Qormi stay on top as Valletta, B'Kara share spoils in draw

Hamrun Spartans vs Hibernians FC 2-2 (HT 0-1)

Hamrun Spartans recovered from two goals down to hold Hibernians in a 2-2 draw.

The Paolites have only themselves to blame for allowing the Spartans to take two points from the game considering that they held the initiative for long stretches.

Hamrun lacked the suspended Roderick Fenech while Mario Muscat was back for Hibernians after serving a one-match ban.

After a quiet start for the two teams, a powerful drive by Marcelo Pereira was turned into a corner by Mario Muscat on 27 minutes. From the resulting corner, Muscat performed another great save on Gaetan Spiteri and off the rebound, Manolito Micallef hit wide. Hibernians replied with an inviting pass by Andrew Cohen for Etienne Barbara on 33 minutes but the latter failed to connect.

Hibernians managed to take the lead on 39 minutes when off a cross by Adrian Pulis from the left, Christian Callejas headed the ball home past goalkeeper Ivan Casha

The Paolites doubled the score on 68 minutes when off a cross by Cohen, Aaron Xuereb served Jonathan Caruana who flicked the ball past Ivan Casha with Manolito Micallef trying to block the ball on the goal line.

Gaetan Spiteri was then unlucky not to reduce the gap for Hamrun with a cute lob which beat Muscat but the ball hit the crossbar.

On the 80th, Hamrun pulled one back when off a freekick by Jonathan Holland from the left, Diego Cucciardi placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.

Six minutes in added time, Hamrun notched the equaliser. Referee Andre Arciola ordered a penalty after Jonathan Caruana handled the ball inside the area and from the penalty spot, Marcelo Pereira made no mistake.

HAMRUN Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici (74′ Mark Barbara), Aaron Attard (30′ Diego Cucciardi), Rupert Mangion, Manolito Micallef, Jonathan Holland, Marcelo Pereira, Gaetan Spiteri, Martin Hrubsa, Joao Mawete, Clyde Camoin.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Daniel Bonnici, Mauro Busuttil, Timothy Fleri Soler, Mead Mifsud
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Asst. Coach: Marco Grech

HIBS Mario Muscat, Jonathan Caruana, Edward Herrera, Adrian Pulis, Aaron Xuereb, Christian Callejas, Jonathan Pearson, Rumen Galabov (67′ Elkien Cauchi), Andrew Cohen (83′ Ryan Camilleri), Olegs Malasenoks (78′ Ben Camilleri), Etienne Barbara.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Leighton Grech, Triston Caruana, Kevin Cassar.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Edmond Lufi

Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Saviour Tanti
Yellow Cards: Cohen, Pearson, Holland, Spiteri, Xuereb, E. Cauchi, Pereira
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen
Scorers: 39′ Christian Callejas (Hib)
68′ Jonathan Caruana (Hib)
80′ Gaetan Spiteri (Ham)
90′ Marcelo Pereira pen (Ham)

Valletta FC vs Birkirkara FC 1-1 (HT 0-0)

Qormi maintained the lead on top the BOV Premier League table as Valletta and Birkirkara shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. The Citizens therefore move one point behind Qormi while maintaining a one-point lead over third-placed Birkirkara.

Birkirkara lacked two of their key players – Joseph Zerafa and Paul Fenech. Missing for Valletta, on the other hand, was Ian Zammit. Luke Dimech and Njongo Priso were back after serving a one-match ban.

The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on 14 minutes when off a Kevin Sammut corner, Jamie Pace’s low shot scraped past the post. Four minutes from the end of the first half, Jorge Mora blocked with his left foot a good attempt by Terence Scerri.

Birkirkara managed to break the deadlock two minutes in the second half when Sylvano Comvalius advanced on the left and beat Andrew Hogg with a curved shot from the edge of the area.

Valletta replied with a good attempt by Terence Scerri who received a cross from the left, controlled before unleashing a powerful shot which ended just wide on 63 minutes. Four minutes later, Andrew Hogg came to the rescue for Valletta as he rushed out of the area to anticipate Trevor Cilia before the latter could conclude.

On 72 minutes, Jorge Mora performed a good save on a Terence Scerri header following a freekick from the right by Kevin Sammut.

Valletta levelled matters eleven minutes from time when off a pass by Jordi Cruijff, Terence Scerri deflected the ball in the direction of Gilbert Agius who slotted past Jorge Mora.

VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Roderick Briffa (79′ Steve Bezzina), Kenneth Scicluna, Luke Dimech, Gilbert Agius, Jamie Pace (79′ Stefan Giglio), Kevin Sammut (88′ Dyson Falzon), Jordi Cruijff, Terence Scerri, Njongo Priso.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Justin Grioli, Edmond Agius, Dyson Falzon, Dylan Grima.
Coach: Ton Caanen
Team Manager: Nicky Saliba

B’KARA Jorge Mora, Trevor Cilia (86′ Karl Pulo), Branko Nisevic, Nikola Vukanac, Rowen Muscat, George Mallia, Alan Tabone, Shaun Bajada, Sylvano Comvalius, Michael Galea (92′ Andrew Scicluna), Angus Buhagiar (70′ Thomas Paris).
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Andreas Galea, Karl Montebello, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Team Manager: Mario Gatt

Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Mariano Debono
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Nisevic, Agius, Scerri, Borg, Mora, Dimech, Cruijff
BOV Player of the Match: Gilbert Agius
Scorers: 47′ Sylvano Comvalius (B)
79′ Gilbert Agius (V)