Play-off spot, relegation to be determined on Friday

The play-off spot will be at stake on Friday as Sliema Wanderers take on Naxar Lions and Qormi face St. Andrews in two of the four matches in programme at the National Stadium and the Hibernians Stadium.

Birkirkara could still take the runner-up spot should they beat Balzan while Floriana take on Tarxien Rainbows in the other match.

Sliema Wanderers vs Naxxar Lions, kick-off 18:00 at Hibernians Stadium
A win is a must for Naxxar Lions to secure the play-off spot against the team who finished third in the First Division – Senglea Athletic. In case of a draw and a win for St. Andrews, a decider between Naxxar and St. Andrews would be necessary to determine which team finishes tenth. On the other hand, in case of a defeat for Naxxar and a win for Qormi, a decider would still be necessary between Naxxar and Qormi.

In their last outings, Sliema surprisingly lost 0-1 to Qormi while Naxxar lost 1-3 to St. Andrews.

Naxxar’s Daren Falzon and Ryan Grech and Sliema’s Stefano Bianciardi and Mark Scerri are ruled out through suspension.

Sliema beat Naxxar 2-1 in the first round but the second round clash ended in a win for Naxxar with an identical score.

Qormi vs St. Andrews, kick-off 18:00 at National Stadium
St. Andrews have to beat Qormi and hope Naxxar lose to Sliema in order to secure the play-off spot. In case of a win for St. Andrews and a draw for Naxxar, a decider between is necessary. With a draw or a defeat, they would be relegated after just one season in the top division.

Qormi, on the other hand, hope to beat St. Andrews and that Naxxar lose in order to force a decider. In any other case, Qormi would be relegated.

In their last outing, Qormi ended a winless streak of sixteen matches with a narrow win over Sliema while St. Andrews collected three precious points in a 3-1 win over Naxxar.

Ryan Micallef returns for Qormi and Michael Johnson will be back for St. Andrews after serving a one-match ban.

In the previous rounds, Qormi beat St. Andrews 3-0 and 4-0.

Floriana vs Tarxien Rainbows, kick-off 20:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Floriana and Tarxien Rainbows play their last game for the season in a game without any particular interest. Last week, Floriana defeated Mosta 4-2 while Tarxien beat Pembroke 4-0.

Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos and Alex da Paixao Alves are ruled out through suspension for Tarxien but Bruno Giglio de Oliveira will be back after missing the last game. Nicholas Chiesa and Matteo Piciollo return for Floriana.

Floriana and Tarxien shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first round but the second round clash ended in a 3-0 win for the Rainbows.

Balzan vs Birkirkara, kick-off 20:00 at National Stadium
Depending on the outcome of the protest lodged by Hibernians against the result of last Sunday’s BOV Premier League clash against Birkirkara, this game could have a strong bearing on the runner-up spot or third place. Birkirkara are currently third on 46 points, two behind Hibernians and three ahead of Balzan. Should the result of last Sunday’s game is to stand, the Stripes could take the runner-up spot with a win over Balzan and a defeat for Hibernians on Saturday. In case of a draw for Hibernians and a win for Birkirkara, the two teams would end their commitments in joint-second place. On the other hand, Balzan could join the Stripes in third place with a win on Friday.

Balzan lost 1-2 to Valletta last week with the Stripes defeating Hibernians 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches.

Former Birkirkara midfielder Paul Fenech is suspended for Balzan while Frank Temile is ruled out for Birkirkara as both serve a one-match ban.

Birkirkara defeated Balzan 4-1 in the first round but Balzan hit back with a narrow 1-0 win in the second round.