The semifinal play-offs in the Gatorade Elite Round get underway tonight at the Corradino Pavillion. Champions Valletta start their title defence against strong contenders Hamrun Tre Angeli (kick-off 21.30) in what is considered as a highly anticipated encounter. On the other hand, league leaders Luxol are up against a mighty Swieqi side in the early fixture (kick-off 20.00)
Valletta vs Hamrun is always an exciting fixture that attracts a good crowd of spectators. Both teams possess some experienced players that can make a difference in the final outcome of the game. Moreover, it will be an interesting duel between two Brazilians that are doing very well recently, Valletta’s Raphinha and Hamrun’s Everton Veve, recently chosen as the best Futsal player during the MFPA awards. Both players have scored a great number of goals to help their side book their place in the play-offs. Valletta and Hamrun have met twice during this season as the Citizens saw off Hamrun 7-4 with the latter answering back by edging their opponents 6-5 in the second round.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg
Luxol, who were one of the most consistent side during this campaign, face Swieqi who finished fourth in the final standings. The St Andrews outfit have beaten Swieqi twice this season (6-1, 9-2) and are aiming for a place in the final after missing this objective last season. Swieqi, who had a positive campaign so far, will try to be a hard nut to crack as they hope that their Bulgarian trio Marev-Petev-Gerenski will be in fine form to cause problems to the Luxol rearguard who is regarded as one of the best in the island. Frane Despotovic’s side have no problems in their line-up as they can field their strongest formation.
The return matches of these semifinals are scheduled to be played on Friday 17th May.
Meanwhile in the Gatorade First Division, Msida maintained their challenge for the title after a 19-2 rout over lowly Zurrieq Wolves while Mriehel ESS also had an easy outing as they saw off Marsascala Construct Furniture 7-0.
The match between Qormi and Swieqi U21 had to be abandoned minutes before the first half after a brawl between some players. After a delay of some minutes, the referees abandoned the game, which stood at 1-1.