All eyes will be on Birkirkara and Marsaxlokk on Sunday as the two teams cross swords in the final of the Izibet FA Trophy at the National Stadium, kick-off at 16:00.
Birkirkara ended their BOV Premier League campaign in the runner-up position to secure a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League while Marsaxlokk, after securing promotion from the Challenge League last season, managed to retain their Premier League status, placing eleventh with a comfortable cushion over the bottom three teams.
Birkirkara coach Giovanni Tedesco explained that at the beginning of the season, the club was courageous enough to change the staff, and a number of players in the beginning of the season and faced a lot of criticism. He added that few believed that Birkirara would end in second place and eventually be finalists in the second most important competition in Maltese football.
Marsaxlokk coach Pablo Doffo said this final provided the a perfect opportunity to showcase their work, adding that securing a place in the final was no easy task but now hope to make history by lifting the FA Trophy for the first time. He said that the secret behind Marsaxlokk’s success is the strength and unity of the team itself.
Birkirkara player and vice-captain Yannick Yankam explained that the team’s philosophy is to face the season one game at a time. When the performances and the results were coming, the team started to believe in themselves more. “Playing such a final is an opportunity for all of us players, and we urge the supporters to be behind the team and join us at the stadium.”
Marsaxlokk captain Peter Xuereb, explained that as a team, the the players always try to give their utmost and then the game can go eithers. He explained that the team and players believed from the start and after securing Premier League status, have reached another unexpected milestone.
Photos courtesy of Mark Zammit Cordina
For the Stripes, this will be the twelfth final. They reached their first final in 1973, losing to Gzira United 0-2 in a second replay; they lost 0-1 to Sliema Wanderers in 1990 and then for three years between 1999 and 2001 they reached the final but finished on the losing end – 0-1 after extra-time to Valletta in 1999; 1-4 to Sliema in 2000 and 0-3 to Valletta in 2001. Birkirkara won the competition for the first time in 2002, defeating Sliema 1-0 and once again the following season, defeating Sliema with an identical score. In 2005, Birkirkara defeated Msida 2-1 and in 2008, they defeated Hamrun 2-1. In 2015, the Stripes defeated Hibernians 2-0 to win their fifth FA Trophy. In 2018, they reached the final but lost 1-2 to Valletta.
Marsaxlokk, on the other hand, reached the final of the FA Trophy once – in 2004 – losing 0-2 to Sliema Wanderers.
This season, on their way to the final, Birkirkara beat Nadur Youngsters 4-0, Balzan 5-4 on penalties following a 2-2 draw, Hamrun Spartans 1-0 and Mosta 4-3.
Marsaxlokk defeated Zejtun Corinthians 5-0, Santa Lucia 2-0, Hibernians 1-0 and Gzira United 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the end of regular time and extra-time.
Meanwhile the Malta FA, in collaboration with the Police and the clubs, would like to communicate the following traffic arrangements for the IZIBET FA Trophy final between Birkirkara and Marsaxlokk at the National Stadium on Sunday 30th April 2023.
The game starts at 16:00 (4pm) whilst the gates will be opened at 14:00 (2pm).
The stand allocations for the IZIBET FA Trophy Final are as follows:
- Birkirkara – West A and Millennium F
- Marsaxlokk – West C
Tickets for West C (Marsaxlokk) and Millennium F (Birkirkara) can be purchased online from tickets.mfa.com.mt or from the ticket booths on match day.
Birkirkara supporters’ vehicles are to park in the West Parking. They are advised to make their way to the National Stadium from Mosta area.
Marsaxlokk supporters’ vehicles are to access the stadium either from Attard / Central Link or from the road next to the Military Cemetery and park in the Millennium stand Zone / BOV adventure park side.
The Malta FA urges the general public to following instructions given by the Police officers, stadium staff and security personnel.