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Birkirkara and Swieqi United face off in women’s Super Cup final

Swieqi and Birkirkara face off in the Super Cup final. Photo: Jonathan Sajeba

Following the heroics of the Malta national team in the UEFA Nations League, local women’s football will take centre stage again on Wednesday when Birkirkara and Swieqi will contend the first silverware of the season – the Assikura Women’s Super Cup (kick-off: 3pm).

These two teams carry contrasting ambitions as Birkirkara will be looking to join Hibernians with a record seventh title while Swieqi are seeking their maiden Super Cup victory, having lost it last year.

In fact, Birkirkara have won the previous two editions – 2019 and 2022 after a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, beating Swieqi 2-0 in last year’s final.

“It is a very important game because there is a trophy on the line,” Birkirkara coach Jose Borg told the Times of Malta.

“While in the league you can recover points that you lose along the road, in a final you cannot afford a single mistake with our sole objective being to lift the Super Cup.”

In recent years, the Stripes have made a clean sweep of domestic titles, but this campaign is promising to be one of the biggest challenges the Maltese champions had in a long time.

“I think the gap between us and Swieqi was already close last season, while in this campaign I believe there are other teams that are closing in on both of us with the league standings reflecting that development,” Borg said.

While they sit third in the domestic league, albeit with a game in hand, Birkirkara have seen their unbeaten run in the league – 92 games – stopped by Swieqi at the death in the first round of the domestic championship.

In the second-round encounter, the Stripes sought redemption, but they could not break down Swieqi as they were held to a 0-0 draw.

“We indeed took four points from the two games against Birkirkara in the league, but this final is a totally different story,” Swieqi coach Saviour Darmanin explained.

“It will be a very difficult game between two strong teams although I believe Birkirkara might still have the edge because they have a longer squad that boasts experience having won several titles in recent years.

“However, we also have members of our team that have won a lot of titles that can help us challenge for the Super Cup.

“Swieqi is a club that has been building a competitive squad in recent years – having won last year’s domestic cup as well – but at the same time there are other clubs improving so it’s not just us that are vying to close the gap with Birkirkara.”

Birkirkara are on the back of a comfortable victory over San Ġwann in the domestic league but were dealt a heavy blow after Uruguayan playmaker Edith Garcia picked up a knock.

Asked about her condition, Borg said that they are still evaluating her but her chances of making it to the Super Cup are very slim, with Birkirkara set to face Hibernians in next weekend’s crunch match in the Assikura Women’s League.

Improvements

On the other hand, Swieqi rubbed shoulders with the Paolites in a top-of-the-table clash which failed to live up to expectations, with the two teams firing blanks in a goalless draw.

“There is a lot to improve from the match against Hibernians but at the same time, the timing of the match was not very favourable having been without 13 important players in the two weeks before this match due to the international break,” Darmanin highlighted.

“However, now we had a good time to train together and prepare for this important match which I am sure will motivate the players.”

The Super Cup awaits, and Maltese football enthusiasts can expect another memorable spectacle in the local women’s game.

“We hope that we can delight our Birkirkara fans, especially following the men’s defeat in their quest for Super Cup, while we also urge the neutral public to join us for such an important game,” Borg said.

“It’s a match that will serve as a huge promotion for Maltese women’s football,” Darmanin pointed out.

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