Birkirkara take on Hibernians — More decisive clashes in Relegation Pool

hibs-bkara130922BOV Premier League leaders Birkirkara aim for the three points in order to maintain at least a two-point lead over Valletta as they take on Hibernians in a clash from the Championship Pool on Saturday.

Meanwhile Qormi need just one point to secure their Premier League status in one of the three matches from the Relegation Pool being played on Saturday. Qormi take on Vittoriosa Stars, Naxxar Lions cross swords with Floriana while Tarxien Rainbows face Rabat Ajax.

Naxxar L. vs Floriana, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
One point separates Naxxar Lions and Floriana with the Greens lying three points ahead of Vittoriosa Stars and Naxxar Lions two ahead of the Stars. A win for either side would definitely be an important step towards safety while a draw would leave a status quo.

After losing to Qormi and Vittoriosa, the Greens bounced back with a 2-0 win over Tarxien. Naxxar, on the other hand, lost 0-1 to Qormi last week after winning the previous two games against Rabat and Tarxien.

Both sides will be unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Brooke Farrugia, Igor Coronado and Gary Muir for Floriana while goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi, David Alejandro Reano and Gilmar Ribeiro da Silva are ruled out for Naxxar.

Floriana defeated Naxxar 1-0 in the second round with the other two matches ending in two 1-1 draws.

Tarxien R. vs Rabat A., kick-off 18:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After suffering back-to-back defeats to Naxxar and Floriana, Tarxien cannot afford any result other than a win as they take on relegated side Rabat Ajax. They lie third from bottom on 22 points, one ahead of Vittoriosa.

Rabat, on the other hand, are coming from seven consecutive defeats and have almost gone six months without a win – their only win, ironically being a 1-0 win over the Rainbows in the first win. Coach Steve D’Amato will once again have a depleted side due to the absence of Dylan Falzon, Dani Pelaez, Wayne Borg and Adam Smeir.

Tarxien will be without Manuel Caruana and Lucas Goncalves da Silva.

Apart from the first round defeat to Rabat, Tarxien won 6-2 and 2-0 in the other two matches.

Vittoriosa S. vs Qormi, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
The clash with Qormi is an almost do-or-die match for Vittoriosa as they are currently second from bottom. A draw would suit Qormi as it would enable them to secure their status but would leave Vittoriosa in a most dangerous position. On the other hand, should they win, Vittoriosa would put the pressure on other teams.

Qormi won their last three matches against Floriana, Rabat and Naxxar while Vittoriosa beat Floriana and Rabat.

No players are suspended but Giorgio Gianola and Gabriel are in doubt for Qormi while Gilbert Martin is ruled out injured for Vittoriosa.

Vittoriosa defeated Qormi 1-0 and 2-1 in the first two rounds but the third round clash ended in a 5-1 win for Qormi.

Hibernians vs Birkirkara, kick-off 18:00 at National Stadium
Champions Birkirkara need a win over Hibernians to make sure to stay ahead of Valletta before next week’s decisive clash for the championship.

But a match against Hibernians is no easy game considering that the Paolites defeated Birkirkara 1-0 twice this season – in the first and third rounds. The other two games – the BOV Super Cup final and the BOV Premier League second round clash ended 3-2 and 2-1 for Birkirkara.

The Stripes should welcome back Gareth Sciberras and Joseph Zerafa in the starting line-up. For Hibernians, Scott Chircop is ruled out injured while goalkeeper Jurgen Borg is still struggling to regain full fitness.

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