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Hibs, Floriana eye the Super Cup trophy

Floriana’s Jan Busuttil (left) and Jake Grech, of Hibs, pose with the Super Cup trophy. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

The first honour of the 2022-23 season will be awarded on Thursday as champions Hibernians and FA Trophy winners Floriana will face each other in the BOV Super Cup final (kick-off: 4pm).

This year’s final has a major novelty as this showpiece has made the trip onto the Sister Island and will be played for the first time at the Gozo Stadium.

It is interesting to note that the Super Cup final is making a return to the domestic calendar after an absence of two years due to COVID-19 as this trophy was not contested since 2019 when on that year it was Valletta who lifted the trophy when they beat Balzan 2-1.

Hibernians and Floriana are looking into today’s final as a perfect opportunity to give their season a major boost.

The Paolites head into the contest in fine fettle. Andrea Pisanu’s team have been in rude health during the past few weeks as back-to-back league wins over Sirens and Pietà Hotspurs has seen them move to second place in the Premier League standings.

Coach Pisanu is expecting a balanced final between two very competitive sides.

“We are really looking forward for this final which will see us face a very competitive Floriana side,” Pisanu told the Times of Malta.

“Floriana have been playing well lately while I have also been pleased with the consistency shown by my players so I’m expecting a very tight encounter with two teams who could adopt different strategies.

“It’s up to us to approach the match with great caution and commit the least number of mistakes.

“Obviously there is a bit of tension in the group but that is normal before a final. But what I want for my players is that they give everything they have on the pitch and try to win the match till the final second – that is the spirit that I want to see.”

Pisanu said that the MFA’s decision to host the match in Gozo is an opportunity to further boost the image of Maltese football.

“We are expecting a very big crowd for this match and my hope that it will be a great day of sport for everyone involved,” Pisanu said.

“The fact that we are playing here in Gozo makes it even more special and our goal is quite clear, to try and win this match as it’s a prestigious trophy and it would surely be a good injection of confidence for the rest of the season.”

On the other hand, Gianluca Atzori, the Floriana coach, is bracing himself for a very difficult test against the Malta champions.

“It’s clear that Hibernians start as favourites for this match but we are ready to fight till the last second to try and take the Super Cup back home with us,” the Italian coach said.

“Unfortunately, our squad has been weakened when compared to last season while Hibernians continue to boast a very strong roster. I think the Super Cup final should be played at the end of the season and not six months later so that the players that fought to earn a spot for it would have the chance to play for it.

“But that is how the rules are here and we need to respect them.

“Looking at my team, I have been encouraged by the progress shown in the last few weeks as we are slowly climbing the standings, with three wins and a draw and hopefully we can carry this momentum into this match.

“It’s clear that our biggest frailty at the moment is our failure to take the scoring chances that we are creating and surely we can’t afford to do that against Hibs or else they will surely punish us.”

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