Gżira United will be bidding to end a 50-year wait and reach the Izibet FA Trophy final for the first time after 50 years when they face Marsalokk in the opening semi-final at the National Stadium (kick-off: 7pm).
The Maroons head into the match in high spirits after they sealed third place in the BOV Premier League last weekend by crushing Żebbuġ Rangers 4-0 – a win which assures them of qualification to European football next summer.
However, on Tuesday, Gżira will look to attain something bigger as they bid to reach the FA Trophy final for only the second time in their club history as they bid to win the competition for the second time in their history.
Fifty years have passed since Gżira United beat Birkirkara in a replay to lift the trophy in 1970 and Darren Abdilla said that it’s about time that his team finally reaches the competition final.
“We are only two matches away from winning the FA Trophy and we have to go for it,” Abdilla told the Times of
“I have no doubt that from the four teams that remain in the competition, Marsaxlokk and Mosta are the two teams that have the bigger motivation to go all the way as they still have to secure a place in the UEFA club competitions.
“Marsaxlokk is a team that is hard to play against. They are in their first year back in the Premier League but they surely have passed the test with flying colours. Marsaxlokk are led by a fantastic technical staff and boast a deep squad. Time and again this season, they have made life difficult for all the top teams in the division so we need to be careful.
“Added to that, in cup ties, the form book is thrown out of the window and it all depends on how one performs on the day. So, it’s up to us.”
The Maroons will be without winger Marcelo Dias who must serve a one-match ban.
On his part, Pablo Doffo, the Marsaxlokk coach, said that his team is chasing a dream of trying to win the FA Trophy but said that in football nothing is impossible.
“For us winning the FA Trophy is our dream,” Doffo, who led his team to a famous win over the more-quoted Hibernians in the previous round, told the Times of Malta.
“We are aware how difficult it is as from the four teams in the semi-finals we are definitely the underdogs. But in football nothing is impossible. I am very happy with the performance of my players throughout the season.
“It is not easy for a team to come from the Challenge League and perform how we did in the top flight. But we are determined to keep playing with a positive frame of mind till the end and our goal is to be tactically disciplined and play how we know.
“I am fully aware of the great potential that Gżira United have. They have a very good team and are led by a fantastic technical staff. They are strong in all departments, particularly in attack where Jefferson is in hot form.
“So, we need to be focused and make sure that we play at the top of our game.”
Marsaxlokk vs Gżira 19.00
Birkirkara vs Mosta 19.00
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