Valletta seek maximum points to extend lead

Leaders Valletta will be all out to claim the three points on Saturday as they take on Tarxien Rainbows in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme.

Precious points will also be at stake as Hamrun Spartans, Sliema Wanderers and Balzan maintain the challenge for fourth place.

In the first match at the Hibernians Stadium, kick-off at 16:00, Pietà Hotspurs take on neighbours Hamrun Spartans.

The Spartans seek a win from this derby after being held in draws by Senglea and Balzan to extend their positive run to five matches. Lying fourth on level points with Sliema, Hamrun cannot afford dropping any points from this clash, especially in view of their last league game which will be against Valletta.

The Hotspurs, on the other hand, are resigned to playing in Division 1 next season after losing thirteen out of the last fourteen matches, lying at the bottom of the table with 13 points.

Hamrun defeated Pietà 3-2 in the first round.

In the second match at the Hibernians Stadium, kick-off at 18:00, Balzan and Sliema Wanderers cross swords in a direct clash between two challengers for a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer.

Just two points separate the two teams as Sliema share fourth place with Hamrun with Balzan lying two points behind. Sliema lost just one out of the last ten matches but dropped points in five draws. Balzan, on the other hand, won two out of the last five matches. Both sides are coming from draws as Balzan held Hamrun in a 1-1 draw while Sliema were held in a goalless draw by Senglea

The Wanderers will be without the suspended Stefano Bianciardi.

Balzan defeated Sliema 3-1 in the first round.

Meanwhile in the first match at the National Stadium, kick-off at 16:00, Mosta take on Gzira United.

After securing a spot in the UEFA Europa League thanks to a narrow win over Floriana, Gzira will be hoping to extend their positive run to eight matches in this clash with Mosta. The Blues secured their status last week after a shock 2-1 win over Birkirkara extended their positive run.

Gzira’s Justin Mengolo and Mosta’s Dexter Xuereb are ruled out as they serve a one-match ban.

Gzira and Mosta shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw in the first round.

In the second match at the National Stadium, kick-off at 18:00, Valletta face Tarxien Rainbows.

The Citizens cannot afford any result other than a win after Qormi’s unexpected win over Hibernians left Gilbert Agius’ side two points clear. The Rainbows defeated Pietà 2-0 last week. A win thanks to which they secured their Premier League status.

Valletta defender Steve Borg is ruled out through suspension. Also ruled out for Tarxien are Siraj Arab Eddin and Matthew Tabone.

The Citizens had defeated Tarxien 7-0 in the first round.