Valletta, Birkirkara seek revenge

After suffering first-round defeats, Valletta and Birkirkara will be seeking revenge on Saturday as they take on Pietà Hotspurs and Tarxien Rainbows in two of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme.

Sliema Wanderers target another win as they face Zebbug Rangers while Qormi hope to end their winless streak in the clash against Mosta.

Zebbug Rangers vs Sliema Wanderers, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After winning two out of the last three matches, Sliema Wanderers would join Balzan in fourth place should they beat bottom-placed Zebbug Rangers. The Blues are coming from a 2-1 win over Pietà Hotspurs. Zebbug, on the other hand, lost 1-4 to Floriana and 2-5 to Hibernians.

Both sides will be unable to field their best formation due to the several players who are injured or suspended. Stefano Bianciardi serves a one-match ban for Sliema while Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Michael Mifsud are ruled out injured. Zebbug, on the other hand, could not count on Jacob Borg, Yessous Camilleri and Kurt Zammit but goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo, Italian defender Paltemio Barbetti and English striker Rashid Yussuff are set for their debut.

In the first round, Sliema, then under the guidance of Zebbug coach Alfonso Greco, won 1-0.

Pietà Hotspurs vs Valletta, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Valletta will be all out to get the three points after losing 1-2 to Pietà in the first round. Last week, the Citizens came back from two goals down to beat Qormi 3-2. Roderick Briffa and Jonathan Caruana will be back from suspension but Shaun Bajada is still recovering from an injury.

Pietà also welcome back Leonardo Fortunato and Gabriel. They lost 1-2 to Sliema in their last outing and have gone five matches without a win.

Birkirkara vs Tarxien Rainbows, kick-off 14:00 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Birkirkara seek a fifth win in six matches as they take a Tarxien Rainbows side which had defeated them 3-1 in the first round. A win is a must for Paul Zammit’s side in order not to lose further ground with the leaders. They are coming from a 5-1 win over Mosta last week. Tarxien lost six of the last nine matches, losing heavily to Balzan last week.

For Tarxien, Alessandro Lopes Pereira is suspended but Carlos Menendez Hevia will be back after missing the last game. The Stripes’ leading striker Liliu is ruled out for the rest of the season.

Mosta vs Qormi, kick-off 16:15 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Qormi are eager to end their winless streak after going eight matches without a win, losing to Sliema, Birkirkara and Valletta in their last three matches. They are currently joint-eighth with Naxxar, three points behind Mosta who are coming from a 1-5 defeat to Birkirkara.

Mosta should have Yannick Ossok, Gary Roberts, Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa and Ian Zammit making their debut but Nemanja Milovanovic and Tyrone Farrugia are suspended while Jonas Rodriguez Ekani and Manolito Micallef are ruled out injured. Qormi will be without the suspended Duncan Pisani but Emerson Vella will be back after serving a one-match ban. Clifford Gauci could make his debut after joining the club from Zebbug.

Qormi defeated Mosta 4-0 in the first round.