An own goal five minutes from time gave Mosta a dream qualification to the semi-finals of the National League Anniversary Cup as they defeated Sliema Wanderers 2-1. Mosta, who will be the only First Division team in the semi-finals, join Valletta, Tarxien Rainbows and Floriana in the draw which will be held on Thursday.
The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the ninety minutes with Mosta never looking inferior to their opponents. In fact, they had their fair share of scoring opportunities although it was an unfortunate own goal which eventually put them through.
The Wanderers lacked Josef Mifsud and Mark Scerri. Mosta, on the other hand, were in full strength.
Mosta had the first shot at goal after 18 minutes when Terence Vella, served by Gilbert Martin, had a low effort neutralised by Simon Agius. A minute later, John Mintoff served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza on the edge of the area but goalkeeper Jonathan Debono rushed to the edge of the area to clear the ball into safety.
Sliema took the lead on 23 minutes thanks to a great long-distance shot by Pedro Dos Santos Calcado which gave goalkeeper Jonathan Debono no chance.
Shots by Ryan Fenech and Clayton Failla from outside the area ended high towards the half-hour. On the other side of the pitch, following a good move by Victor Osubu and Terence Vella, the latter rounded a defender but his conclusion was blocked by Simon Agius on 37 minutes. A minute later, Failla served Mifsud Triganza on the edge of the area but the final shot ended wide.
However Mosta levelled matters four minutes from time thanks to direct freekick by Gilbert Martin which beat Simon Agius.
After the break, play was concentrated in midfield with shots at goal being quite rare.
The best scoring opportunity occurred on 77 minutes when following a fine move by Victor Osubu on the left, he served Terence Vella who lied just in front of the goalkeeper but rather than trying to conclude, the latter passed the ball to the unmarked Lyden Micallef who hit incredibly high from close range.
The Wanderers’ immediate reaction consisted of a fine pass by Julio Alcorse for Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who however failed to conclude on 78 minutes. A beautiful shot by Julio Alcorse was turned into a corner by goalkeeper Jonathan Debono a minute later.
Five minutes from time, Mosta notched the winner when off a cross from the right by substitute Lyden Micallef, Alex Muscat anticipated fellow goalkeeper Simon Agius, heading the ball home for an own goal.
The Wanderers made a desperate attempt to level matters but the closest they could go was a header by Julio Alcorse, off a Pedrinho freekick, which ended just over the bar in added time.
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MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Adrian Borg, Kane Farrugia (88′ Brian Galea), Mark Brincat, Bryan Agius, Mark Briggs, Gilbert Martin (76′ Lyden Micallef), Chris Pace (89′ Lee Grima), Julian Vella, Victor Osubu, Terence Vella.
Subs not used: Noel Attard, Alex Cini, Luke Stivala, Jonathan Bajada.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri Asst. Coach: Anton Cremona
SLIEMA Simon Agius, Alex Muscat, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Fenech (90′ Amadeo Mercieca), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods, Lucian Dronca, Pedro Dos Santos Calcado, John Mintoff (62′ Julio Cesar Alcorse), Clayton Failla (81′ Noel Turner).
Subs not used: Jeremy Alden, Luca Martinelli, Ray Attard, Ian Ciantar.
Coach: Mark Marlow Team Manager: Rupert Perry
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: K. Farrugia, A. Muscat, T. Vella, M. Briggs, L. Grima, P. Calcado