Birkirkara are one point away from securing their 11th Assikura Women’s League title as they return to action this week following the April’s international window.
During the national team break, Manuela Tesse’s Malta secured a straight victory under the Italian’s guidance after beating Estonia 2-1, thanks to a stoppage-time stunner by Durham Women’s Maria Farrugia.
The national team’s squad had several Birkirkara representatives who will now turn their attentions on the domestic league where the Stripes will face Raiders Lija in this week’s game.
Jose Borg’s Birkirkara lead the table with 44 points after 16 points and at least a draw would be enough to see them lift their fifth consecutive league.
Although Birkirkara were tipped as favourites to retain their title, Swieqi United’s transfer activity put the Owls as the main antagonists to threaten the Stripes.
Nonetheless, an experienced Birkirkara side managed to fend off the Owls as they picked up two wins and a draw in their three league fixtures against them and are now on a run of 85 unbeaten games in the top-flight.
Birkirkara have the second best offensive record with 69 goals, six goals less than Swieqi while they share the defensive record of just four goals conceded – only one against the Owls.
The arrival of Brisa Campos during the winter transfer window managed to bolster Birkirkara’s attacking department with the Argentine already scoring 11 goals, topping the club’s scoring charts – just one above rising star Sara Saliba.
Meanwhile, Raiders Lija – together with Swieqi – is the only team who have managed to hold Birkirkara to at least a draw following their 1-1 stalemate in the first round.
However, Denis Guerra’s side failed to build on that positive result as they sit fifth with 22 points having registered seven wins and eight defeats, four adrift of Mġarr United (with a game in hand) and distant six points from third-place Hibernians.
The Paolites, on their part, take on Swieqi with the Owls eyeing a 13th league win while Hibernians are still embroiled in a fight with Mġarr for a third-place finish.
Led by Judith Kuipers, the Owls will be without the services of league’s top scorer Jade Flask who has ruptured her ACL in their league game against Mġarr, having also scored in that match.
On the other hand, Hibernians are at the back of a comfortable win over Raiders Lija and with 28 points after 17 games (including nine wins), they can be pleased with their production in their return season after an absence of over two years.
In the other game of the week, Mtarfa and Mġarr United will play the second round fixture before they meet again in just a week’s time to complete their third-round matchup.
THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
TUESDAY, APRIL 18
Swieqi United vs Hibernians – Centenary Stadium, 8.30pm.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19
Birkirkara vs Raiders Lija – Centenary Stadium, 8pm.
*Mtarfa vs Mġarr United – Mġarr Ground, 8.30pm.
*MD14’s fixture to replace MD20’s Mtarfa vs San Ġwann.
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