Michael Mifsud hat-trick hero for Qormi — Citizens held in 1-1 draw

Michael Mifsud marked his debut with a hat-trick as Qormi registered a most important win for the battle to secure a place in the Championship Pool by defeating Birkirkara 4-1.

Qormi move sixth, three points behind Marsaxlokk, a week before Stephen Azzopardi’s side takes on the Southseasiders in a direct clash for a top-six finish.

Trevor Cilia and Joseph Zerafa were both missing for Birkirkara with new signing Ibrahim Babatunde unable to make his debut due to the failed arrival of the international transfer certificate.

Qormi managed to take the lead on the 13th when Joseph Farrugia served Abubakar Bello-Osagie on the right and off the latter’s perfect pass, Michael Mifsud tapped the ball home from close range.

Four minutes later, Michael Mifsud doubled the score when he received a pass inside the area by Josue Souza Santos and after rounding the goalkeeper, he placed the ball at the back of the net.

Birkirkara pulled one back on 23 minutes when consecutive shots by Emiliano Lattes were blocked by Matthew Farrugia and off the rebound, Rodolfo Kumbrevicius hit home.

Five minutes from the end of the first half, Michael Mifsud went close with a shot from the edge of the area and in a swift counter-attack for Birkirkara a minute later, goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia anticipated Paul Fenech, clearing the ball into safety following an inviting cross from the left by Lattes.

On 43 minutes, Karl Pulo came to the rescue for Birkirkara, clearing the ball into safety, after Michael Mifsud had advanced into the area, rounded the Stripes goalkeeper and hit low. A defensive blunder in added time almost allowed Michael Mifsud to increase the lead but Michael Fraser blocked his attempt.

Substitute Michael Galea, served by Paul Fenech, went close to equalising with a fine rising shot from inside the area on 57 minutes. A minute later, Matthew Farrugia performed a good save on a Michael Galea effort. On the other side of the pitch, Mifsud hit just wide on the 69th following a through pass by Matthew Bartolo.

Qormi increased the lead one minute later when Michael Mifsud, released on the right by Joseph Farrugia, managed to beat Fraser with a powerful diagonal shot which was not held by the Birkirkara custodian.

Paul Fenech tested Matthew Farrugia with a powerful shot from outside the area on 77 minutes but the Qormi goalkeeper turned the ball into a corner. Two minutes later, an Emiliano Lattes effort from the right ended high.

Qormi were awarded a penalty seven minutes from time after Angus Buhagiar handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Josue Souza Santos made no mistake to make it 4-1.

Michael Mifsud was voted BOV Player of the Match.

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B’KARA Michael Fraser, Emiliano Lattes, Nikola Vukanac, Andrei Agius, Shaun Bajada, Rowen Muscat, Angus Buhagiar, Rodolfo Kumbrevicius (76’ Andrew Decesare), Terence Vella (46’ Michael Galea), Paul Fenech, Karl Pulo (86’ Ryan Scicluna).
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Patrick Borg, Ryan Camenzuli, Simon Zahra.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Branko Nisevic

QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Jason Vandelannoite, Stefan Giglio, Christos Karamanolis, Keith Fenech, Michael Mifsud, Joseph Farrugia, Abubakar Bello-Osagie (61’ Matthew Bartolo), George Mallia (73’ Kang Hojung), Jonathan Bondin, Josue Souza Santos (87’ Cleavon Frendo).
Subs not used: Matthew Camilleri, Joseph Chetcuti, Luke Sciberras, Ben Camilleri.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Assistant Coach: Charles Scerri

Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Buhagiar, Karamanolis, Bajada
Scorers: 13’ Michael Mifsud (Q); 17’ Michael Mifsud (Q); 23’ Rodolfo Kumbrevicius (B); 70′ Michael Mifsud (Q); 83’ Josue Souza Santos pen (Q)

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Meanwhile in the second match, Hamrun Spartans earned a precious point in the challenge for a place in the Championship Pool as they held Valletta in a 1-1 draw.

The Spartans joined Qormi in sixth place, three points behind Marsaxlokk. Valletta, on the other hand, are now thirteen points ahead of Tarxien, who however have a game in hand.

Valletta lacked Jamie Pace but had Brazilian striker Andrade Antunes Anderson making his debut after joining the club earlier this week. Bulgarian midfielder Nikolai Chipev was making his first appearance for the Spartans. Roderick Fenech and Martin Hrubsa were ruled out injured.

The two teams shared the exchanges during the first half with few attempts at goal.

On 22 minutes, Omar Borg blocked a Denni freekick ad off the rebound a shot by Terence Scerri was turned into a corner. Eleven minutes later, Gaetan Spiteri failed to connect off an inviting Dyson Falzon freekick for Hamrun.

Valletta managed to break the deadlock on 57 minutes thanks to Roderick Briffa whose first attempt was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, he beat goalkeeper Omar Borg.

Hamrun replied with a direct freekick by Massimo Grima which scraped past the post on 65 minutes. Nine minutes later, Dene Shields hit just wide off another freekick by Grima.

The Spartans equalised on the 77th thanks to a brilliant goal by Dyson Falzon. A great volley from the left which gave goalkeeper Andrew Hogg no chance.

One minute later, the Citizens could have regained the lead when they were awarded a penalty after Steve Bonnici floored substitute Omonigho Temile inside the area. However Terence Scerri’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by Omar Borg.

Hamrun went close once again on 84 minutes with a Dyson Falzon effort which was tipped into a corner by Hogg.

Dyson Falzon was voted BOV Player of the Match.

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VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Roderick Briffa, Steve Borg, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Ramon Dos Santos, Kevin Sammut (67’ Omonigho Temile), Andrade Antunes Anderson (77’ Edmond Agius), Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Ryan Fenech (36’ Gilbert Agius), Terence Scerri.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Ian Zammit, Kurt Magro, Karl Azzopardi.
Coach: Nardu Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

HAMRUN Omar Borg, Massimo Grima, Rupert Mangion, Dene Shields (92’ Peter Anizoba), Marcelo Pereira (62’ Dylan Kokavessis), Dyson Falzon, Gaetan Spiteri, Jovan Vukanic, Nikolai Chipev, David Camilleri, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Aaron Attard, Mead Mifsud, Craig Debattista.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Assistant Coach: Victor Cassar

Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Mariano Debono
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Scerri, Grima
Scorers: 57’ Roderick Briffa (V); 77’ Dyson Falzon (H)
Attendance: 3,441

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