Balzan, Birkirkara seek FA Trophy final spot

Balzan and Birkirkara will be aiming for a place in the FA Trophy final as the two teams cross swords in the first semi-final at the National Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 17:00.

This was definitely a disappointing season for the two clubs. After a most promising start in their UEFA Europa League commitments where they eliminated Kesla of Azerbaijan and lost 3-4 on aggregate to Slovan Bratislava after defeating them at Ta’ Qali, Balzan had a poor campaign in the BOV Premier League, finishing sixth. Throughout the season, Jacques Scerri replaced Marko Micovic as their coach.

Birkirkara, on the other hand, suffered an early exit from the Europa League after being eliminated by Klaksvik of the Faroe Islands. Their Premier League campaign was the worst in two decades as they finished sixth. They started the season under the leadership of coach Paul Zammit who was eventually replaced by John Arne Riise who also stepped down. Mark Buttigieg took over for a number of games before John Buttigieg was appointed as their new coach.

Balzan reached this stage after defeating Qrendi 5-1, Xewkija Tigers 6-1 and Tarxien Rainbows 2-0. Birkirkara, on the other hand, Nadur Youngsters 4-0 before defeating Premier League sides Hamrun Spartans and Mosta with an identical 2-1 score.

Birkirkara reached the FA Trophy final eleven times, winning the competition five times. Balzan, on the other hand made it to the final in 2016, losing to Sliema Wanderers on penalties in the final.

This season, Birkirkara defeated Balzan 1-0 in the first round of the BOV Premier League with the second round clash ending in a goalless draw.