A comeback victory against Hibernians helped Mġarr United bounce back from their narrow defeat against reigning champions Birkirkara in last week’s Assikura Women’s League fixture.
The Greens halted Hibernians’ perfect start, joining both them and Raiders Lija on six points albeit the latter have one game in hand.
Club captain Brenda Borg scored her fifth goal of the season to level Yolande Attard’s opener for Hibernians before a second-half brace from newly-signed Kelly Agius Pace and Abigail Camilleri handed the three points to the Greens.
Led by coach Michael Mangion, Mġarr are determined to be serious contenders for this year’s title having faded away in the second part of last year’s campaign, finishing third.
“The victory against Hibernians was very important for us because although we are still in the early stages of the league, it is important to keep track of the top positions,” Mangion told the Times of Malta.
“It was a tough encounter because Hibernians is a very competitive team and therefore it is a win that injects a morale boost in our environment especially ahead of another tricky test against Raiders Lija.”
Raiders Lija are at the back of two straight wins against Mtarfa and San Ġwann with nine goals scored.
Five of those goals were grabbed by summer signing Lexine Farrugia who scored a hat-trick in last week’s 5-1 win against San Ġwann.
“Against Raiders Lija, I am expecting another difficult tie like in almost any other game in this year’s campaign,” Mangion explained.
“This championship promises to be very tight and interesting because there are five strong teams that can beat each other during the season, therefore every point matters.”
Mġarr have scored 10 goals in three games so far. While captain Borg scored half of them, four of the other five were registered by two newcomers – Yulya Carella, who joined from San Ġwann and the aforementioned Agius Pace, who last season was on the books of Swieqi United.
Asked about the differences between last season’s team and this year’s squad, Mangion pointed out that they are slightly better technically especially going forward and that is a valuable detail for them if they want to mountain a serious challenge for the title.
Defending champions Birkirkara will return in action this week as they face old foes Hibernians.
Throughout the years, these two teams have produced some brilliant encounters as this fixture became a classic in the Maltese women’s game.
The two teams share a decorated roll of honour in the local game with Hibernians topping the all-time league winners with 12 titles while Birkirkara won a record 16 domestic cups.
They also share 12 Super Cups between them with Hibernians clinching the trophy on seven occasions while Birkirkara on five.
The Stripes start as favourites to pick up their second win of the season and extend their unbeaten run to 72 games in the league.
Jose Borg’s side has four points after their Swieqi United draw and the victory over Mġarr United.
Hibernians, on their part, will be wary of the difficulty of this tie but Keith Gouder’s side will be also determined to take something out of this game following their comeback loss at the hands of Mġarr.
The Paolites defeated Mtarfa and San Ġwann in their opening two games as they have scored 15 goals in three games so far.
Elsewhere, Swieqi United will be looking to resume where they left off last week after beating Mtarfa 15-0.
Judith Kuipers’ side will take on San Ġwann who are still looking for their first points of the season.
Jean Paul Attard’s team are at the back of 5-1 defeat against Raiders Lija, with their goal being scored by Martina Schembri – her first at senior level.
THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
Raiders Lija vs Mġarr United – Centenary Stadium, 20.00
Birkirkara vs Hibernians – Centenary Stadium, 20.00
Swieqi United vs San Ġwann – Mġarr Ground, 20.30
MD4 bye: Mtarfa.
Photo: Patrick Pace Photography.
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