Birkirkara regain the top spot in the BOV Premier League as they defeated champions Valletta 2-0 in this weekend’s big match. A win which puts the Stripes, two points ahead of Hibernians and four ahead of Valletta and Sliema Wanderers.
For the Citizens, this was the second consecutive defeat while for Birkirkara, this was their third successive win.
Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit had the full squad at his disposal. Valletta, on the other hand, welcomed back William Barbosa, Jonathan Caruana and Luke Dimech in the starting line-up but Abubakar Bello-Osagie and Steve Borg were ruled out injured.
The Stripes managed to take the lead on the 13th minute when Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza served Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao with the Valletta defenders thinking the latter stood in an offside position and the Brazilian striker placed the ball at the back of the net.
A close-range shot by Jhonnattann on the 28th minute was blocked by Bartolo and off the rebound, Edward Herrera’s effort was turned into a corner by the Valletta goalkeeper.
On the 37th, Michael Mifsud tried to surprise Justin Haber with a shot from midfield after the latter had rushed to the edge of the area to clear the ball into safety. In stoppage time, Gabriel and Michael Mifsud just failed to connect off an inviting cross by Ryan Fenech from the left.
Birkirkara doubled the score on 72 minutes when off a perfect pass by Edward Herrera from the right, Rowen Muscat was at the right place at the right time to tap the ball home from close range.
Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Manuel Bartolo, Jonathan Caruana, Jason Lee Vandelannoite, Ryan Fenech (84′ Dyson Falzon), Joao Gabriel da Silva, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Luke Dimech, Denni Rocha dos Santos, William Barbosa (75’ Demba Toure), Michael Mifsud (69’ Daniel Bogdanovic).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Edmond Agius, Joseph JoJo Ogunuppe, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius
B’KARA Justin Haber, Edward Herrera, Nikola Vukanac, Alejando Mendoza Corujo, Rodrigo Pereira (26’ Zach Muscat), Rowen Muscat, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (78’ Ryan Scicluna), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (62’ Harun Shola Shodiya), Joseph Zerafa.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Ryan Camenzuli, Yosimar Hernandez, Joselito dos Reis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Zerafa, Dimech, Jhonnattann
Scorers: 13’ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, 72’ Rowen Muscat
Sliema Wanderers and Tarxien Rainbows earned a point each as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw in a clash from the Championship Pool.
The Wanderers therefore stay one point ahead of the Rainbows.
Luca Martinelli and Beppe Muscat were missing for Sliema while Tarxien lacked Branislav Timotic and Steve Sadowski.
The Rainbows had the first goal scoring opportunity on the 24th minute when an Andrezinho effort from outside the area was partially saved by Glenn Zammit and off the rebound, Daniel Mariano Bueno’s conclusion was turned into a corner by the Sliema custodian.
Sliema then missed an excellent opportunity on 62 minutes when off an inviting cross by Luigi Ruggiero, Mark Scerri failed to connect from close range.
The Rainbows were reduced to ten men on 78 minutes after Manuel Caruana picked a second yellow card for a foul just outside the area.
One minute from time, a shot from the edge of the area by Ian Zammit was partially saved by Nicky Vella and off the rebound, Luigi Ruggiero’s close-range effort was somehow held on the goal line by the Tarxien goalkeeper.
Stefano Bianciardi was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Paltemio Barbetti, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Ian Zammit, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods (54’ Luigi Ruggiero) , Shaun Bajada, Matias Muchardi, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: James Abela, Stanley Ohawuchi, Andrew Decesare, Alain Faccini, Josef Mifsud, Miguel Ciantar.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Asst. Coach: JoJo Bajada
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana, Andrew Agius (66’ Justin Grioli), Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Roderick Bajada (75’ Marco Tulio Lopes Silva), Leandro da Silva Almeida (90’ Mark Tanti), Ryan Sammut, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Orosco Anonam, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: David Cassar, David Fenech, Clive Fenech, Gianluca Calabretta.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Muchardi, Barbetti, Caruana, Mintoff
Red Cards: 78’ Manuel Caruana