Four out of the six matches in programme on Saturday and Sunday are derbies as Gzira United take on Sliema Wanderers, Floriana cross swords with Valletta, Mosta face Naxxar Lions and Hibernians take on Tarxien Rainbows. Four derbies which could leave an important mark on the race for the championship, that for a place in the UEFA Europa League and also for relegation.
St. Andrews meet Birkirkara and Balzan take on Senglea Athletic in the other two matches.
Photos: Copyright © Andrew Grima
St. Andrews vs Birkirkara on Saturday, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Lying third from bottom four points ahead of Naxxar and one behind Tarxien, St. Andrews are still entangled in the battle against relegation. However only a win would ensure that they would avoid the second place from bottom and then they would have all to play for in the direct clash with Tarxien Rainbows next week. After suffering three defeats in the previous four matches, St. Andrews returned to winning ways last week with a 2-1 win over bottom-placed Lija.
Birkirkara are currently fourth in the table, four points behind Gzira. The third place would be out of reach if Gzira win their clash against Sliema but the fourth place would still be enough for a place in Europe, unless they win the FA Trophy, should Valletta or Balzan emerge as winners on the May 5 final. The Stripes lost two out of the last three matches against Balzan and Hibs, defeating Tarxien in the other match.
In the first round, Birkirkara beat St. Andrews 2-0.
Gzira United vs Sliema Wanderers on Saturday, kick-off 18:00 at Hibernians Stadium
A win over neighbours Sliema would ensure Gzira United secure a historic place in the UEFA Europa League this summer. On the other hand, with a draw, they would have to beat Valletta in their final match next week. The Maroons are unbeaten in seven matches, defeating Mosta, Senglea and Naxxar in the last three matches.
The Wanderers are currently seventh on 40 points, two behind fifth-placed Floriana and Hibernians. They are unbeaten in five matches and are coming from a 2-2 draw with Floriana last week.
In the first round, Sliema defeated Gzira 2-1.
Floriana vs Valletta on Saturday, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
Floriana hope to spoil the party for eternal rivals Valletta as the Citizens seek a win to stay on top the BOV Premier League table. The Greens are currently fifth, two points behind Birkirkara and only stand a chance of making it to European football is by taking fourth place and either Valletta or Balzan win the FA Trophy. They are unbeaten in seven matches and are coming from a 2-2 draw with Sliema.
Valletta are unbeaten in eleven matches, beating Tarxien, Hibs, St. Andrews and Hamrun in their last four matches. Only a win will do as a draw would put them on level points with Balzan, should the latter beat Senglea.
In the first round, Valletta defeated Floriana 1-0.
Balzan vs Senglea Athletic on Saturday, kick-off 18:00 at National Stadium
After disappointing in a 1-3 defeat to Tarxien – a defeat which brought their impressive unbeaten run of twenty one matches to an end, Balzan will be all out to return to winning ways as they take on Senglea. Balzan can only hope they achieve maximum points from the clashes with Senglea and Hibernians and that Valletta lose one or at least drop points in draws.
Senglea defeated Mosta 5-2 last week and are now sure of retaining their Premier League status as they lie three points ahead of Mosta, five ahead of Tarxien and six ahead of Senglea.
In the first round, Balzan defeated Senglea 1-0.
Mosta vs Naxxar Lions on Sunday, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
A win is a must for for either side in this derby as Mosta are currently tenth and Naxxar thirteenth. Mosta lie on the 23-point mark, two ahead of Tarxien three ahead of St. Andrews and seven ahead of Naxxar.
The Blues are coming from five consecutive defeats but a win against Naxxar would secure their status as they would avoid the play-off spot. A draw would leave them at risk.
The Lions, on the other hand, have to win both this game and that against Senglea next week and hope that St. Andrews and Tarxien lose this week in order to take the play-off spot.
Naxxar defeated Mosta 2-0 in the first round.
Hibernians vs Tarxien Rainbows on Sunday, kick-off 18:00 at National Stadium
Following an impressive 3-1 win over Balzan, Tarxien’s morale is sky high and now seek another positive result in their bid to avoid relegation. They are currently one point ahead of St. Andrews and five ahead of Naxxar. With a win on Saturday, they would only need a draw from the direct clash with St. Andrews next week to secure their status.
Like Floriana, Hibernians are currently fifth, two points behind Birkirkara and only stand a chance of making it to European football is by taking fourth place and either Valletta or Balzan win the FA Trophy. They are coming from back-to-back wins over Lija and Birkirkara in their last two outings.
In the first round, Hibs defeated Tarxien 3-0.