Stripes prove to be too strong for Qormi

Qormi FC vs Birkirkara FC 2-5 (HT 1-4)

Birkirkara were in excellent form as they defeated leaders Qormi 5-2 to join them on top the BOV Premier League table.

Birkirkara and Qormi now lead the way with 19 points, two ahead of Valletta. The Citizens, however, have a game in hand as they meet Qormi on Sunday.

Birkirkara managed to take the lead on 13 minutes when off a cross by Sylvano Comvalius from the right, Michael Galea served Shaun Bajada who hit home from close range.

Hardly a minute later, Qormi levelled matters when the ball reached Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo inside the area and the Brazilian striker made no mistake hitting low past Spanish goalie Jorge Mora.

Birkirkara regained the lead on 25 minutes thanks to a direct freekick by Sylvano Comvalius with the ball hitting the crossbar and bouncing just beyond the goal-line.

A Paul Fenech effort, served by Comvalius on 33 minutes, was neutralised by the Qormi custodian.

On 34 minutes, the Stripes increased the lead when off a cross by Sylvano Comvalius from the left, George Mallia lobbed the ball in style over goalkeeper Farrugia.

Four minutes from the end of the first half, Alfred Effiong went close to reducing the gap with Alfred Effiong hitting just over the bar following a through pass by Massimo Grima.

One minute from the end of the first half, Birkirkara scored the fourth goal when off a cross by Sylvano Comvalius from the left, in attempt to clear into safety, Stephen Wellman headed the ball past Farrugia for an own goal.

On the restart, Qormi went close with a close-range header by Wellman, off a cross by Camilo from the left, which was parried by Jorge Mora. On the other side of the pitch, a freekick by Comvalius on 55 minutes scraped past the post.

Trevor Cilia made it 5-1 on 74 minutes with a shot from outside the area which was not held by the Qormi custodian.
Birkirkara were reduced to ten men three minutes from time when Joseph Zerafa was given marching orders by referee Paul Caruana as he received a second bookable offense.

Three minutes in added time, Ryan Deguara reduced the gap for Qormi as he beat Jorge Mora with a fine shot when served by Alfred Effiong.

QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Ramon Dos Santos, Roderick Fenech, Jonathan Bondin, Stephen Wellman, Joseph Farrugia (64′ Ryan Deguara), Massimo Grima, Keith Fenech, Joseph Chetcuti (64′ Steve Meilak), Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo, Alfred Effiong.
Subs not used: Jurgen Cilia, Kenneth Spiteri, Malcolm Buttigieg, Gabriel Buttigieg, Jurgen Stanyer.
Coach: Vince Carbonaro
Team Manager: Jesmond Zerafa

B’KARA Jorge Mora, Paul Fenech, Nikola Vukanac, Branko Nisevic, Joseph Zerafa, Trevor Cilia (80′ Michael Camilleri), George Mallia, Michael Galea, Angus Buhagiar (66′ Thomas Paris), Sylvano Comvalius, Shaun Bajada (76′ Alan Tabone).
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Andrew Scicluna, Andreas Galea, Rowen Muscat.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Team Manager: Mario Gatt

Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Ingmar Spiteri
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Farrugia, Nisevic, P. Fenech, C. Da Silva, Zerafa
Red Cards: 87′ Joseph Zerafa
BOV Player of the Match: Trevor Cilia
Scorers: 13′ Shaun Bajada (B)
14′ Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo (Q)
25′ Sylvano Comvalius (B)
34′ George Mallia (B)
44′ own goal Stephen Wellman (B)
74′ Trevor Cilia (B)
90+3′ Ryan Deguara (Q)

Hibernians FC vs Sliema Wanderers 0-1 (HT 0-0)

Sliema Wanderers collected three precious points as they returned to winning ways as they defeated Hibernians 1-0.

The Wanderers had an edge over their opponents throughout the ninety minutes but Hibs created the better chances.

The Paolites lacked goalkeeper Mario Muscat but welcomed back Christian Callejas and Rumen Galabov. Clifford Gatt Baldacchino was missing for Sliema.

Hibernians had the first attempt at goal with Christian Callejas testing goalkeeper Simon Agius with a direct freekick. Sliema replied with a cross shot by Mark Scerri ending wide and a shot by Clayton Failla which was parried by Daniel Balzan. Josef Mifsud then headed just wide off a cross from the right by Mifsud Triganza.

On 26 minutes, Clayton Failla went close with a beautiful freekick from the right which scraped past the upright. Two minutes later, John Mintoff headed high off an inviting cross by Failla from the left.

Early in the second half, the Blues missed good chances by Mark Scerri and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who both concluded wide. On 61 minutes, a low shot by Clayton Failla was neutralised by Daniel Balzan. A minute later, Balzan performed a good save on a corner by Muscat from the left.

On 67 minutes, Etienne Barbara managed to round Simon Agius but his goal-bound shot was cleared into a corner by Ian Azzopardi. On the other side of the pitch, a rising shot by Failla ended wide two minutes later.

Hibs were unlucky not to take the lead on 84 minutes when Andrew Cohen, served by Barbara, hit the upright with a fine shot from the left with Agius beaten.

The game seemed heading for a draw but two minutes in added time, Noel Turner served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza whose diagonal shot from the left beat goalkeeper Daniel Balzan to give Sliema the three points.

HIBS Daniel Balzan, Jonathan Caruana, Adrian Pulis, Jonathan Pearson, Edward Herrera, Ryan Camilleri (46′ Triston Caruana), Rumen Galabov, Christian Callejas, Etienne Barbara, Andrew Cohen, Olegs Malasenoks (83′ Ben Camilleri).
Subs not used: Chris Cassar, Matthew Tabone, Leighton Grech, Aaron Xuereb, Yan Cauchi.
Asst. Coach: Edmond Lufi

SLIEMA Simon Agius, Alex Muscat, Ian Azzopardi, Josef Mifsud, Ryan Fenech, Mark Scerri, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Ivan Woods (88′ Noel Turner), Lucian Dronca, John Mintoff (70′ Matthew Bartolo)(80′ Ian Ciantar), Clayton Failla.
Subs not used: Jeremy Alden, Michael Gustavo Siscoutto Lima, Luca Martinelli, Klinsmann Grech.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Team Manager: Rupert Perry

Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Malasenoks, Scerri, Azzopardi, Pulis, Mifsud Triganza
BOV Player of the Match: Ian Azzopardi
Scorers: 90+2′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza