Stoppage-time goal denies Vittoriosa a second successive win

A stoppage-time goal by Nikola Vukanac stopped Vittoriosa Stars from claiming a second successive win for Birkirkara to earn a point in a 1-1 draw.

A draw which enables Vittoriosa to join Hibernians on the five-point mark following a draw with Floriana and a win over the Paolites in the previous outings. For the champions, this was yet another disappointing result as they have now gone four matches without a win. The Stripes now join Marsaxlokk in fourth place.

Birkirkara lacked Rowen Muscat, Alan Tabone and Trevor Cilia while Shaun Bajada started the game on the bench. Vittoriosa, on the other hand, had no changes from the team which defeated Hibernians as they lacked Pierre Aquilina.

The game had a most quiet start with the first attempt at goal occurring on 29 minutes with Jeffrey Chetcuti trying his luck with a long distance shot which ended wide. A minute later, Emiliano Lattes had a close-range effort blocked by goalkeeper Simon Agius.

Six minutes in the second half, Leighton Grech concluded a good move on the right flank with a shot which was neutralised by Michael Fraser. Three minutes later, a Paul Fenech effort was parried by Simon Agius. Fraser then performed a good save on a cross shot by Jorge Santos Silva from the left on 59 minutes.

Vittoriosa managed to take the lead on 61 minutes when off a cross from the right by Leighton Grech, a great first-time effort by Jorge Santos Silva gave goalkeeper Michael Fraser no chance.

In the dying minutes, the Stripes went all out in search of the equaliser, going close close to equalising with an Emiliano Lattes effort hitting the woodwork on 85 minutes. A minute later, another shot by Lattes was deflected into a corner by Simon Agius. On 88 minutes, Lattes had another attempt at goal with a shot from outside the area being deflected by Agius and hitting the upright.

On the 89th minute, it was the Stars’ turn to hit the posts with an Edison Luis Dos Santos effort from the edge of the area hitting the foot of the upright when served by Campagnoli. A chance which could have put them two goals ahead.

However three minutes in added time, Birkirkara notched the equaliser when off a Shaun Bajada freekick, Nikola Vukanac headed the ball home past Agius.

On the 94th, substitute Edison Luis Dos Santos was sent off for Vittoriosa after hitting Zerafa in an off-the ball situation.

Jorge Santos Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.

B’KARA Michael Fraser, Ryan Scicluna, Andrew Decesare (77’ Thomas Paris), Joseph Zerafa, Simon Zahra (56’ Carl Pulo), Nikola Vukanac, Terence Vella (56’ Shaun Bajada), Paul Fenech, Emiliano Lattes, Michael Galea, Angus Buhagiar.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Patrick Borg, Andreas Galea, Ryan Harding.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Branko Nisevic

VITTORIOSA Simon Agius, Carl Sammut, Sharlon Pace, Jeffrey Chetcuti, Carlos Campagnoli, Dino Cachia, Kevin Mifsud, Jorge Santos Silva (89’ Clayton Micallef), Anthony Ewurum, Stephen Wellman, Leighton Grech (76’ Edison Luis Dos Santos).
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Justin Camilleri, Johann Spiteri, Jonathan Xerri, Mauro Brincat.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla

Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Decesare, Zahra, Scicluna, Fenech
Red Cards: 90+4′ Edison Luis Dos Santos
Scorers: 61’ Jorge Santos Silva (V); 90+3′ Nikola Vukanac (B)
Attendance: 590