Photos: Copyright © Andrew Grima

Valletta target second consecutive double as Balzan chase first major honour

The second most important honour of domestic football will be at stake as champions Valletta and Balzan cross swords in the final of the FA Trophy at the National Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 17:00.

Winning the FA Trophy is of utmost importance for both clubs. Valletta chase a hat-trick of honours this season after winning the BOV Super Cup and the BOV Premier League which would also enable them to win a second consecutive double. Valletta target the fifteenth FA Trophy in the history of the club after winning the competition fourteen times, being on the losing end another thirteen times.

Balzan, on the other hand, chase their first major honour in the history of the club after two runner-up finishes in 2016/17 and 2017/18, reaching the FA Trophy final in 2016 but losing to Sliema and losing the Super Cup to Valletta earlier this season.

Comparing with recent years, this season’s Premier League campaign was definitely not a one to remember as they finished sixth, fifteen points behind the two joint-leaders. However Balzan coach Jacques Scerri, who replaced Marko Micovic mid-way through the season, hopes to lead the ambitious club to their first major cup win.

Valletta and Balzan met three times this season with the Citizens emerging as winners three times this season. Following a comfortable 4-1 win in the first round, Valletta defeated Balzan 2-1 in the BOV Super Cup before going on to beat them once again with a 2-1 score in the second round of the BOV Premier League.

Interested spectators in the final will be Hamrun Spartans as an FA Trophy win for Valletta would hand them a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer since they finished fourth and the Citizens have already secured a place in the UEFA Champions League.

The final will be controlled by referee Mario Apap, assisted by William Debattista and Paul Apap with Emanuel Grech as fourth official.

Meanwhile the Malta Football Association, in collaboration with the Police, would like to communicate the following traffic and crowd management arrangements for the 2018/19 FA Trophy final match between Balzan and Valletta.

Gates open at 15.00 (3 p.m.) and the stand allocations are as follows:

Balzan – West A
Valletta – West C & Millennium D
Nursery and Family Stand – Millennium F

All the tickets for the West C sector (Valletta side) have been sold by the club. In view of this, only fans in possession of a valid match ticket, Orange Card holders and Valletta Season Ticket holders will be granted access to the West C sector on match-day.

There will be no sale of tickets for the Millennium E sector (Trophies Lounge). Tickets for the other sectors (West A and Millennium D and F) will be available for sale from the stadium ticket booths on match-day.

Fans are encouraged to arrive at the National Stadium early on match-day. Gates open two hours before kick-off.

On Saturday, the National Stadium ring road will be closed from 8 a.m.

The road leading from the BOV Adventure Park to the MFCC roundabout and the one from the Mtarfa Cemetery towards the Basketball Pavilion will be closed for inbound traffic from 13.00.

Supporters heading to the National Stadium through the Mosta area (Durumblat) are to park their vehicles in the West Stand car park (Enclosure) and the adjacent road leading to Durumblat Street.

Fans taking the Attard route, via Pitkali Road and on to the BOV Adventure Park and the MFCC/Millennium Stand zone, are encouraged to park their vehicles in the Millennium Stand area.

Coaches carrying Valletta fans are to pass through Attard and have allocated parking behind the South Stand, facing the MFA Gym so as to exit from the Żebbuġ area. Coaches carrying Balzan supporters have allocated parking behind the North Stand, facing the Malta FA Training Grounds.

The Malta FA urges the general public to follow the instructions given by the stadium staff, security personnel and police officers on match-day.