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Santa Lucia eye vital points against Marsaxlokk in bid to avoid relegation

Mosta's Kevin Tulimieri (left) is challenged by Steve Pisani, of Sta Lucia. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Santa Lucia will be looking to take another step towards Premier League salvation when they face Marsaxlokk in the Premier League on Friday evening (kick-off: 18.00).

The Saints are currently sitting just outside the relegation zone on 26 points, two ahead of Mosta, and six clear of Valletta.

A win against Marsaxlokk will surely push the team one step closer to retaining their top-flight status for another season.

Alessandro Zinnari’s men have managed to pick up four points from their last two outings after they beat relegation rivals Valletta 2-0 and then they were held by Mosta 1-1 last week.

No doubt, Santa Lucia will be desperate to clinch another win this evening that will boost their chances of moving clear of the relegation zone, with just four matches to go till the end of the season.

However, Santa Lucia’s task will be anything but straightforward as they face a Marsaxlokk team who are equally desperate for the three points as they look to seal fourth place in the Premier League standings that could earn them a place in the UEFA Conference League qualifiers this summer.

The southerners have been inconsistent in the past few weeks as after claiming a famous 2-1 victory against Ħamrun Spartans, they crashed out of the FA Trophy following a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Floriana and then could only manage a 1-1 draw against Gżira United last week.

Coach Winston Muscat will be hellbent on seeing his charges rediscover their best form in the final weeks of the season as they look to finish the job and seal their place in European football this summer.

Tomorrow’s programme will see the title battle take centre stage with leaders Floriana and Ħamrun Spartans in action.

Floriana will kickstart proceedings when they face a tricky test against relegation-threatened Mosta.

The Blues will be determined on picking up the three points, given their precarious position in the standings which sees them two points away from safety with just four matches to go.

However, Floriana will start as surefire favourites to take all three points as Mauro Camoranesi’s team are in hot form, coming out victorious in their last four outings, and should hold too much power for Joseph Grech’s team.

Mbong suspended

Ħamrun Spartans will be interested spectators of this match as the Malta champions will be ready to pounce should the Greens slip up when they face Gżira United in the day’s second match.

Coach Luciano Zauri was pleased with the team’s response to their FA Trophy exit with victory over Birkirkara last week and will hope to see more of the same against the Maroons.

The Italian coach should have defender Steve Borg back in the fray but winger Joseph Mbong must serve a one-match ban and will join on the sidelines goalkeeper Henry Bonello (knee injury) and striker Uros Duranovic (suspended).

On Sunday, Valletta will have arguably their last chance of keeping their salvation hopes alive when they face Hibernians.

The Citizens are still licking their wounds from the derby defeat to Floriana last week that left them six points from safety with just four matches left.

Nothing less than a win will keep the Citizens with a realistic chance of avoiding the drop but their task is somewhat complicated as they face a Hibs team who are equally desperate for a win in their bid for a top-four finish.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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