A make-or-break moment for the title race awaits in this week’s fixtures from the Assikura Women’s League.
Pacesetters Birkirkara and title rivals Swieqi United are set to rub shoulders for the third time in this campaign, in a match which can serve as a potential sliding doors for the championship ambitions of both teams.
Birkirkara, the current league holders, are on a quest for an 11th domestic title while looking to extend their unbeaten run in the domestic championship – right now they have not lost in 80 games, a new record.
Led by experienced coach Jose Borg, the Stripes have recorded 10 wins and two draws in their 12 outings, leading the standings on 32 points.
With 47 goals, they have second-best offensive record which has now been buoyed by the arrival of Argentine forward Brisa Campos.
The former Huracan player has already found the net on seven occasions since joining in January and Birkirkara will be relying on her goals to propel them towards another successful outcome of the season.
Swieqi, on their part, will be resting their hopes on Jade Flask’s shoulders.
The Malta international is in a red-hot form with 16 goals, topping the league’s scoring charts.
She is also at the back of a goal with her country in the 3-1 victory against Luxembourg.
The 2022/2023 campaign has been an astonishing one for Flask, who we are usually accustomed to see as left-back or a left-winger, rather than in the number 9 role.
The Owls, under the guidance of Dutch coach Judith Kuipers, boast the best attacking record with 54 goals.
Both teams have strong defensive numbers with Birkirkara conceding just twice, including a goal against Swieqi while the latter shipped just three goals – two of them against the Stripes.
Swieqi’s strong defensive statistics are also down to the saves of goalkeeper Cynthia Konlan, who during the February international window was capped by the Ghana women’s national team in a friendly against Benin.
In the previous two encounters, Birkirkara and Swieqi shared the spoils in the opening matchup before the Stripes won narrowly in the other game.
The two have also contested this season’s Super Cup final with the Stripes triumphing, back in December.
Elsewhere, Hibernians and Mġarr United will be looking to start the final round of games with a victory as they face Mtarfa and San Ġwann respectively.
Both the Paolites and the Greens are in contention for a third place finish, together with Raiders Lija.
Keith Gouder’s Hibernians sit third on 19 points – two above Mġarr but having played an extra game.
The Paolites will welcome back forward Alexis Espitia who was recently with the El Salvador women’s national team for a training camp.
Meanwhile, Mtarfa and San Ġwann have recorded just three points each, having won against each other in the two direct encounters this season.
THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
Mtarfa vs Hibernians – Centenary Stadium, 20.00
Swieqi United vs Birkirkara – Centenary Stadium, 20.00
San Ġwann vs Mġarr United – Mġarr Ground, 20.30
MD15 bye: Raiders Lija.
Photo: Michael Azzopardi/Swieqi United FC.
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