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Spartans eye redemption against Birkirkara in Super Cup final

Ħamrun Spartans forward Jonny (left) is challenged by Alex Satariano. Photo: Domenic Borg

Ħamrun Spartans have a score to settle with Birkirkara as the two rivals go head-to-head in the Super Cup final at the National Stadium (kick-off: 3pm).

This is the second time in the space of a week that these two teams are facing each other at the National Stadium and this week’s match finds both teams in a completely different mood to that of last Saturday’s Premier League encounter.

Birkirkara head into the match in a buoyant mood as last weekend they managed to put all their troubles behind them with a vibrant display which saw them completely outplay champions Ħamrun Spartans and race to a 3-0 win.

That success may have lifted the spirits at the Valley club but the same cannot be said of the Spartans. In fact, Saturday’s defeat has inevitably sparked a lot of criticism towards the team’s performance and the club’s top hierarchy has made it clear that they expect their players to make amends with victory in today’s Super Cup final.

Coach Luciano Zauri and his players have kept themselves away from the limelight this week, avoiding any comments in the media.

Instead, the club published a message from its CEO Marcel Bonnici who reiterated the message he sent to the players through an interview with the Times of Malta on Monday.

“Everyone knows about the horrible performance we had last weekend,” Bonnici said.

“Our next match is the Super Cup final, the first final for our club since Joseph Portelli took over as president. This is a golden opportunity that our players and the technical staff cannot miss. It’s an opportunity to show that what happened last weekend was just a one-off.

“We have the chance in the Super Cup final to do everything that is possible to bring this trophy back to the city of Ħamrun. Nothing less than this will be accepted by our club.

“To our club fans, I have very little to say as they do their job very well with the passion and loyalty that no other team in Malta has and for this I am grateful to them.”

31-year wait

No doubt, the Spartans are hellbent on securing victory today and ending a 31-year wait to win the crown.

The last time they won the Super Cup trophy was in 1992 when they had beaten neighbouring rivals Valletta 2-0.

On the other hand, Birkirkara have won the competition seven times, with their last success dating back to 2013 when they had the better of Hibernians 3-2.

On their part, Birkirkara are determined to keep up their momentum after their fine showing last weekend and coach Brian Chetcuti said that his players needed to produce a repeat performance if they are to win the match.

“This is a match that can be decided after 120 minutes and we have to be ready for any possible scenario,” Chetcuti told the Times of Malta.

“It’s important now that we remain consistent in the level of our performances if we are to stand a chance of winning the match. Last Saturday, we saw a Birkirkara team that had every player play for each other and are fighting for the club’s badge and towards the same aim and that has to continue on Friday.

“I have no doubt that Friday’s Super Cup final is going to be ten times more difficult than Saturday’s match as we are facing a team who are keen on taking revenge. For me, Ħamrun Spartans still start as clear favourites as they possess a far superior squad than ours.

“They boast of a squad of players built to compete in Europe and I’m sure that they will be determined to make amends for Saturday’s defeat. We clearly start as the underdogs and nobody is expecting us to win so all the pressure is on Ħamrun Spartans in my mind.”

Chetcuti said that the backing from the Birkirkara fans will be crucial this afternoon.

“Our fans have a special role to play on Friday as we need their support throughout the whole match,” Chetcuti said.

“I have no doubt that they will turn in high numbers to give us their support and they need to stay behind the team in both the good and bad times during the match. I believe they will be our 12th player on the pitch and their presence will be crucial for us to try and win this honour.”

LAST TEN FINALS

2022 Hibs vs Floriana 0-0
(Hibernians win 5-4 on pens)
2021 Not Held
2020 Not Held
2019 Valletta vs Balzan 2-1
2018 Valletta vs Balzan 2-1
2017 Hibernians vs Floriana 0-1
2016 Valletta vs Sliema W. 2-1
2015 Hibs vs Birkirkara 2-1
2014 Valletta vs Birkirkara 1-2
2013 Birkirkara vs Hibs 3-2

ALL-TIME WINNERS

13 Valletta
7 Birkirkara
5 Ħamrun Spartans
4 Hibernians
3 Sliema Wanderers
2 Rabat Ajax
Floriana

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