Sliema Wanderers bounced back in style from the defeat to Qormi as they scored three in the first half to beat Birkirkara 3-1.
For the Stripes, this was the first defeat after winning the first four matches. They were simply unable to react after suffering two early goals which put them two goals down after just thirteen minutes.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Birkirkara lacked Ryan Scicluna, Joselito dos Reis and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza. Mark Scerri, on the other hand, was missing for Sliema but they had Argentine attacking midfielder Ariel Laudisi making his debut.
The Wanderers managed to take the lead on the 7th minute thanks to a fine rising shot by Ivan Woods, off a cross from the right by Luca Martinelli, which beat goalkeeper Reuben Gauci.
Matias Muchardi doubled the score on the 13th minute when he received a perfect pass by Ariel Laudisi from the right and hit low past the Birkirkara custodian.
Three minutes in the second half, Sliema scored the third goal when a Paltemio Barbetti corner from the left created havoc inside the penalty area and Alex Muscat placed the ball at the back of the net from close-range.
Birkirkara pulled one back on 55 minutes thanks to Rowen Muscat who received an assist by Shola Shodiya from the right and found no difficulty in hitting home from close.
Edward Herrera tried his luck with a powerful drive on 78 minutes but Bonello turned the ball into a corner. From the resulting corner from the right, Nikola Vukanac’s close-range header was saved by the Sliema goalkeeper aided by the upright.
Ariel Laudisi was voted BOV Player of the Match.
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Zach Muscat (55’ Ryan Camenzuli), Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Musat, Paul Fenech Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, Harun Shola Shodiya, Edward Herrera.
Subs not used: Jonathan Martinelli, Godwin Mckay, David Spiteri, Antoine Borg, Fabian Zammit, Brandon Attard.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Stefano Bianciardi, Luca Martinelli, Beppe Muscat, Matias Muchardi, Paltemio Barbetti, Miguel Ciantar (67’ Josef Mifsud), Ariel Laudisi (77’ Omar El Ghaouti), Ivan Woods (88′ John Mintoff).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Andrew Decesare, Alain Faccini, Diego Ortega.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Asst. Coach: Jo Jo Bajada
Referee: Laurent Kopriwa (LUX)
Assistant Referees: Claudio De Carolis, Christophe Pires (LUX)
Fourth Official: Frank Bourgnon (LUX)
Yellow Cards: Camenzuli, Herrera, Sciberras, B. Muscat
Scorers: 7’ Ivan Woods (S); 13’ Matias Muchardi (S); 48’ Alex Muscat (S); 55’ Rowen Muscat (B)
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
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Floriana returned to winning ways as they scored three in the second half to beat Rabat Ajax 3-0.
The Greens move fourth on eight points from five matches while Rabat remain anchored at the bottom of the table together with Melita and Balzan.
The Magpies once again lacked strikers Nerijus Astrauskas and Ryan Micallef with goalkeeper Sean Mintoff starting on the bench after sustaining an injury during the last game. Floriana, on the other hand, lacked Joseph Borg.
The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the first half. Rabat had the first attempt at goal with David Azzopardi testing Jonathan Debono on the 1st minute and Jonathan Azzopardi anticipating Akanni-Sunday Wasiu on two occasions.
Floriana improved after the break and went close with attempts by Akanni Wasiu and Trevor Cilia.
The Greens managed to break the deadlock on 58 minutes when off a Aman Verma freekick from the right, Aaron Brown headed the ball past goalkeeper Jonathan Azzopardi.
In another attack for Floriana, on 62 minutes, a Trevor Cilia conclusion was blocked and off the rebound, Owen Bugeja’s goal-bound shot was cleared off the goal line by Ivan Carapic.
Rabat missed a good opportunity when Manuel Moral Fuster stole the ball off a defender and served Adam Smeir who however failed to connect on 67 minutes. A minute later, substitute Ryan Darmanin hit just wide in a swift counter-attack for Floriana. A fierce shot by Trevor Cilia on the 70th minute scraped past the post.
The Greens doubled the score on 71 minutes as Trevor Cilia received a pass by Duncan Pisani from the right and hit low past Azzopardi.
A minute later, Floriana scored the third goal thanks to Ryan Darmanin who received a pass by Trevor Cilia and slotted the ball past the Rabat goalkeeper.
An Adam Smeir effort, served by David Azzopardi from the right, was blocked by a defender on 82 minutes.
A minute later, the two teams ended playing in ten men after referee Kevin Azzopardi sent off Floriana’s Aaron Brown and Rabat’s Patrick Borg following an incident between the two.
Finally Adam Smeir concluded a good run with a powerful shot which was turned into a corner by Jonathan Debono on the 90th minute.
Trevor Cilia was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Jonathan Debono, Tyrone Farrugia (46’ Duncan Pisani), Aaron Brown, Owen Bugeja, Kane Farrugia, Aman Verma, Thomas Paris (67’ Ryan Darmanin), Clyde Borg, Carl Tremarco, Trevor Cilia, Akanni-Sunday Wasiu (75’ Valdo Alhinho).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Mark Spiteri, Jermain Brincat, Francesco Guzman.
Asst. Coach: Alan Lewer
RABAT Jonathan Azzopardi, Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana (74’ Clifford Gauci), Heiner Backhaus (62’ Christopher Schembri), Justin Felice, Adam Smeir, Manuel Moral Fuster, Dylan Falzon, Patrick Borg, Clive Brincat, David Azzopardi.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Gaetano Gesualdi, Christian Muscat, Shaun Gauci, Yan Cauchi.
Coach: Silvio Vella
Asst. Coach: Joseph Galea
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: K. Farrugia, P. Borg, A. Brown, D. Falzon, H. Backhaus, R. Darmanin, C. Borg
Red Cards: 83’ Aaron Brown, 83’ Patrick Borg
Scorers: 58′ Aaron Brown, 71′ Trevor Cilia, 72′ Ryan Darmanin