Nigerian striker Alfred Effiong notched a hat-trick as Marsaxlokk came from behind to beat Hamrun Spartans 6-3.
Effiong increased his tally in the scorers’ list to seventeen, two ahead of Valletta’s Terence Scerri and three ahead of Gaetan Spiteri who scored two for the Spartans.
The Southseasiders had the first attempts at goal, first with a cross shot from the right by Gary Caruana and then with a shot by Ryan Darmanin from inside the area within the first ten minutes. A low shot by Julio Alcorse was neutralised by Cassar on 19 minutes.
Hamrun, however, managed to break the deadlock on 25 minutes when off a through pass by Massimo Grima, Dyson Falzon controlled the ball and rounded a defender before hitting low past goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.
The Spartans doubled the score on 36 minutes when Gaetan Spiteri took advantage of a failed clearance by goalkeeper Glenn Zammit and placed the ball at the back of the net.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Clive Brincat reduced the gap for Marsaxlokk when he managed to beat Andrea Cassar with a good shot from the edge of the area when served by Gareth Sciberras.
Ryan Darmanin levelled matters for Marsaxlokk on 56 minutes when off a pass by Martin Deanov from the left, he controlled the ball and had a first attempt blocked by the goalkeeper but then placed the ball at the back of the net off the rebound.
One minute later, Hamrun regained the lead thanks to a goal by Gaetan Spiteri, served by Mead Mifsud.
Malcolm Licari made it 3-3 on 66 minutes after receiving a perfect pass by Sunday Eboh.
Licari then missed an excellent opportunity, hitting wide from inside the area when served by Deanov from the left on 72 minutes.
Marsaxlokk were awarded a penalty on 84 minutes after Massimo Grima brought Alfred Effiong down inside the area. From the penalty spot, Alfred Effiong converted.
Effiong could have increased the lead further on 87 minutes when he concluded a good move with a powerful shot from the right which however hit the woodwork.
However on 89 minutes, Alfred Effiong was not to be denied when a first attempt from inside the area was blocked by Andrea Cassar and off the rebound, he placed the ball at the back of the net.
Three minutes in added time, Marsaxlokk were awarded another penalty after Alfred Effiong was floored inside the area. From the penalty spot, Effiong made no mistake to make it 6-3.
Gaetan Spiteri was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photo: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
M’XLOKK Glenn Zammit, Kevin Polidano (48’ Martin Deanov), Andrew Spiteri, Clive Brincat, Emil Yanchev, Sunday Eboh, Gareth Sciberras, Gary Caruana, Trevor Templeman, Ryan Darmanin (57’ Malcolm Licari), Julio Alcorse (73’ Alfred Effiong).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Stephen Sammut, Peter Pullicino, Rumen Galabov.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Louis Cutajar
HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Massimo Grima, Rupert Mangion, Roderick Fenech, Daniel Zerafa (54’ Craig Debattista), Mead Mifsud (70’ Peter Anizoba), Karl Magro, Lee James Agius (83’ Chris Cardona), Dyson Falzon, Gaetan Spiteri, David Camilleri.
Subs not used: Jean Claude Debattista, Dylan Kokavessis, Jovan Vukanic, Steve Bonnici.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Darmanin
Scorers: 25’ Dyson Falzon (H); 36’ Gaetan Spiteri (H); 43’ Clive Brincat (M); 56’ Ryan Darmanin (M); 57’ Gaetan Spiteri (H); 66’ Malcolm Licari (M); 85’ Alfred Effiong (pen) (M); 89’ Alfred Effiong (M); 90+3’ Alfred Effiong pen (M)
Floriana scored three in the first half to beat Birkirkara 3-0 in a direct clash for the runner-up position thanks to which they will be playing in the UEFA Europa League this summer.
Birkirkara, on the other hand, have to settle for third place but the fact that either themselves or Floriana will reach the final of the U*BET FA Trophy, they will also make it to the qualifiying round of the European competition.
Floriana created the first serious goal-scoring opportunity with Joseph Borg testing Manuel Bartolo with a fine shot from the right which was turned into a corner by the Birkirkara custodian on 12 minutes.
The Stripes replied with a beautiful shot by Andrei Agius which goalkeeper Matthew Towns managed to deflect into a corner on the 14th.
The Greens took the lead on 17 minutes when a Christian Cassar freekick was partially saved by Manuel Bartolo and off the rebound, Joseph Borg placed the ball at the back of the net.
Joseph Borg doubled the score nine minutes later when he hit home with the Birkirkara players stopping for an offside.
Floriana made it 3-0 on 36 minutes with a shot from close range by Dragomir Draganov when served by Daniel Nwoke.
Four minutes in the second half, Manuel Bartolo came to the rescue tipping over the crossbar a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
Seven minutes from time, the Stripes were awarded a penalty after Emiliano Lattes was floored inside the penalty area. However the Argentine striker’s effort from the penalty spot hit the upright.
Joseph Borg was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Matthew Towns, Duncan Pisani, Tyrone Farrugia, Owen Bugeja, Manolito Micallef (75’ Brian Said), Clyde Borg (66’ Sacha Borg), Thomas Paris, Christian Cassar, Dragomir Draganov, Joseph Borg, Daniel Nwoke (85’ Alan Abela).
Subs not used: John Agius, Ivan Woods, Christian Caruana, Pablo Doffo.
Coach: Michael Woods
B’KARA Manuel Bartolo, Ryan Scicluna, Patrick Borg, Rowen Muscat, Emiliano Lattes, Paul Fenech, Andrei Agius, Ryan Camenzuli (57’ Karl Pulo), Angus Buhagiar (79’ Trevor Cilia), Michael Galea (60’ Rodolfo Kumbrevicius), Ibrahim Babatunde.
Subs not used: Michael Fraser, Terence Vella, Shaun Bajada, Ian Schembri.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Alan Camilleri
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 17’ Joseph Borg, 26’ Joseph Borg, 36’ Dragomir Draganov