Qormi through to semi-finals after beating Birkirkara

FA TrophyQormi stay on track towards a third consecutive final as they came back from one goal down to defeat BOV Premier League leaders Birkirkara 3-1 and reach the semi-finals.

As expected, the Stripes held the initiative in the early stages but Qormi managed to turn the score in their favour with two goals by the end of the first half, adding another just before the final whistle.

Birkirkara managed to take the lead on the 17th minute when Shola Shodiya served Paul Fenech who dribbled a defender before hitting hard past Matthew Farrugia from the edge of the area.

Eleven minutes later, the Stripes went close with a Shola Shodiya header off a cross from the right by Edward Herrera.

However on the 31st minute, Qormi levelled matters when off a Triston Caruana freekick, Alejandro Mendoza and Alfred Effiong rose high for the ball with the Birkirkara defender heading the ball home past Haber for an own goal.

Shola Shodiya was then unlucky to hit the foot of the upright when concluding a solo effort with a low shot from the left on 37 minutes.

Despite having a second player substituted after sustaining an injury, Qormi managed to take the lead two minutes in added time when goalkeeper Justin Haber mistimed a cross from the left by Effiong, allowing Leighton Grech to place the ball inside the empty net.

A powerful drive by Shola Shodiya on 67 minutes was deflected into a corner by goalkeeper Steve Sultana.

In the final stages, the Stripes went all out in search of the equaliser and one minute from time, they almost notched it as substitute Ronaille Calheira Seara controlled the ball inside the goal area and hit low but somehow goalkeeper Steve Sultana managed to hold the ball on the goal line.

However a few seconds later, in a swift counter-attack for Qormi, Alfred Effiong rounded Justin Haber and his conclusion was blocked by Alejandro Mendoza but off the rebound, Lucas Maximilian Cantoro slammed the ball home.

QORMI Matthew Farrugia (43′ Steve Sultana), Owen Bugeja (3′ Emerson Vella), Giorgio Gianola, Joanthan Bondin, Duncan Pisani, Raffaele Simone Quintieri (73′ Roderick Bajada), Triston Caruana, Joao Gabriel da Silva, Lucas Maximilian Cantoro, Alfred Effiong, Leighton Grech.
Subs not used: Jorge Pereira da Silva, Dylan Pirotta, Karl Sciortino, Stefano Zampa.
Coach: Karel Zeman

B’KARA Justin Haber, Joseph Zerafa, Alejandro Mendoza, Nikola Vukanac, Frank Temile (75′ Ronaille Calheira Seara), Gareth Sciberras, Ryan Scicluna (58′ Ryan Camenzuli), Paul Fenech, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Edward Herrera, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (79′ Terence Vella).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Zach Muscat, Kurt Zammit, Daniel Zerafa.
Coach: Paul Zammit

Referee: Ville Nevalainen (FIN)
Assistant Referees: Ville Kuskiniemi, Mika Lamppu (FIN)
Fourth Official: Marko Gronholm (FIN)
Yellow Cards: E. Vella, Temile, Quintieri, Scicluna, Shodiya, Herrera
Scorers: 17′ Paul Fenech; 31′ own goal Alejandro Mendoza; 45+2′ Leighton Grech; 90′ Lucas Cantoro
Attendance: 1,510