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Birkirkara, Valletta face off in must-win match

Valletta's Shaun Dimech (left) races past Ali Diakite. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Birkirkara and Valletta will be desperate to take all points when the two old rivals meet in the Premier League at the National Stadium on Friday (kick-off: 7pm).

Both teams head into the match desperate for the three points for contrasting reasons.

Birkirkara have no margin of error in their bid to put themselves back in contention for a top three finish and a place in European football next season.

On the other hand, Valletta are looking to move away from the relegation places and will be keen to pick up more valuable points against the Stripes.

The match comes just over two days after both teams were in action in the FA Trophy with contrasting results as Birkirkara needed extra-time to overcome Sirens while Valletta were beaten by Mosta.

Brian Chetcuti, Birkirkara’s assistant coach, has made no secret of the importance of the clash against Valletta.

“The match against Valletta is crucial for our position in the standings,” Chetcuti told the Times of Malta.

“Matches against Valletta holds special significance for our fans given the great rivalry that exists between the two clubs.

“Obviously, with the match coming just two days after we played in the FA Trophy makes it a bit tricky for us to recover the players fully from a physical point of view.

“But it’s going to be important that we bank on our mental strength and drew on all our strength to try and produce the best possible performance so we can return home with the three points.

“One area we need to address is surely that we have to start converting the scoring chances we create into goals. If we don’t improve in that area we can’t win matches.”

On the other hand, Enzo Potenza, the Valletta FC coach said that while the team was disappointed to bow out of the FA Trophy, however, the team’s fight against relegation was of utmost importance.

“Premier League survival is on top of our agenda,” Potenza told the Times of Malta.

“But at the same time it was frustrating to bow out of the FA Trophy. We did our best but Mosta deserved it more than us and now we have to look forward.

“It’s clear that the match against Birkirkara is going to be very tough against a very strong team. They boast some talented players and are capable of beating everyone.

“For us this is an ongoing process where we take it one match at a time. It’s clear that the recent run of positive results was very important but there is still a long way to go.

“The second round of the championship will offer tougher challenges as all teams have strengthened their ranks, so we need to be ready.”

Standings provided by Sofascore

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