The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

BOV Premier League: Santa Lucia’s fabulous run may continue as they meet fellow newcomers Sirens

Henry Brincat Friday, 27 September 2019, 13:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

The Bank of Valletta Premier League resumes this weekend with the 5th round matches between today and Sunday.

The big surprise so far has been Premier newcomers Santa Lucia, who up till now have registered two wins and two draws that have given them a very precious eight points apart from being joint leaders with Hamrun Spartans and Floriana.

In this round, the Saints will be facing other newcomers to the Premier League Sirens tomorrow, and it is obvious that the Saints are looking forward to extend their fabulous run.

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The other joint leaders will also be in action tomorrow with Hamrun facing Senglea and Floriana taking on Gudja United.

The big clashes this weekend are the Birkirkara-Valletta and Gzira-Balzan games. The former is being played tomorrow while the other is to be played on Sunday. The programme opens today with the Tarxien-Sliema encounter. On Sunday, the first match on the programme is the clash between Mosta and Hibernians.

With the way the competition is evolving, it seems obvious that we will be having interesting clashes week in week out.

Santa Lucia take pride of place as they form part of a trio of (joint) leaders.

It is quite pleasant and healthy for Maltese football to see such a side doing so well in their first season ever in the elite division.

Oliver Spiteri's side is playing with great confidence, especially after having defeated none other than champions Valletta in the first encounter.

Now they will be facing fellow newcomers Sirens, who also started the season on a top note only to crash to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Hamrun Spartans last Saturday.

They will now try their best to inflict a first defeat on the Saints, but Steve D'Amato and his boys must be aware that it will not be an easy task.

Hamrun Spartans seem to be improving with every game they are playing. This was confirmed last week as they overwhelmed Sirens to the tune of 4-0 with a sound performance that should provide food for thought to all other title contenders.

They now face Senglea and this should be a tough game for the Spartans as the Athletic have also had a relatively good start to the season.

In fact, they have collected a useful seven points which should serve them in good stead in future.

Floriana failed to return to the sole leadership after being held to a draw by Gzira on Sunday.

But the Greens should be considered favourites to beat the other Premier newcomers Gudja United.

However, the latter will certainly not be throwing in the towel so easily. So far they are unbeaten having collected four points from four draws, but in their last match against Sliema, they showed that they can be tough opponents to any side.

 

BIG MATCHES

The Birkirkara-Valletta clash could be a real thriller despite the current situation of both clubs, especially Birkirkara.

The Stripes started the season disastrously and after four matches, they are still searching for their first win, having collected only two points after two defeats in their opening matches.

The side is still struggling to get points and against Valletta they will have to be at their very best to overcome their current confidence crisis.

And that's not going to be easy. Far from it. The champions seem to have recovered their opening day's shock defeat at the hands of Santa Lucia.

Their draw against Floriana and the win against Balzan confirmed their improvement.

The Gzira-Balzan match should also be a keenly contested clash.

Until last season, these two teams would have been occupying a higher place in the standings. But at present, they are occupying lowly 10th and 11th placings with just four points.

Both will be eager to win all the three points, especially Gzira who are still searching for their first win of the season. Moreover, Gzira must start scoring the goals that matter to be able to hope for a better future. So far, they have scored just one goal in four matches.

Balzan have disappointed their followers so far this season. After a good start with a win against Sliema, they figured in three other matches in which they only collected one point.

Sliema is another team lurking near the bottom of the standings. Like Birkirkara, they have just two points from four matches and are also still searching for their first win of the season.

Today, they seem to have a good chance to register a victory as they meet bottom side Tarxien Rainbows.

The latter have been somewhat unimpressive so far, even if they showed improvement in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Santa Lucia.

In the other matches, the improving Mosta side could prove to be a tough obstacle for Hibernians, if they show the same form which simply rattled Birkirkara the past weekend, even if at the end, they had to be content with just one point.

But Hibernians seem to have recovered that highly unexpected defeat at the hands of Sirens in match day 3.

The Paolites must be considered favourites to win the three points and keep marching towards the upper places in the table.

 

Full programme

Today

 

Centenary Stadium

Bank of Valletta Premier League

7pm Tarxien R.-Sliema W.

 

Victor Tedesco Stadium

Bank of Valletta first division

6pm Pieta H.-Lija Ath.

8.15pm Fgura-Qrendi

 

Tomorrow

 

Centenary Stadium

Bank of Valletta Premier League

3pm Gudja U.-Floriana

5.15pm Sirens-Sta. Lucia

National Stadium

Bank of Valletta Premier League

3pm Birkirkara-Valletta

5pm Senglea-Hamrun S.

 

Victor Tedesco Stadium

Bank of Valletta first division

3pm Swieqi U.-St Andrews

5.15pm Naxxar L.-Zebbug R.

 

Sunday

National Stadium

Bank of Valletta Premier League

3pm Mosta-Hibernians

5pm Gzira U.-Balzan

 

Centenary Stadium

Bank of Valletta first division

2pm Vittoriosa S.-Mqabba

4.15pm St George's-Pembroke

6.30pm Zejtun C.-Qormi

 

Sta Lucia Ground

IASC first division

8.30am Burmarrad AFC-Msida RS

9.45am Hamrun L.-Mgarr F.

11am B'Buga T.-Senglea Y.

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