Birkirkara started the new year on a high with an impressive 4-0 win over Gzira United at the Centenary Stadium on Friday to register a fourth consecutive win and move temporarily in fifth place, one point ahead of Hibs and Sliema and two ahead of Hamrun although the latter three have a game in hand.
Parading new signings – Macedonian goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski, Brazilian defender Fernando Barbosa Pereira and Serbian midfielder Srdjan Dimitrov, the Stripes dominated from start to finish. The Maroons, on the other hand, were a shadow of the team which did particularly well in the early part of the season. They lacked Roderick Briffa and Amadou Samb but had Haruna Garba making his debut.
Birkirkara had a perfect start taking the lead on the 5th minute when off an assist by Ryan Scicluna, Luke Montebello controlled the ball on the left before hitting past goalkeeper Justin Haber.
The Stripes doubled the score five minutes from the end of the first half when off a cross from the right by Jake Grech, Luke Montebello was at the right place at the right time to slot the ball past Haber.
One minute from the end of the first half, the Maroons could have equalised when Haruna Garba’s effort was blocked by Naumovski and off the rebound, Juan Corbolan’s goal-bound effort was cleared off the goal line by Camenzuli.
Eighteen minutes in the second half, Birkirkara killed any remaining hope for Gzira with a third goal thanks to Jake Grech whose low shot from the edge of the area hit the foot of the upright before ending at the back of the net.
Five minutes later, Srdjan Dimitrov hit the foot of the post with Haber beaten and off the rebound, Jake Grech’s shot was deflected by Muir past the Gzira custodian for Birkirkara’s fourth goal.
B’KARA Kristijan Naumovski, Edward Herrera, Lucas Varone Maia, Fernando Barbosa Pereira, Ryan Camenzuli, Mislav Andjelkovic, Jake Grech (80’ Llywelyn Cremona), Carlos Alberto da Silva Goncalves Junior (85’ Gianluca Zammit), Srdjan Dimitrov (75’ Bruno Fernandez de Brito), Ryan Scicluna, Luke Montebello.
Subs not used: Amara Sylla, Kurt Zammit, Neil Micallef, Nick Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
GZIRA Justin Haber, Gary Muir, Souleymane Diamoutene, Antonio Orlando Macedo Neto, Sacha Borg, Moises Avila Perez, Zack Scerri, Andrew Cohen (77’ Luca Brincat), Juan Corbolan (46’ Nikolai Muscat), Ndubuisi Emmanuel Okoye, Haruna Garba Zambuk.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Christian Sammut, Karl Pulo, Samuel Timmy Ogundare, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Stefan Pace
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Additional Assistant Referees: Malcolm Spiteri, Matthew De Gabriele
Fourth Official: Luke Portelli
Yellow Cards: Camenzuli, Scicluna, Scerri, Okoye, Diamoutene, Avila Perez, Maia
BOV Player of the Match: Jake Grech