Malta Football Association
Hibernians hope to close in on 12th league crown
Apr 21, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League

With Hibernians enjoying a five- and six-point lead over Balzan and Valletta respectively and three matches remaining till the end of the 2016-17 BOV Premier League campaign, few would bet against the Paolites not landing their 12th title of Malta champions. They need five points out of a possible nine to finish off the job.

However, their coach Mark Miller is aware of pitfalls that might stand in the way of his team as they venture to negotiate their last hurdles in the shape of Birkirkara, St Andrews and Tarxien Rainbows.


Their game against the Yellow/Reds on Sunday at the National Stadium Ta’ Qali could well be a tricky test as Birkirkara are pushing for third place, four lengths behind Valletta.


As a consequence motivation from both sides should help towards a fire-cracking match with no quarter given from both contestants.


Mental concentration and unwavering application on the day are needed as the Paolites and the Stripes prepare to do sporting battle and honour the game in front of what is expected to be a sizeable crowd.


Hibernians maintained their title charge last weekend with a 2-0 defeat of Gżira United, courtesy of goals from Jorginho and Gilmar, while Birkirkara were involved in a thrilling 3-3 draw against rivals Valletta.


In the other matches involving the other top teams, Balzan and Valletta look forward to keeping their residual hopes for a final fling at the league title alive.


Balzan’s opponents on Saturday are Tarxien (kick-off 4pm) while last year’s champions, Valletta, face St Andrews. Both the Rainbows and the Saints will be playing for prestige, a factor which should help them adopt a tension-free approach.


Both Balzan and Valletta will not be at full strength.


Midfielder Ryan Fenech and Brazilian defender Bruno Giglio De Oliveira are suspended for Balzan after both saw red in the 2-1 victory over St Andrews while Valletta are still missing defender Steve Borg who has yet to complete a four-match ban.


Tarxien Rainbows, who drew 1-1 against Pembroke Athleta, are hampered by the absence of forwards Alex Nilsson and Julian Galea, both suspended.


For their part, St Andrews can’t rely on defender Michael Johnson, suspended.




In the other matches, Floriana play Gżira United on Saturday at the Victor Tedesco Stadium (4pm) while Ħamrun Spartans face relegated Pembroke in the subsequent match.


The Greens, still smarting from their 3-0 defeat to Sliema Wanderers on Monday, must make do without Ryan Camenzuli, suspended, while Gżira have lost striker Renè Louis Zome who was handed a three-match ban in midweek.


Ħamrun, under pressure to put an end to a poor run of results, will be without two players for their clash with bottom side Pembroke after Sergio Raphael and Igor Misan received a one-match ban.


Pembroke will be without Iraklis Roppas.


The Sliema Wanderers-Mosta encounter presents the latter team with the possibility of a third win on the trot, albeit the Blues suffered a blow on Friday with the news that they have been deducted five points for breaching the MFA regulations on the status and transfer of players. Mosta can appeal against the decision.


Midfielder Peter Xuereb is suspended for Sliema following his red card in the 3-0 win over Floriana.


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