The third round of the BOV Premier League gets underway this weekend with four matches on Saturday and another two on Sunday.
Valletta and Balzan hope to return to winning ways as they take on Zebbug Rangers and Mosta respectively. Sliema Wanderers face Tarxien Rainbows while Floriana meet Pietà Hotspurs.
Valletta vs Zebbug Rangers, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Following a defeat to Balzan and a draw with Birkirkara, Valletta will be all out to return to winning ways and move to just five points behind leaders Hibernians as they take on Zebbug Rangers. The Citizens eliminated Mosta in the FA Trophy after beating them 3-1. Zebbug, on the other hand, suffered a heavy 0-4 defeat to Naxxar Lions and lie at the bottom of the table together with Qormi.
Zebbug’s Lee Galea and Valletta’s Roderick Briffa are ruled out through suspension.
In the previous rounds, Valletta defeated Zebbug 2-0 twice.
Sliema Wanderers vs Tarxien Rainbows, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Sliema could join Balzan in fourth place should they beat Tarxien Rainbows as coach Stephen Azzopardi celebrates his 300th game as a coach. The Wanderers collected precious points in a win over Mosta in their last league outing. Tarxien, on the other hand, lost three out of the last six matches, suffering a 1-4 defeat to Hibernians in the derby.
Matheus Ribeiro dos Santos is set to make his debut for the Blues after his move from Sliema while Michael Mifsud could make his return after more than two months on the sidelines due to an injury. However Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Stefano Bianciardi and Filippo Talato are still recovering from injuries. Owen Bugeja, Firas Aboulezz and Ryan Sammut will be back for Tarxien.
The two teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first round with Sliema winning 2-0 in the second.
Floriana vs Pietà Hotspurs, kick-off 14:00 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Floriana will target maximum points from this clash in their bid to strengthen the fight for fourth place. After beating Mosta, they were held in draws by Tarxien and Qormi in their last two league outings. However their task will be no easy one considering that Pietà are coming from a fine 2-1 win over Balzan in their last league match. The Hotspurs however lost 0-3 to Birkirkara in the FA Trophy last week.
Clyde Borg and Steve Pisani return for Floriana but Amadou Samb has still one game to serve from his four-match ban while Andre Scicluna is ruled out injured. For Pietà Orosco Anonam is suspended.
Floriana defeated Pietà 3-1 in the first round with the second round clash ending in a 1-1 draw.
Balzan vs Mosta, kick-off 16:15 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
After a fine display despite a defeat on penalties to Hibernians, Balzan will hope to start the third round with a win as they chase a historic place in the UEFA Europa League. They are eager to bounce back after losing 1-2 to Pietà in their last league outing. Mosta, on the other hand, won just one of the last nine league matches and were eliminated from the FA Trophy after losing to Valletta. However a win on Saturday would put them just one point behind the Blues.
Balzan will be in full strength as Gianmarco Piccioni and Bojan Kaljevic will be back after missing the last league game. Ousman Koli is ruled out through suspension for Mosta.
Mosta won the first round clash 1-0 while Balzan registered a 1-0 win in the second round.