10th programme over three days
●Sunday’s Birkirkara-Hibs clash is a must win for both sides ●Leaders Balzan face Tarxien R as Valletta take on St. Andrews ●Pembroke face Ħamrun in crucial match for bottom club
The 10th programme of the Premier League is being held over three days – between today and Sunday - with matches also returning to the National Stadium at Ta’ Qali after the re-seeding process for the surface. The programme starts today with the Floriana-Gzira and St Andrews-Valletta match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. Tomorrow, at the same venue, there will be the Hamrun-Pembroke clash and the Tarxien R.Balzan encounter. On Sunday football returns at Ta’ Qali where in the first match, the revived Sliema face Mosta while the in-form Birkirkara meet third placed Hibernians. It is another interesting programme, but the two most important clashes are the games between Birkirkara and Hibernians and the Tarxien-Balzan clash. In fact, the Birkirkara-Hibs clash is a ‘must win’ affair for both sides, if they are to maintain the pace with the leaders. This is because Balzan will start as hot favourites to beat Tarxien and collect another three points. Balzan quickly forgot all about the disastrous 0-3 defeat at the hands of Birkirkara and went on to beat Hamrun Spartans on Saturday to return to winning form and remain at the top. Oliver Spiteri’s side starts as favourite, but they cannot ignore Tarxien who made Valletta struggle to obtain all the three points the past weekend. The in-form Birkirkara must also start as favourites against the inconsistent Hibernians side. The Stripes scored no fewer than 10 goals in their last two outings and showed their best form so far this season as they collected six points from 3-0 and 7-1 wins against Balzan and Gzira respectively. Besek’s side is certainly the team of the moment, but the Paolites could offer a lot more resistance on their day. Hibernians have been struggling to find their true form and it had to be a solitary goal to enable them to win all the three points against lowly St Andrews. Of course, they will have to be at their very best to outsmart the Stripes on Sunday. One team which has moved up the standings rapidly is Sliema Wanderers. They did this by registering five successive wins which have catapulted them from 10th to 5th placing. On Sunday they seem to have another good chance of registering a 6th win as they face a struggling Mosta side for whom nothing seems to be going right this season. The Blues have collected just
Victor Tedesco Stadium 6.00pm Floriana - Gżira U. 8.15pm St Andrews - Valletta
Victor Tedesco Stadium 3.00pm Ħamrun S.-Pembroke Ath. 5.15pm Tarxien R.-Balzan.
Ta’ Qali National Stadium 3.00pm Sliema W. - Mosta 5.15pm Birkirkara - Hibernians
Balzan Birkirkara Valletta Hibernians Sliema Floriana Hamrun Tarxien St. Andrews Gzira Mosta Pembroke 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 7 6 5 5 5 4 3 2 3 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 0 2 2 3 0 3 1 1 1 19 10 22 2 25 7 19 2 15 10 17 2 11 8 17 4 12 10 15 3 10 8 14 4 16 16 11 4 813 9 6 10 16 9 4 11 18 9 6 917 7 7 922 4
seven points from a possible 27 and are occupying 11th place in the 12-team standings. Floriana, who returned to winning form at the weekend by beating Mosta narrowly, now face a demoralised Gzira side which is still shocked after suffering a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Birkirkara. The final match on the programme is that being played tomorrow between Hamrun and Pembroke. I consider it as a very crucial game for bottom club Pembroke who must start winning points to gain confidence and also to get close to the teams above them. For the Spartans is a good occasion to get back on the winning track following their 1-3 defeat at the hands of Balzan.
Birkirkara’s Vito Plut and Hibernians defener Andrei Agius are set to battle against each other this Sunday