Balzan and Żejtun Corinthians will be looking for the three points which will boost their aspirations to avoid the drop at the Centenary Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off: 17.00).
Both sides are coming from draws against Floriana and Sirens respectively but will have to push more to stir away from the lower region of the standings.
Speaking to the Times of Malta, Balzan coach Mark Miller admits that this fixture is crucial for both sides, as both “are on the same ship”.
“I think both teams will be hoping to get three points so it’s going to be a tactical and cautious game like our last game against Floriana,” Miller said.
“I believe the mentality will be different from that against Floriana as both teams are going for the three points. A draw would not be too bad, but a win would be a big success looking at how the results have been going.
“It’s crazy to predict and I don’t want to, but I want to try and win and get three points before the break because we’ve been told we’re not going to play against Senglea so, after tomorrow, we’ll be out for about three or four weeks.”
Similarly, Corinthians coach Orosco Anonam’s expectations will definitely be to get a win on Wednesday.
“The win will change the scenario and I’m expecting from myself, from the players and everybody at the club that we bag all three points. It’s very crucial for the club but I have faith in the players that they will do a good job against Balzan,” Anonam said.
Żejtun’s 1-1 draw against Sirens on Sunday has come as a relief for the side after three previous defeats and while not content about them, Anonam said “it wasn’t a big surprise” considering the number of players out observing mandatory quarantine.
“If I had a full team in their positions, then I would have regret, but we played against very good sides without players,” Anonam explained.
“Against Sirens, the boys showed courage and showed they can really do a good job. The draw brought confidence to the players, ahead of the game we have tomorrow.”
Anonam said the players returning from quarantine will still be unavailable against Balzan and that he will be evaluating another two players.
Inversely, Miller lamented the amount of draws his side has had so far.
“To be honest, we were looking for a win against Floriana because it would change a lot of things. To me it’s better to win or lose than continuously draw. We’ve had nine draws which could have been 27 points,” Miller said.
“The team has had a lot of problems, but we can’t make excuses because other teams have had problems as well.
“We’ve never played the same 11 twice so far either due to injury, suspension or other things. Now we’ve got Paul Fenech who’s out injured and Samir (Arab) also. It’s not ideal, but we always have to play with the cards we’re dealt.”
Miller explained that the side still has various options but is delighted Stefan Dimic will be back in contention for today’s game.
First round result: Balzan vs Żejtun Corinthians 0-0.