Malta Football Association
NEWS:
U*BET FA TROPHY - Greens - Paolites clash provides the plum
Feb 24, 2012
Posted in:
General
Cups & Competitions

 

This season’s major knock-out in Maltese football, in recent years bearing the name U*BET FA Trophy, has captured the imagination of a much wider cross-section of football followers. With almost all clubs in Malta and Gozo entering the fray after the MFA introduced a new format on the more democratic lines adopted by the English FA, the competition has generated a new lease of life which had hitherto been limited mostly to the traditional big names of the local game.


 

 

 

Although the run by the so called smaller teams was not generally expected to last long, the draw in subsequent rounds presented the opportunity for these sides in the less glamorous divisions to pit their strength against the prime contenders for this second most important honour in Maltese football, this year in its 74th edition.

 

The line-up in the fourth round was a case in point as six out of the 16 teams in the draw came from the second and third tiers of the national league and one from the Gozo FA.

 

As was to be expected, most of the eight survivors now on the grid for a semi-final place are from the top division. They are Valletta, Hibernians, Floriana, the first three placed teams in the BOV Premier League, Qormi, Mosta and Hamrun Spartans, while Pieta Hotspurs and St George’s  hail from the First Division.

 

Of the two all-Premier League clashes the Floriana – Hibernians match on Saturday 25th February at 4.00 pm at the National Stadium Ta’ Qali, is by far the main attraction. The two sides have inscribed their name on the solid silver trophy 27 times, with the Greens having won the honour last season for the 19th time. While the draw has unfortunately deemed that one of these two teams will have to make an exit at this stage, the commitment of these giants of the local game will guarantee a high-octane duel which one augurs will be played in the best of sporting camaraderie.

 

In the other match between top teams Valletta, 12 times winners of this trophy, face Mosta, an outfit that cannot be taken lightly.  The match scheduled for a 4.00 pm kick-off at the Hibernians Stadium on Sunday 26th, will be preceded by the Hamrun – St George’s duel in which the Spartans, who have landed this honour six times, will try to put their opaque league performances behind them. The other tie to be played on Saturday is between Qormi and Pieta Hotspurs. The latter team together with St. George’s, both from the first division, will sense their chances of making more inroads in the competition.

 

All in all the four weekend matches should offer intense fare in consonance with the best traditions of an elite knock-out competition which had a romantic start in 1935 courtesy of the FA’s gesture when donating the famous trophy in recognition of the massive support for England by a group of Maltese when the English played Italy in Rome in 1933. 

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