Sliema Wanderers returned to winning ways as they scored twice in the second half to beat Vittoriosa Stars 2-0.
The Stars gave a good account of themselves during the first half, having their fair share of goal-scoring opportunities, but once Sliema managed to forge ahead, they were never in danger of dropping any points.
The Wanderers lacked the suspended Mark Scerri while John Mintoff was back after serving a one-match ban. Vittoriosa, on the other hand, welcomed back Filipe Aguiar but lacked Gilbert Martin.
The Blues had the first attempt at goal on the 6th minute with an angled shot by John Mintoff ending just wide. VIttoriosa replied with a Siraj Arab cross from which Marcelo Pereira hit just wide on the 18th. Two minutes later, Abubakar Bello-Osagie went close with a header when served by Jacob Borg.
Marcelo Pereira then missed a good opportunity when alone in front of Bonello following an inviting cross by Oscar Guerrero. Two minutes from the end of the first half, John Mintoff had a shot from the edge of the area ending just wide when served by Ohawuchi. On the other side of the pitch, Oscar Guerrero controlled a cross by Adam Spiteri but his conclusion was deflected into a corner by Henry Bonello.
The Wanderers managed to break the deadlock five minutes in the second half when off an inviting pass by substitute Trevor Cilia from the right, Stanley Ohawuchi slammed the ball past goalkeeper Jean Matthias Vella.
Sliema doubled the score on 71 minutes thanks to Matias Muchardi whose fine curved shot from inside the area, after receiving a perfect assist by Abubakar Bello-Osagie, gave substitute goalkeeper Sean Cini no chance.
One minute from time, Sliema could have added another when substitute Pape Gueye dashed into the area after a good move between Bello-Osagie and Cilia with the Senegalese striker’s low shot neutralised by the Vittoriosa goalkeeper.
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Jacob Borg (46′ Trevor Cilia), John Mintoff, Stanley Ohawuchi (56′ Pape Gueye), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods (33′ Beppe Muscat), Paltemio Barbetti, Matias Muchardi, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Gabriel Aquilina, Axl Xuereb, Dylan Borg.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
VITTORIOSA Jean Matthias Vella (67′ Sean Cini), Jose Filipe Aguiar, Adam Spiteri (64′ Ryan Mifsud), Marcio Teruel, Marcelo Pereira, Lucas Ramon dos Santos, Michael Camilleri, Clive Brincat, Siraj Arab Eddin (58′ Mark Barbara), Samir Arab, Oscar Dario Guerrero.
Subs not used: Malcolm Buttigieg, Justin Camilleri, Clive Spiteri, Sheldon Grech.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Mario Borg
Assistant referees: Edward Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Fourth official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Ramon, Samir Arab, Siraj Arab, M. Camilleri, Bello-Osagie, Teruel
Scorers: 50′ Stanley Ohawuchi, 71′ Matias Muchardi
BOV Player of the Match: Abubakar Bello-Osagie
Photo: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
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At the Centenary Stadium, Naxxar Lions returned to winning ways as they beat nine-man Balzan 3-0. Thanks to these three points, Naxxar move fifth on 13 points, leaving Balzan on eight.
Louis Cutajar, Andrew Decesare, Andre Rocha da Silva and Terence Scerri were all missing for Naxxar while Balzan lacked goalkeeper Dani Miguelez, Rodrigo Pereira and Firas Aboulezz with new signing Joselito dos Reis starting the game on the bench.
Balzan held the initiative in the early stages went close after just two minutes when off a cross from the left by Aaron Agius, Gianluca Calabretta hit just wide. Six minutes later, Justin Grioli hit high with a first-timer. Mark Spiteri then hit the upright in a swift counter-attack on the 20th.
A Victor Bellia effort from the thirty metres rattled past the crossbar. A first-time effort by Angus Buhagiar, served by Mattia Del Negro, was neutralised by Balzan goalkeeper Michael Falzon.
Naxxar were awarded a penalty five minutes from the end of the first half when Jerry Ani released Ousseni Zongo who advanced into the area and dribbled past the goalkeeper, only to be floored by Falzon. The Balzan goalkeeper was sent off for an early shower and from the penalty spot, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro’s low shot on the right hand side beat substitute goalkeeper Jacob Cipriott who replaced Gianluca Calabretta.
Despite being with one men less, Balzan pressed for the equaliser in the second half. On the 48th, Julian Azzopardi deflected Armario Negrin’s close range shot into a corner. A header by Ryan Darmanin, off a cross by Grioli from the right, ended wide. A Fabio Vignaroli freekick was neutralised by Julian Azzopardi and on the 72nd, Daren Falzon lobbed the ball on Jacob Cipriott, the ball hit the crossbar but ended in the Balzan goalkeeper’s safe hands.
Balzan received a further setback on the 77th minute when they had Justin Grioli sent off.
Two minutes later, Naxxar doubled the score thanks to a direct freekick by Daren Falzon which beat Cipriott.
Five minutes from time, Fabio Vignaroli went close with a freekick for Balzan which ended just past the urpight.
However on the 90th, Naxxar scored the third goal when Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro passed the ball to Daren Falzon inside the area and the latter had no difficulty to place the ball inside the empty net.
BALZAN Y. Michael Falzon, Justin Grioli, Andrew Scicluna, Steve Bezzina, Aaron Agius, Gianluca Calabretta (41’ Jacob Cipriott). Mark Spiteri (71’ Joselito Dos Reis Santos), Fabio Vienaroli, Dylan Grima, Luke Sciberras, Jose Luis Armario Negrin (55’ Ryan Darmanin).
Subs not used: Michael Borg, Godwin McKay, Erjon Beu, Lydon Micallef,
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Jeremiah Ani , Victor Bellia (64’ Daren Falzon), Marlon Briffa (27’ Mattia Del Negro), Angus Buhagiar (86’ John Debono), Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro, Pablo Doffo, Thiago Lopes De Souza, Evaldo, Silva Dos Santos, Ousseni Zongo.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, Jurgen Debono, Yuri Martines De Oliveira.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Luke Portelli
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Sandro Spiteri
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: A. Buhagiar (N), J. Grioli (B), T. Lopes De Souza (N), M. Del Negro (N)
Red Cards: 41’ Michael Falzon (B), 77’ J. Grioli (B)
Scorers: 42’ Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro (pen) (N), 79’ Daren Falzon (N) 90’ Daren Falzon (N)
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro (N)