Holders Balzan and league leaders Luxol start as overwhelming favourites to set up a mouthwatering Knock-Out Cup final but must first get past the stiff opposition of Valletta and Qormi respectively…
Balzan hope to retain the title won last year as they face in-form Valletta tonight (kick-off 21.45 hrs) while Premier Division leaders Luxol will face Qormi tomorrow.
Are we in store for a rematch of the Super Cup final between Balzan and Luxol? Or there will be a surprise as Valletta and Qormi try to defy the odds? Here are our predictions:
Balzan vs Valletta
A match between two in-form teams that have found their shape in the last few matches, after rather disappointing start.
Both teams have already met each other in the league with Balzan winning 6-3. They will even cross swords in eight days’ time when they meet for the second round league fixture.
Balzan enters as the undoubted favourite for a final berth, but one cannot count out the Citizens coached by Clayton Felice.
Both sides feature dynamic playmakers in Boicho Marev, Slobodan Janjic (Balzan) Xavier Saliba and Denis di Maio (Valletta). The latter can be a continuous menace to Despotovic’s side and if they maintain their form of late they could have a chance to dethrone the Knock-Out holders.
On the other hand, Balzan have obtained three consecutive wins and have found a good acquisition in Serbian international Slobodan Janjic who has scored vital goals for his side.
This website contacted Balzan team manager Nathaniel Jones who seemed positive about his team’s chances for the final.
“We are well-prepared for this match and we shall try to make four wins in a row. We are aware of Valletta’s strength and capabilities. I hope it will be a good semifinal with a good level of futsal and fair play.”
On the other hand, Citizens’ player Xavier Saliba confirms how Valletta have prepared well for this match.
“It is a match that whoever plays futsal would like to play. It is a tough match, we are still building our potential as a team while Balzan are a strong and well-established team in the local futsal scene.”
We have prepared well for this semifinal and we will give our maximum performance to get a positive result”
Valletta have ousted Sirens (6-0), Attard (5-1) and Swieqi (8-2) on their road to the semifinal while holders Balzan have eliminated Luqa (13-0), Lija (5-1) and Gzira (12-1).
Undoubtedly one predicts a thrilling match between two attacking minded teams that want a place in the final phase of the competition.
Luxol vs Qormi
Luxol are keen to seek a place in the KO final to be played on the 30th April 2015 when they face Qormi tomorrow (kick-off 21.45hrs).
Both teams are passing from contrasting moments in the championship.
Luxol are still undefeated and have maintained their leadership in the table while Qormi, who have done so well in the first phase of the league, are coming from three disappointing defeats.
This semifinal can be a good chance to make up for the recent disappointments as coach Mario Gaffiero hopes that his Albanian duo Blendi Gockaj and Endrit Kaca together with Basil Onuta find their scoring spree to surprise the league leaders.
As already said, Florin Anton’s boys are coming from a good run in the championship and the Luxol mentor can rely on Brazilian duo William Barbosa and Celino Alves as well as local talents Matteo Desira Buttigieg and Dale Camilleri who have scored important goals to push forward their intentions for a double.
Both teams have already met twice in the league with the first round figuring in an entertaining 6-6 equalizer with the St Andrews side dominating the second round match 12-3.
Luxol had the better of Mosta (8-1) and Zebbug (9-4) in the previous round while Qormi saw off Mqabba (8-1), Mdina (9-1) and Hamrun (8-5) on their path to the semifinals.
Comments from the main protagonists of tomorrow’s match will be featured tomorrow as this article will be updated.