Mosta and Hamrun Spartans shared the spoils in a goalless draw at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Saturday.
Hamrun were a better side throughout the ninety minutes but the dismissal of Manuel Bartolo and the gallant performance by the Blues stopped them from returning to winning ways following last week’s defeat to Tarxien. For Mosta, this was the third positive result from the last four matches.
Mosta had Senegalese striker Falou Ndiaye Samb making his debut. Coach Enrico Piccioni named Samb and Zachary Brincat in the starting line-up, leaving Dexter Xuereb on the bench while Juri Cisotti was not part of the squad.
Hamrun, on the other hand, had four changes from the team which lost two Tarxien last week. Two players were making their first appearance, namely Greek central defender Orestis Nikolopoulos and Italian striker Francesco Marra. Nikolopoulos and Marra, along with Caetano Calil and Bradley Schembri, were preferred to Triston Caruana, Massimo Ganci, Njongo Priso and Kevin Tulimieri.
During the first half, there was hardly any shot at goal but just before half-time, Karl Micallef was unlucky to hit the crossbar for Hamrun with a powerful drive from the right.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, the Spartans were reduced to ten men. Kei Hirose sent Misael Miranda Gomez through only for the latter to be floored just outside the area by goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo. The referee sent the Hamrun goalkeeper off and replaced Francesco Marra with substitute goalkeeper Sean Cini.
In the dying minutes, Sebastian Nayar went close to opening the score two times for the Spartans but goalkeeper Andreas Vella first blocked a good shot when the former was left unmarked and then managed to neutralise an intelligent lob from the left.
MOSTA Andreas Vella, Alessio De Cerchio, Kei Hirose, Renan de Oliveira, Massimo Sammartino, Misael Miranda Gomez, Tyrone Farrugia, Steve Bonnici, Zachary Brincat, Romeu Romao, Falou Samb.
Subs not used: Craig Abdilla, Matthias Formosa, Dexter Xuereb, Aleandro Sultana, Luca Gatt, Jurgen Grech, Calvin Camilleri.
Coach: Enrico Piccioni
HAMRUN Manuel Bartolo, Antonio Monticelli, Enrico Pepe, Sebastian Nayar, Carlos Henneberg, Matthew Gauci, Karl Micallef, Orestis Nikolopoulos, Caetano Calil, Bradley Schembri (46’ Ryan Darmanin), Francesco Marra (61’ Sean Cini).
Subs not used: Triston Caruana, Russell Vella, Cain Cutajar, Darren Borg, Jeremy Busuttil.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: Oliveira, A. Vella, A. Monticelli, C. Henneberg
Red Cards: 58’ M. Bartolo
BOV Player of the Match: Kei Hirose