Late goals sink Spartans — Birkirkara move fourth

Mqabba scored twice in the final six minutes to beat Hamrun Spartans 2-0 and join Mosta in the eighth place.

Hamrun, on the other hand remain joint-second from bottom as they were suffering the fourth defeat in five matches.

The Spartans welcomed back Gianluca Calabretta after serving a one-match ban. Mqabba had Bojan Mamic and Thiago Mazzitelli back in the starting line-up while midfielder David Fenech making his debut after joining the club from Balzan.

The Spartans had the first attempt at goal after just one minute when off a cross from the right by Dene Shields, Kevin Sammut headed high.

On the 16th minute, Mqabba went close to taking the lead but John Paul Muscat’s goal-bound shot was cleared off the goal line by Calabretta. A minute later, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro caught Kris Calleja out of place but his long-distance shot ended high. A Massimo Grima freekick for Hamrun scraped past the post on 21 minutes.

Four minutes from the end of the first half, Matthew Gauci came to the rescue as he cleared off the goal line a Ryan Sammut header off a corner by Mazzitelli. A minute later, Bojan Mamic hit wide from an ideal position on the edge of the area.

Six minutes in the second half, following a good move by Dene Shields, he served Gaetan Spiteri from the left but the latter hit high from just outside the area. On 64 minutes, Calleja performed a great save on a Ribeiro header off a cross from the left by Matthew Gauci.

Mqabba managed to break the deadlock on 84 minutes when a David Azzopardi effort was partially saved by Omar Borg and Bojan Mamic took the rebound, hitting home from close range.

One minute from time, the Reds doubled he score when off a swift counter-attack, Thiago Mazzitelli had a first attempt blocked and off the rebound, he served the unmarked Ryan Sammut whose shot hit the foot of the upright before ending at the back of the net.

Marko Potezica was voted BOV Player of the Match.

HAMRUN Omar Borg, Steve Bonnici, Gianluca Calabretta, Ronni Hartvig, Matthew Gauci (89′ David Camilleri), Massimo Grima, Lee James Agius (69′ Daniel Zerafa), Kevin Sammut, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Dene Shields, Gaetan Spiteri (80′ Rupert Mangion).
Subs not used: Jean Claude Debattista, Luke Grech, Glenn Azzopardi, Ryan Spiteri.
Coach: Jesmond Zammit
Asst. Coach: Vince Carbonaro

MQABBA Kris Calleja, Mauro Bonnici, Claudio Calleja (67′ Clayton Micallef), Branislav Timotic, John Paul Muscat (80′ Marlon Briffa), Marko Potezica, Bojan Mamic, Ryan Sammut, Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli, David Fenech (59′ David Azzopardi), Julian Briffa.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Mark Anthony Psaila, Pierre Grima, John Nwoba.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo

Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Timotic
Scorers: 84′ Bojan Mamic, 89′ Ryan Sammut

Birkirkara moved back in fourth place thanks to a comfortable 4-0 win over neighbours Balzan Youths. A win which puts the Stripes, one point ahead of Sliema Wanderers and two ahead of Balzan.

The Youths are therefore sixth on 27 points, four ahead of seventh-placed Qormi.

Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza made his debut for the Stripes after joining the club from Sliema. Joseph Zerafa was back after serving a suspension but Rowen Muscat and Alan Tabone were both missing. For Balzan, Jamie Pace was ruled out injured and Fagner Lins Bernardes was suspended but Bledjon Guga, Jonathan Francica and Bjorn Bondin were back after serving a one-match ban.

Birkirkara forged ahead on 13 minutes when following a good run by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza from the left, he crossed in the direction of Haruna Shola Shodiya whose powerful shot gave goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri no chance.

Balzan replied with a fine Martin Deyanov header, off a cross by Anthony Eviparker from the right, which was saved by Reuben Gauci on 32 minutes. Eight minutes later, in a counter-attack for Birkirkara, Jorge Santos Silva served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza but the latter’s shot was turned into a corner by Matthew Camilleri.

Three minutes from the end of the first half, Birkirkara doubled the score when following a good run on the right flank by Jorge Santos Silva, he served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who slotted the ball past the Balzan custodian.

The Stripes increased the lead on 69 minutes thanks to a shot by Jorge Santos Silva, served by Shola Shodiya, which was surprisingly not held by Matthew Camilleri.

Substitute Michael Camilleri sealed the issue with a fourth goal as he headed the ball home off a cross from the left on the 90th minute.

Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was voted BOV Player of the Match.

BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Roderick Farrugia (25′ Bjorn Bondin), Clifton Ciantar, Bledjon Guga, Yessous Camilleri, Jonathan Francica (42′ Miguel Ciantar), Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Martin Deyanov, Anthony Eviparker (72′ Lydon Micallef).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Michael Borg, Glenn Bonello, Donovan Micallef.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit

B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Rodrigo Pereira, Gareth Sciberras, Joseph Zerafa, Shaun Bajada, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (73′ Moises Avila Perez), Jorge Santos Silva, Paul Fenech (90′ Fabian Zammit), Haruna Shola Shodiya (84′ Michael Camilleri), Ryan Camenzuli, Angus Buhagiar.
Subs not used: Karl Magri, Andre Cassar, Antoine Borg, McAllister Clinch.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Francica, Buhagiar, C. Ciantar, Calcado, Sciberras
Scorers: 13′ Haruna Shola Shodiya, 42′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, 69′ Jorge Santos Silva, 90′ Michael Camilleri
Attendance: 826