After the BOV Premier League 2018/19 kicked-off on Friday, the remaining eight teams will be in action on Saturday in the four matches scheduled at the National Stadium and the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
In the first match at the National Stadium, kick-off at 18:30, Hamrun Spartans take on Floriana.
Former Floriana coach Giovanni Tedesco took over as the new coach of Hamrun Spartans and this summer there was a complete overhaul of the squad with no less than nineteen new players joining the club namely Enrico Pepe, Antonio Monticelli, Sebastian Nayar, Massimo Ganci, Caetano Prósperi Calil, Kevin Tulimieri, Gaetano Gallina, Francesco Marra, Njongo Lobe Priso Doding, Jorge Nicolás Pandiani Quaglia, Samuele Romeo, Carlos Hernan Henneberg, Orestis Nikolopoulos, Pietro Viggiani, Conor Borg, Matthew Gauci, Ryan Darmanin and goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo. The Spartans are aiming high but it will definitely take Tedesco some time to find the right selection of players.
Under the guidance of Nicolas Chiesa, Floriana will be hoping to secure at least a place in European football at the end of the season. This summer, the Greens signed Clayton Failla, Terence Vella, Palestinian central defender Mohammed Saleh, Slovenian midfielder Ivica Guberac, Bosnian attacking midfielder Goran Galešić and Liberian striker Patrick Wleh.
In the second match, kick-off at 20:30, Sliema Wanderers take on champions Valletta.
After failing to impress last season, the Wanderers will be all out to be among the teams challenging for honours. Once again led by John Buttigieg, the Blues have been strengthened with the signing of a number of experienced players like Claudio Pani, Ryan Fenech and Jean Paul Farrugia, Under-21 international goalkeeper Jake Galea, Stefan Cassar and Younes Bnou Marzouk.
Valletta, on the other hand, made minimal changes from last season’s squad, signing Mario Fontanella and Bogdan Gavrila. The Citizens still remain the team to beat as they target a second successive championship.
Meanwhile in the first match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, kick-off at 18:30, Mosta take on St. Andrews.
The Blues welcome back Enrico Piccioni as their coach. They strengthened their squad with the signing of James Brincat, Kurt Zammit, Brazilian defender/midfielder Romeu Péricles Romão, Nigerian defender Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Mexican midfielder Misael Miranda Gomez, Japanese midfielder Kei Hirose and Brazilian strikers Johnny Dias and Renan Abner Do Carmo De Oliveira and young Italian striker Matteo Gallo. Their main objective should be that of securing a comfortable mid-table position as early as possible.
The Saints, on the other hand, have former Mosta coach Johann Scicluna in their technical staff along with player-coach Joseph Farrugia. This summer they signed Kurt Magro and Karl Pulo, Matthew Woo Ling, Kevyn McFarlane, Amoy Christopher Brown, Zvezdan Vukovic and Jourdain Feltcher. Retaining their Premier League status for a third year in a row is the main target for St. Andrews.
In the second match, kick-off at 20:45, Tarxien Rainbows face Gzira United.
After escaping relegation on the final match-day, Tarxien will be hoping for a more positive season. Jose Borg’s side was strengthened with the signing of Radu Rogac, Jens Wemmer, Marco Botta, Anderson Francisco de Barros, Michele Paolucci, Jacson da Paixao Neponuceno, goalkeeper Giorgio Nardone, Daniel Zerafa, Dario Arran Zampa and Miguel Ciantar.
The Maroons, on the other hand, signed just three new players – Thomas Veronese, Rodolfo Soares and Jorge da Silva Pereira. After making their return to European football after an absence of forty five years, their next objective will be that of landing a major honour.