Stripes take top spot — Balzan beat Hamrun

Birkirkara moved temporarily on top the BOV Premier League as they defeated Melita 3-0. The Stripes move one point ahead of Valletta who however have a game in hand.

For Melita, this was the ninth defeat in twelve matches, remaining second from bottom on five points.

Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA

Birkirkara welcomed back Gareth Sciberras but once again lacked Edward Herrera, Shola Shodiya and Joselito dos Reis. Melita coach Patxi Salinas could not lead the team from the bench as he was suspended.

The Stripes managed to take the lead on 34 minutes when Jhonnattann entered the penalty area, serving Ryan Camenzuli who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Sapiano.

Melita replied with a Sierra Camacho effort ending just wide after Ivan Tufegdzic headed the ball down off a cross by Julian Galea.

Birkirkara doubled the score five minutes in the second half when Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza served Gareth Sciberras on the left and the latter hit low past Sapiano.

Two minutes later, Mifsud Triganza missed an excellent opportunity to increase the lead when he concluded a fine effort by hitting high from in front of goal.

Gareth Sciberras scored the Stripes’ third goal on 65 minutes when he received a pass by Zach Muscat from the right and after controlling the ball, he beat the Melita goalkeeper with a rising shot from inside the area.

Paul Fenech then had a shot from outside the area ending just over the bar.

Gareth Sciberras was voted BOV Player of the Match.

MELITA Matthew Sapiano, George Gribbon, Ivan Tufegdzic (71’ Rudi Alhinho), Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, Matthew Borg (56’ Luke Micallef), Jovan Vukanic, Nigel Rizzo, Julian Galea, Luke Sammut, Jose Luis Armaro Negrin, Michael Valenzia (56’ Andrew Caruana Scicluna).
Subs not used: Karl Zahra, Karl Vella Petroni, Michael Martin, Simon Galea.
Coach: Alfred Zammit

B’KARA Ini Etim Akpan, Zach Muscat, Joseph Zerafa, Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Camenzuli (71’ Ryan Scicluna), Rowen Muscat, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Gareth Sciberras (85’ Brandon Attard), Paul Fenech, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (79’ Kurt Zammit).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, McAllister Clinch, David Spiteri, Antoine Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino

Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Gribbon, Zerafa, Borg, Vukanic, Camenzuli, Galea
Scorers: 34′ Ryan Camenzuli, 50′ Gareth Sciberras, 65′ Gareth Sciberras

Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA

A goal by substitute Malcolm Licari gave Balzan three precious points in a 3-2 win over Hamrun Spartans. Balzan therefore extended their positive run with a fifth win in seven matches and are now sixth on eighteen points.

Hamrun, on the other hand, are still eighth after a third successive defeat.

Balzan welcomed back Rennie Forace and Bjorn Bondin but Christian Caruana joined Matthew Camilleri and Jonathan Francica on the sidelines. Lyubomir Vitanov returned for Hamrun after serving a one-match ban.

The Spartans managed to take the lead on 13 minutes when off a through pass by Massimo Grima, Gianluca Calabretta anticipated goalkeeper Fredrick Tabone with a cute lob from the right.

Balzan replied with a Pedrinho effort which hit the crossbar on 15 minutes.

Hamrun doubled the score on 21 minutes thanks to Terence Vella who slotted the ball past the Balzan goalkeeper when served by Massimo Grima on the right.

Balzan pulled one back on 26 minutes when Pedrinho took a loose ball and had a first attempt blocked and off the rebound Elton Alexandre da Silva placed the ball at the back of the net.

On 36 minutes, Pedro Calcado brought the best out of goalkeeper Andrea Cassar who managed to turn into a corner a great freekick by the Brazilian midfielder.

Two minutes in the second half, Balzan were awarded a penalty after Roderick Fenech brought Renato Conceicao down inside the area. Pedrinho’s ‘cucchiaio’ beat goalkeeper Andrea Cassar to level matters.

Elton Alexandre da Silva was unlucky to hit the foot of the post with a powerful shot from inside the area on 74 minutes. Daniel Zerafa then hit wide off a good cross by Yoshev on the 85th. Andrea Cassar blocked a Malcolm Licari effort when served by Calcado.

However on the 90th minute, Pedrinho released Rennie Forace on the left and off the latter’s cross, Malcolm Licari headed the ball over goalkeeper Andrea Cassar to hand Balzan the three points.

Elton Alexandre da Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.

BALZAN Fredrick Tabone, Matthew Mendy, Stefan Giglio (73’ Jacob Dominico Borg), Renato Conceicao, Rennie Forace, Jamie Pace (77’ Malcolm Licari), Dylan Grima, Pedro Calcado, Martin Deyanov (57’ Bjorn Bondin), Yessous Camilleri, Elton Alexandre da Silva.
Subs not used: Mikhail Sciberras, Aaron Agius, Michael Borg, Kevin Camilleri.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit

HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Massimo Grima (87’ David Camilleri), Ryan Spiteri (67’ Luke Grech), Terence Vella, Gianluca Calabretta, Adrian Ivanov, Roderick Fenech, Lyubomir Vitanov, Angel Yoshev, Anton Vergilov (91’ Nikolay Bozhov), Daniel Zerafa.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Glenn Zammit, Adrian Borg, Christian Cassar.
Coach: Stefan Sultana
Asst. Coach: Atanas Marinov

Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Conceicao, D. Grima, Calabretta, Pace, Mendy, Giglio, Bondin, Yoshev, Forace
Scorers: 13’ Gianluca Calabretta (H); 21’ Terence Vella (H); 26’ Elton Alexandre da Silva (B); 48’ Pedro dos Santos Calcado pen (B); 90’ Malcolm Licari (B)
Attendance: 622