Four teams will be trying to book a place in the final of the FXDD Knock-Out as the two semi-finals will be played on Friday night at the Corradino Pavillion.
In the first semi-final, Vittoriosa Stars take on neighbours Zabbar St. Patrick in the derby of the South. Vittoriosa have eliminated Valletta and Melita in the first two rounds and then eased past Zurrieq in the Quarter Final stage. The Cottonera side has reached this stage using only home grown players. They are now on the brink of another landmark in the club’s history to reach their first ever knock-out final.
They will encounter a Zabbar side mostly renowned for ousting champions Hibernians out of the competition in a 5-4 win in the second round. They eventually knocked out First Division side Gzira 10-9 in the quarter-finals. Zabbar can count on their key player Nikolay Filipov who on the day can be lethal for opponents. On the other hand, players like Kenneth Spiteri and Clive Calleja could threaten the Saints.
In their previous encounter in the league played almost a month ago, Zabbar defeated Vittoriosa 4-2.
In the second semi-final, holders Balzan face Pembroke Athleta. The former are favourites to grab the much-awaited place in the final but in the Knock-out stage everything is possible.
Balzan, third in the league have a vast squad to choose from and are boosted by the return of their star player Clint Cope, who scored a brace in their last league match against Zabbar. They reached the semifinals after eliminating Sirens, Qormi and Swieqi respectively.
Pembroke have done quite well in the league after placing fourth in the table. They have disposed of Hamrun, Mqabba and San Gwann to reach the semifinal of this competition. They hope to have their top scorer Floren Manea in top form to threaten the Balzan rearguard.
In their last encounter Balzan won Pembroke 8-2.
Vittoriosa vs Zabbar kicks-off at 20:00, followed by Balzan vs Pembroke at 21:30.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg