Must-win games for Balzan, Valletta

Leaders Balzan will be hoping to bounce back with a win as they take on St. Andrews in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme on Saturday at the Centenary Stadium and the Hibernians Stadium.

Valletta take on Senglea Athletic, Sliema Wanderers face Naxxar Lions while Lija Athletic meet Mosta in the other matches.

Balzan vs St. Andrews, kick-off 14:00 at Centenary Stadium
After dropping two points in a goalless draw with Naxxar, Balzan will be all out to claim the three points from the clash with St. Andrews who ended their disappointing streak with a 2-1 win over Hibernians in their last outing. However the Saints are still joint-second from bottom on ten points.

Balzan could have new signings Ivan Bozovic and Siraj Arab Eddin making their debut. St. Andrews could not count on the suspended Kemmu Degran Jackson and Tano Azian.

In the first round, St. Andrews had defeated Balzan 3-2.

Sliema Wanderers vs Naxxar Lions, kick-off 16:15 at Centenary Stadium
After disappointing in a draw with Mosta and a heavy defeat to Senglea, Sliema hope to bounce back with a win over Naxxar Lions who managed to hold Balzan in a goalless draw in their last outing. The Wanderers are currently joint-sixth on 24 points while Naxxar share the second place from bottom with St. Andrews and Tarxien on ten. The Lions won just one game out of the last six.

For Naxxar, Oussenyou Ndoye is ruled out as he serves a one-match ban but Rodrigo Leandro da Costa, Jean Digo Mose, Rafael Santos Henrique Caetano and Mailson Souza Duarte Junior could make their debut for Oliver Spiteri’s side.

Sliema beat Naxxar 5-1 in the first round.

Lija Athletic vs Mosta, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After giving Gzira a hard time despite losing 3-2, Lija Athletic will be aiming for a positive result as they take on Mosta. The won just one match in fourteen and are coming from three consecutive defeats as they lie at the bottom of the table with just five points. Mosta, on the other hand, lost narrowly to Valletta and are currently joint-ninth on 15 points.

Lija’s Daniel Scerri and Mosta’s Thomas Veronese are both ruled out through suspension. Mosta have new signings Jan Tanti, Giorgio Nardone and Wendel Alex dos Santos all available for selection while Kei Hirose could make his debut for Lija.

Mosta defeated Lija 3-1 in the first round.

Valletta vs Senglea Athletic, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Valletta seek maximum points from the clash with Senglea in their bid to keep the pace with the leaders or possibly take the top spot. The Citizens won six of the last nine matches and lie just one point behind Balzan. Senglea, on the other hand, registered back-to-back wins over Naxxar and Sliema and hope that a positive result from this game would put them further away from the danger zone.

Valletta could not count on the suspended Steve Borg while Raed Ibrahim Saleh is not expected to be available due to national team commitments with Oman. However they should have Dominican defender Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre and Estonian striker Albert Prosa making their debut. Randall Vella is ruled out for Senglea as he serves a one-match ban.

In the first round, Valletta defeated Senglea 1-0.