Malta BOV ePremier League Knockout Stage Preview - The Last Dance

Wednesday 3rd April 2024, 11:34 | written by: Gabriel Sciberras

After months of competition, battling through an Offline Qualifier and beating the Group Stage, the best 8 players in Malta are heading for the Knockout Stage. Ahead of the 2024 BOV ePremier League Knockout Stage, this preview dives into all the details - let's take a closer look!

Knockout Stage Preview - Format Facts

Performances in the Group Stage have quite an impact on the first round of this double-elimination bracket. Every single player starts in the Upper Bracket Quarter-Finals, with seeding based on Group Stage performance - players who performed better (higher seeds) face lower seeds. 

Speaking of which, here's a reminder of the participating clubs and their representatives or this year's iteration of the MEPL Knockout Stage: 

  • Hamrun Spartans - Shaun "brandsha" Galea
  • Birkirkara FC - Martin "RapidBunny" Sanchez
  • Mosta FC - Salvatore "ShortyyT1" Assennato
  • Valletta FC - Shaun "Vli" Dimech
  • Marsaxlokk - Matthias "Tubbi" Farrugia
  • Gzira United - Dale "Bonell" Bonello
  • Naxxar Lions - Luke "LukeBartolo99" Bartolo
  • Sliema Wanderers - Ryan "Klawka" Cauchi

Each match will be played on 1 leg across the entire bracket. 

As a reminder, with everyone starting in the Upper Bracket, whoever loses their opening match will have one more lifeline in the Lower Bracket. Considering this, the Grand Final will have one club seeding from the Upper Bracket and one club from the Lower Bracket. 

Knockout Stage Schedule - Opening Games

Here's a look at the schedule for the opening matches for this highly anticipated Knockout Stage kicking off on 5th April 2024

  • 21:00 - Hamrun Spartans vs Sliema Wanderers
  • 21:40 - Valletta FC vs Marsaxlokk 
  • 22:15 - Birkirkara FC vs Naxxar Lions
  • 22:45 - Mosta FC vs Gzira United

For an updated schedule, we recommend checking out our socials and news outlets to stay up to date. 

General Predictions - Who Wants It? 

In this featured article, we'll be offering general predictions and storylines to consider as head into this epic stage of competition. 

Stopping the Mexican Menace

While he may be in Malta to study English, Martin "RapidBunny" Sanchez managed to qualify for this season of the BOV ePremier League using his prowess and experience as a Mexican FIFA Champion. 

So far in the competition he has been undeniably impressive and almost unstoppable, the only player to stop him was local favourite Shaun "brandsha" Galea - squeaking out a hard-fought win in 5-4 fashion. 

As the only player to stop the Mexican menace, Shaun "brandsha" Galea is the clear favourite to walk away as the champion of Group A, being the only one to earn the maximum of 18 points. With so many eyes on him though, it's likely that his competitors will do their best to counter-strat his particular play style. 

Returning for Redemption

Last season, the MEPL Knockout Stage concluded with two players finishing in the top 4 accordingly: 

  • 3rd - Mosta FC - Salvatore "ShortyyT1" Assennato
  • 4th - Marsaxlokk - Matthias "Tubbi" Farrugia

Returning to compete while representing the same clubs, both "ShortyyT1" and "Tubbi" are hungrier than ever to make it to the Grand Final. Both players have proved they have what it takes, they simply need to match up well and take down the favourites. 

Unusual Underdog

I wouldn't sleep on Luke "LukeBartolo99" Bartolo - sure, he is the seventh of eight seeds for the Knockout Stage, but his experience and reputation precede him. 

For those unaware, this veteran walked away as the champion of the 2022 MEPL Season and placed 2nd in the 2021 MEPL Season. Placing 7/8th last season was a hiccup for the veteran. 

Returning once again to the Main Competition is a testament to his consistency, and at any point in time, this unusual underdog could spring back into action. 

Curious Contenders

There's only one player here who hasn't competed in an MEPL Knockout Stage before - Dale "Bonell" Bonello for Gzira United. While that may paint him as a rookie, he's been competing in online competition for the better part of 4 years. With this experience, he likely won't be too phased by the bright lights. 

Joining him in this star-studded Group Stage are two seasoned local veterans with ample experience - Valletta's Shaun "Vli" Dimech and Sliema's Ryan "Klawka" Cauchi. Of note, Ryan "Klawka" Cauchi was the only player to take down Mosta's "ShortyyT1" in Group B. 

Meanwhile, Shaun "Vli" Dimech plays fiercely, putting any opposition through its paces. Notably, he barely lost 3-2 to the favourite Martin "RapidBunny" Sanchez in Group A. 

We can't wait to see how it all unfolds - enough talk, let's play!

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