Birkirkara dropped another two precious points in the race for a place in the UEFA competitions this summer as they were held in a 2-2 draw by St. Andrews at the National Stadium.
This was the second time the Saints held the Stripes in a draw following a 1-1 draw in the second round. A draw which enables Danilo Doncic’s side to earn a precious point in their bid to move further away from the danger zone.
Birkirkara had four changes from the team which lost to Floriana as Ryan Scicluna, Predrag Jovic, Gary Muir and Gonzalo Malan replaced Edward Herrera, Mislav Andjelkovic and the suspended Christian Bubalovic and Joseph Zerafa. On the other hand, for St. Andrews, Kyrian Nwoko and Karlo Kesinovic were named in the starting line-up for Godwin Mackay and the suspended Felix Okon Udoh.
Birkirkara managed to take the lead on the 8th minute when the referee ordered a penalty after Michael Johnson handled the ball inside the area following a shot by Miguel Angel Alba and from the penalty spot, Miguel Angel Alba converted.
St. Andrews levelled matters on the 19th minute when off a short freekick by Enmy Pena Beltre for Ivan Paz, the latter crossed and Kyrian Nwoko headed home past goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
The Stripes regained the lead on the 26th when off a Srdjan Dimitrov corner from the left, Gonzalo Malan headed home from close range.
Seven minutes in the second half, the Saints equalised when Joseph Farrugia released Karlo Kesinovic on the right and off the latter’s assist, Kyrian Nwoko slotted the ball past goalkeeper Bonello.
The two teams were then reduced to ten men on the 69th minute after Ryan Scicluna received a second yellow card for a foul on Enmy Pena Beltre while the Dominican Republic international was dismissed for retaliation.
B’KARA Henry Bonello, Gareth Sciberras, Srdjan Dimitrov (84′ Edmond Agius), Vito Plut (76′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Nikola Vukanac, Miguel Angel Alba, Ryan Scicluna, Cain Attard, Predrag Jovic, Gonzalo Malan, Gary Muir (63′ Edward Herrera).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Neil Micallef, Steve Bonnici, James Brincat.
Coach: Nikola Jaros
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Michael Johnson, Bong Won Che, Karlo Kesinovic, Aidan Friggieri (72′ Daniel Brandle), Nenad Belacevic, Joseph Farrugia, Ziga Kastrevec (90′ Jacob Walker), Ivan Edgardo Paz, Kyrian Nwoko (82′ Godwin Mckay).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Ryan Darmanin, Liam Grech, Alex Satariano.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Eman Grech
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Scicluna, Jovic, Farrugia, Malan, Agius
Red Cards: Ryan Scicluna, Enmy Pena Beltre
BOV Player of the Match: Kyrian Nwoko
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Gzira United registered an important win as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 1-0.
This was the third win in four matches for Darren Abdilla’s side while for the Rainbows, this was the second consecutive league defeat after a positive run of ten matches.
Tarxien had three changes from the team which lost to Hibernians in their last league outing as Andrea Cassar, Sacha Borg and Ayrton Azzopardi replaced Philip Schranz, Sergio Fernandez Prendes and the suspended Matthew Tabone. Gzira, on the other hand, lacked Antonio Orlando de Queiroz Machedo Neto while Ige Abdullahi Adeshina started the game on the bench. They were replaced by the returning Souleymane Diamoutene and Zachary Scerri.
The Rainbows were reduced to ten men on the 78th minute when Alex da Paixao Alves was given marching orders by referee Fyodor Zammit.
The Maroons took full advantage as seven minutes from time, Moises Avila Perez flicked the ball home from close range following a corner from the left by Andrew Cohen.
GZIRA Jurgen Borg, Jacob Borg (82′ Ige Abdullahi Adeshina), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Souleymane Diamoutene, Ian Azzopardi, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Louis Rene Zome (68′ Carlos Aljeandro Reyna), Moises Avila Perez, Zachary Scerri, Andrew Cohen (89′ Karl Pulo), Gianmarco Conti.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Andre White, Emerson Amaira, Miguel Balzan.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Ebiabowei Baker, Emerson Marcelina, Triston Caruana (64′ Sergio Fernandez Prendes), Daniel Ponce de Leon Garcia (77′ Dylan Micallef), Alex Nilsson, Ayrton Azzopardi (64′ Julian Galea), Sacha Borg, Daniel Zerafa, Alex da Paixao Alves, Kurt Zammit.
Subs not used: Philip Schranz, Matthew Brincat, Ian Abela, Andrew Agius.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: Avila Perez, Marcelina, Lecao, Azzopardi
Red Cards: 77′ Lecao
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen