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Leaders Birkirkara eye five-point gap as women’s league resumes

Birkirkara will be looking to continue where they left off in 2022 and open a five-point gap at the top of the Assikura Women’s League in the first slate of fixtures of the new year.

The Stripes are at the back of the Assikura Women’s Super Cup triumph against Swieqi United as they picked up the first silverware of the season.

Jose Borg’s side, who faced Manchester United in a friendly last Friday, will face San Ġwann to finish off their November encounter which was halted at half-time due to adverse weather.

The game will resume from minute 46 and it will be played at the Mġarr Ground. At half-time, Birkirkara were already leading by four goals with Sara Saliba, Kim Parnis, Ann-Marie Said and Gaia Milan scoring the goals for the Stripes.

Saliba, who has two goals in the league so far, has been a key component of the team in recent games.

She scored the winning goal against Mġarr United and found the net against Swieqi in the Super Cup.

Born in 2007, Saliba is tipped as one of the rising stars in the local game and she hopes that her hard work can continue to pay dividends in her career.

“My current state of form is very important for me and I am in this position thanks to the support that I am receiving from the ones surrounding me, including Birkirkara’s staff and players that keep pushing me to improve,” she told the Times of Malta.

San Ġwann, on their part, are the only team that is still looking for their first points of the season having played seven games so far.

In the highlight game of the week, Hibernians and Mġarr United will face each other at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.

In the reverse fixture, the Greens had defeated the Paolites 3-1 at the Mġarr Ground as they will be looking to bounce back from their Birkirkara defeat just before the festive period.

Michael Mangion’s side currently sit fourth on 13 points after eight games, trailing Hibernians by two who sit just behind leaders Birkirkara.

The Paolites, who faced Swiss top-flight side Aarau in a friendly on Saturday, won 3-0 against San Ġwann in their final game of 2022 with goals from Alexis Espitia, Rodianne Zerafa and Shakira Bugeja.

Swieqi United face Mtarfa as Judith Kuipers’ side will be trying to put their Super Cup defeat aside and shift their focus on the title race.

The Owls are third on 14 points having played seven games. They boast the best attacking record (31) and the joint-best defensive record (2), together with Birkirkara.

Last month, Kuipers was the first coach to receive the Coach of the Month accolade of the season while midfielder Shona Zammit was named November’s Player of the Month as well.

Meanwhile, San Ġwann will return in action 48 hours after their Birkirkara encounter to face another stern test in Raiders Lija.

The two teams will meet at the Mġarr Ground after having met at the Centenary Stadium in the reverse fixture, with Raiders Lija emerging winners 5-1 in that first round encounter.

Denis Guerra’s side are currently fifth on 13 points, having played seven games so far.

THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES

MONDAY

San Ġwann vs Birkirkara – Mġarr Ground, 21.15 (continuation from minute 46).

TUESDAY

Swieqi United vs Mtarfa – Centenary Stadium, 20.00

WEDNESDAY

Hibernians vs Mġarr United – Centenary Stadium, 20.00

Raiders Lija vs San Ġwann – Mġarr Ground, 20.30

MD10 bye: Birkirkara

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