All eyes on American forward Hailey Russell in Assikura Women’s League

The Assikura Women’s League title race is far from over after last weekend’s results reignited the challenge between leaders Birkirkara and second-place Swieqi United.

With three games left, Birkirkara and Swieqi are separated by five points after the Stripes fell to a surprising defeat against Hibernians on Saturday.

The Owls took advantage, securing a comfortable win over Mġarr and make sure they are back in the title picture despite losing to Birkirkara just before the international window.

Swieqi, led by Dorianne Theuma on the touchline, can pose some serious questions to Birkirkara as they launch this week’s fixtures with a Thursday match against Hibernians.

Besides league’s top scorer Salamatu Abdulai – 20 goals, Swieqi will be hoping that forward Jade Flask continues to find the net after grabbing a brace against Mġarr.

Having been sidelined with a serious knee injury, Flask is now getting more minutes and has also returned to feature Malta during last month’s international window.

Hibernians, on their part, have secured a top-three finish with the Birkirkara win – an improvement on last year’s fourth place.

The Paolites, now on 41 points, missed a lot of key players against Birkirkara with defender Amy Busuttil and captain and vice-captain, Martina Borg and Nicole Sciberras, absent as well.

Amber Galea, Malta U-17’s international, replaced Busuttil and put on a strong performance which bodes well for her career.

Fellow Malta U-17’s goalkeeper Maya Muscat was between the sticks as she is deputising for injured Zeeyana Jivray whose season has been declared over.

Meanwhile, Birkirkara take on Mġarr United on Friday as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat.

For the Stripes, this was their second defeat of the season in 20 league outings.

Against the Paolites, coach Jose Borg handed American forward Hailey Russell her club debut since joining during the winter transfer window.

On the other hand, Mġarr will finish their Top Four commitments in fourth place as they are on 30 points, trailing Hibs by 11 with just three matches remaining.

In the Bottom Four section, leaders Valletta will cross swords with Lija Athletic while Mtarfa take on San Ġwann.

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