Balzan, Valletta seek wins to maintain championship hopes alive

Balzan and Valletta will be all out to take the three points on Saturday as they take on Tarxien Rainbows and St. Andrews respectively in the two BOV Premier League matches in programme on Saturday.

On the other hand, at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Floriana take on Gzira United while Hamrun Spartans face Pembroke Athleta.

Floriana vs Gzira United, kick-off 16:00 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
After suffering back-to-back defeats to Hibernians and Sliema Wanderers, Floriana shift their full focus to the FA Trophy as they now lie five points behind fourth-placed Birkirkara. The Maroons, on the other hand, will be aiming for a positive result after losing two out of the last three matches. Floriana lost 0-3 to Sliema while Gzira lost 0-2 to Hibernians.

Juan Carlos Corbalan will be back after serving a one-match ban but Louis Rene Zome is suspended. Floriana, on the other hand, lack Ryan Camenzuli

Floriana defeated Gzira 1-0 in the first round but the second round clash ended in a 4-3 win for the Maroons.

Hamrun Spartans vs Pembroke Athleta, kick-off 18:15 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Following the five-point deduction to Mosta, Hamrun Spartans are now sure of retaining their Premier League status but they are desperate to return to winning ways after failing to win any of their last eleven matches, losing to Floriana, Sliema and Mosta in their last three outings. Meanwhile bottom-placed Pembroke Athleta collected their first point after two months of defeats as they held Tarxien in a 1-1 draw. Now lying just two points behind Mosta, a win for Pembroke would enable them to leapfrog the Blues.

Luke Sciberras will be back for Hamrun but Sergio Raphael is suspended. Iraklis Roppas serves a one-match ban for Pembroke but Tonci Radovnikovic returns for Artim Shakiri’s side.

Hamrun defeated Pembroke 2-1 in the first round but Pembroke registered a 1-0 win in the second.

Tarxien Rainbows vs Balzan, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
After winning just two out of the last five matches, Balzan will be all out to claim the three points in order to maintain the challenge for the title as they now lie five points behind leaders Hibernians. In their last outing, they defeated St. Andrews 2-1. Tarxien, on the other hand, have gone eleven matches without a win and against Balzan, they will try to avoid at least another defeat following a disappointing 1-1 draw with Pembroke last week.

Both sides are unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Ryan Fenech and Bruno Giglio de Oliveira for Balzan, Julian Galea and Alex Nilsson for Tarxien.

Tarxien held Balzan in two 2-2 draws in the previous rounds.

St. Andrews vs Valletta, kick-off 18:00 at National Stadium
Following back-to-back draws with Gzira and Birkirkara, the Citizens could only maintain their slim hopes for the title with a win over St. Andrews. However Valletta are yet to beat St. Andrews this season following a goalless draw in the first round and a 1-1 draw in the second. The Saints lost just two out of the last eight matches although they are coming from a 1-2 defeat to Balzan.

Michael Johnson is ruled out through suspension for St. Andrews. Claudio Pani will be back for Valletta after missing the last game but Steve Borg is still suspended.