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Swieqi eye maiden success, Hibernians target sixth women’s cup

Published: Thu 11 May 2023, 14:06
Alesix Espitia (Hibernians) in action against Shona Zammit (Swieqi United) - (c) Jeffrick Cachia

The final act of senior women’s football will take place on Friday night when Swieqi United and Hibernians will contend this year’s Women’s Knock-Out final at the Centenary Stadium (kick-of: 8pm).

One thing is for certain as there will be a new tournament winner for the first time since the 2015/2016 season when Hibernians lifted the trophy that year.

Birkirkara, winners of the last four editions, were ousted by Swieqi in the quarter-finals following a nerve-wrecking battle with the Owls snatching a winner late in extra-time.

Such victory put Swieqi at the top favourites to win the competition and pick up their first major trophy since their inception in the women’s game.

Swieqi, who invested heavily in the first-team squad, have already come short in two of their three objectives after finishing as runners-up in the championship while losing to Birkirkara in December’s Super Cup.

Lifting this trophy would help them wrap up this campaign on a high while injecting important morale boost in their camp ahead of the new season.

En route to Friday’s final, Swieqi defeated Birkirkara in extra-time before scoring a goal in each half to eliminate a resilient Raiders Lija side in the semi-finals.

Jessica Dimech, Salamatu Abdulai and Shona Zammit were the scorers of their three goals in this competition for Swieqi, who will be missing league’s top scorer and newly-winner of the MFA Player of the Year award Jade Flask due to a knee injury.

Swieqi met Hibernians three times during their league campaign, where they won their first two meetings before falling to a surprising 2-1 defeat in the third encounter.

For Hibernians, a sixth triumph in this competition would be the perfect ending for their second spell in the senior women’s game.

The Paolites made their return in the top-flight after an absence of almost three years and throughout the season they proved they are already a competitive squad, finishing fourth – trailing Mġarr United by just one point, and finishing above much-improved Raiders Lija.

In the Knock-Out, Hibernians overcame Mġarr in the first round after failing to beat the Greens in any of their three league encounters.

In the final four, Gouder’s side broke little sweat as they beat San Ġwann 6-0 to advance to the final with the Hibernians’ coach expecting an intense and competitive game between two highly-motivated sides.

Hibernians managed to finish their season strongly with a commanding second-half performance against Birkirkara (losing narrowly 3-2), a 3-0 victory over Raiders Lija and the upset against Swieqi, practically dashing their hopes of winning the title.

Gouder has already tasted success in this competition having led Hibernians to the 2015/2016 triumph.

Images copyright Jeffrick Cachia