Now that the classifications in the Gatorade futsal leagues have been defined, the real duels to determine the champions in the two categories kick off this week.
Defending champions Luxol and Ħamrun Spartans face a daunting task as they take on Lija Athletic and Valletta respectively at the Corradino Pavilion.
These four teams will be involved in the first leg of the play-offs tonight with the overall winners of the two-match series progressing to the final.
In the first game, starting at 8pm, Ħamrun Spartans cross swords with Lija.
The Spartans, who topped the standings at the end of the elite round, have produced the best futsal this season with Brazilians Michel, Madson, Rodrigo and Raphinha, the league’s leading scorer, providing the inspiration.
The Athletics invested a lot at the beginning of the season and managed to reach their top-four objective.
They can rely on talented players, like Iranian international Ebrahim Massoudi, Spanish Chavi Montes Burgos and Albanian Endrit Kaca.
Nicola del Re and young Chris Cardona can also offer a threat to the Spartans’ defence on their day.
In the previous rounds, Ħamrun won both encounters 4-1 and 5-3.
In the second play-off semi-final, Luxol meet Valletta in a potentially balanced match.
Luxol will be relishing the prospect of ending Valletta’s play-off hopes not only to advance to the final but also to banish the memories of their 7-2 league upset to the Citizens in February.
The good performances shown during their training camp in Poland a week ago went some way towards restoring optimism in the St Andrew’s clan after the Ħamrun setback.
Valletta have an experienced squad as Jovica Milijic, Xavier Saliba and Mohammed Elamari will be looking to emulate their past success with former clubs.
Valletta won their first meeting with Luxol 7-2 but the latter made amends in their second encounter, winning 4-1.