Valletta seek derby win to extend lead

Leaders Valletta could move four points clear if they beat eternal rivals Floriana in the derby in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium on Sunday, kick-off at 16:00.

Valletta registered wins over Balzan, Pietà and Mosta in their last three outings while Hibernians were held in three draws by Hamrun, Sliema and Mosta. Therefore the Paolites lost their two-point lead and now could end up trailing by four points in case of a win for the Citizens.

The season for Floriana has been far from impressive as they are currently seventh on 25 points, half the points obtained by Valletta. They won just two matches out of the last eight. However, a clash with Valletta is always the right time to bounce back and the Greens will be all out to upset their neighbours.

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

Meanwhile in the first match, kick-off at 14:00, Sliema Wanderers take on Birkirkara.

Lying fifth, two points behind Hamrun Spartans and two ahead of Balzan and Birkirkara, the Wanderers target maximum points from this clash in order to move back in fourth place as they chase a place in the UEFA Europa League after an absence of four years. Stefano Maccoppi’s side is unbeaten in seven matches, winning three out of the last four matches and holding Hibernians in a draw.

Birkirkara, on the other hand, went through some turbulence after being condemned to pay their former coach Paul Zammit €123,000 and then having sporting director John Arne Riise, who had effectively replaced Zammit, handing his resignation. Mark Buttigieg has now assumed full responsibility as Head Coach. After losing to Hamrun in their last outing, the Stripes will be aiming for a positive result to maintain the pressure for fourth place.

For Sunday’s game, Buttigieg could not count on the suspended Terence Agius.

In the first round, Birkirkara defeated Sliema 2-0.