Tricky test for leaders Balzan

bov-premier-leagueLeaders Balzan face a difficult task as they take on Sliema Wanderers in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium on Friday.

Balzan claimed just four points from the last three matches following a 0-3 defeat to Birkirkara, a 3-1 win over Hamrun and a 2-2 draw with Tarxien. On Saturday, they rescued a point deep into stoppage time after going two goals down. The free-for-all fight after the final whistle meant that coach Oliver Spiteri could not count on Christian Cassar, Lydon Micallef and Alfred Effiong as they were all reported by the referee and suspended. Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero was also suspended after being sent off while Justin Grioli and Ryan Fenech are still recovering from injuries.

The Wanderers, on the other hand, are coming from a 1-1 draw with Mosta after the previous four matches. They are currently sixth on 16 points, seven behind the leaders but just three behind third-placed Birkirkara. Coach John Buttigieg could field his best formation as Stefano Bianciardi resumed training after recovering from an injury.

Meanwhile in the second match, Floriana take on Birkirkara.

The Stripes are eager to bounce back from the narrow defeat to Hibernians on Sunday which denied them the possibility of moving to just one point behind the leaders. On the other hand, the Greens registered narrow wins over Mosta and Gzira and are now fifth, two points behind Birkirkara.

Mislav Andjelkovic is ruled out for Birkirkara while Enrico Pepe returns for Floriana after serving a one-match ban.