Win, draw, defeat for Melita after three matches in eight days
Catching up with the local league schedule after a round of international fixtures always brings about physical and mental challenges and in the BOV Challenge League, clubs made up for the international break with three matches in the space of a week.
In the case of Melita FC, who currently stand in sixth place in the Maltese second tier, a 3-3 draw to Marsa FC, a 2-0 victory against Zurrieq FC, and a 4-0 defeat to Zabbar St Patrick saw them finish their week with an added four points to their tally.
Speaking to the Times of Malta after the three matches, Melita coach Clive Mizzi believes it was a challenge for every team to stay consistent.
“It was challenging for every team to play the matches in such a short period,” Mizzi said.
“I believe that for our level and the minors level which come part and parcel, it doesn’t really make sense but it’s no excuse to be inconsistent. But it’s also true that physically and psychologically it affects the games and it depends on the result you achieve in the first game, so you have to be well prepared.”
Against Marsa, the Amateurs could have started the run with a win but conceded twice in the final ten minutes of the game to finish at par. This served as motivation, Mizzi claims, for his side to go on and beat then-first-placed side Zurrieq in their next outing.
“Against Marsa, we were very close to getting all three points but unfortunately we failed to do so in the final moments,” Mizzi said, “It was a match against a tough team – Marsa will be one of those teams to challenge, I’m sure.
“Losing those two points, we went into the Zurrieq game more motivated and determined. Even though it was a midweek game, we rose up to the occasion and brought home the most important thing – the three points – and had a good performance as well.”
Zabbar, led by coach Emilio Cornago – a part of the Melita squad and coaching staff a few years back, are currently in first place after their win against Melita. Mizzi believes it was deserved but said it was also a case of wrong approach from his side.
“After Zurrieq there was a bit of excessive euphoria and without taking away any of the merit which fully goes to Zabbar because they deserved to win, our approach was not good enough and the players know this,” Mizzi explained.
Six games into the season, the league appears to be taking shape and with the division into the Top Six and Relegation Pool to be determined midway through the season, every club has had to showcase its strengths as early as possible. This has made the margin of error so small that even teams relegated from the Premier League are finding things as difficult as the rest.
“Despite the many discussions about the league format with 16 teams that get divided into two with 10 teams fighting for relegation, I think the race to get into the Top Six is helping teams believe they should try harder,” the former Mqabba and Zebbug Rangers coach said.
“Apart from some teams which are in a difficult spot right now, the majority are fighting to stay in contention because it’s a very close league – your next game may be the most important one so the wrong mentality can cause you problems.”
After the club’s reunion with Cornago, Melita’s next fixture pits them against former coach Edmond Lufi and Luqa St Andrews this weekend.
Luqa currently occupy the eighth position in the standings with nine points after consecutive 2-2 draws against ninth- and tenth-place Swieqi United and Senglea Athletic this past week.
Asked about what he would expect from Luqa, Mizzi called them the ‘trickiest team’ in the Challenge League.
“Luqa are a side that is comfortable scoring against any team they face,” he said.
“They have attackers who are really good. Obviously, they have their strengths and weaknesses as do we but I see them as the trickiest team in the league. They have that potential to score against anyone but then conceding goals is a different story.
“We’re coming from a match that has maybe demoralised us a bit but we’re working on it to be ready as fast as we can.
“It’s going to be a tough game and I hope that my team will be up for the occasion like we were against Zurrieq.”
Melita vs Zurrieq 2-0
Swieqi United vs Zabbar St Patrick 1-0
Fgura United vs Marsa 1-2
Zebbug Rangers vs Tarxien Rainbows 0-0
Senglea Athletic vs Luqa St Andrew’s 2-2
Lija Athletic vs Msida St Joseph 3-2
Attard vs Pieta’ Hotspurs 2-1
Zejtun Corinthians vs St. Andrews 1-0
Zurrieq vs Fgura United 1-4
Zabbar St Patrick vs Melita 4-0
Marsa vs Lija Athletic 3-0
Luqa St Andrew’s vs Swieqi United 2-2
Msida St Joseph vs Attard 2-1
Pieta’ Hotspurs vs Zebbug Rangers 2-0
Tarxien Rainbows vs Zejtun Corinthians 0-0
St. Andrews vs Senglea Athletic 0-1
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