. The Blues are currently fourth in the BOV Premier League with twenty-four points from twelve matches. Zebbug, on the other hand, are joint-fourth in the BOV First Division on eleven points. Zebbug reached this stage after eliminating Second Division side Dingli Swallows 3-0.
In the fourth round, the winner faces Balzan.
Meanwhile in the first match at the Centenary Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows take on Second Division side Mellieha. The Rainbows, fresh from the 1-0 win over Hibernians in the derby, are currently joint-seventh in the Premier League on 12 points from twelve matches. Mellieha, on the other hand, managed to stay unbeaten for the last six matches in the BOV Second Division and are currently sixth on fifteen points. Mellieha beat Gharghur 4-1 in the second round.
The winner would take Qormi or SK Victoria Hotspurs in the fourth round.
Floriana face Gozitans Victoria Hotspurs in the first match at the Sirens Stadium. The Greens are currently joint-seventh in the BOV Premier League after starting the season with a six-point deduction. The Hotspurs are fourth in the Melita GFA First Division with 13 points from eleven matches. They defeated another two Gozitan sides in the first two rounds – Munxar Falcons 2-1 and Oratory Youths 3-0.
The winner will be meeting Naxxar Lions in the next round.
In the other match at the Sirens Stadium, the finalists for the past two years, Qormi, take on SK Victoria Wanderers. Qormi are second from bottom in the BOV Premier League with just eight points from twelve matches. The Wanderers, on the other hand, are joint-second in the GFA First Division with 18 points from eight matches. They eliminated Xghajra Tornados and Marsaskala in the first two rounds, beating them 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.
In the next round, the winner will be facing Tarxien or Mellieha.
Valletta take on First Division side Melita in the first match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. The Citizens moved to just one point behind joint-leaders Hibernians and Birkirkara in the BOV Premier League and are coming from a most comfortable 6-0 win over Mosta during the weekend. Melita, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, are currently second in the BOV First Division on 13 points from seven matches. The Amateurs defeated Gozitans Nadur Youngsters 3-0 in the second round.
The winner will be meeting Lija Athletic or Mosta who face each other in the second match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
The Blues are currently fourth in the BOV Premier League with 16 points from twelve matches. Lija, on the other hand, are third in the BOV First Division with 12 points from seven matches. Lija defeated Xewkija Tigers 4-0 in the previous round.
The teams who qualified so far are Premier League clubs Balzan, Birkirkara, Hibernians, Naxxar Lions and Rabat Ajax, First Division sides Gzira United, Pietà Hotspurs, St. Andrews and St. Georges and Gozitan First Division side Kercem Ajax. Matches are set to be played on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 January apart from the only fourth round match not to involve any Premier League club between Gzira United and St. George’s.
18:00 Mellieha vs Tarxien Rainbows (Centenary Stadium)
20:15 Sliema Wanderers vs Zebbug Rangers (Centenary Stadium)
18:00 Floriana vs Victoria Hotspurs (Sirens Stadium)
20:15 Qormi vs SK Victoria Wanderers (Sirens Stadium)
18:00 Melita vs Valletta (Victor Tedesco Stadium)
20:15 Lija Athletic vs Mosta (Victor Tedesco Stadium)