Paul Fenech stoppage-time goal sinks Lions

A goal deep into stoppage-time enabled Birkirkara to maintain their hundred percent record as they beat Naxxar Lions 1-0.

The Stripes held the initiative throughout the ninety minutes but Naxxar did an excellent job in controlling their opponents. The game seemed heading for a draw but Birkirkara had different thoughts and notched the winner just before the final whistle.

With Joseph Zerafa, Edmond Agius and Gareth Sciberras still unavailable, Birkirkara had two changes from the team which defeated Zebbug Rangers 4-0 as Edward Herrera and Alejandro Mendoza replaced Matheus Bissi and Eliandro. Victor Bellia and Pape Gueye, on the other hand, replaced Pablo Doffo and Gilmar for Naxxar. Sidney da Silva was ruled out injured.

The Lions had the first attempt at goal after just a couple of minutes with Pape Gueye hitting just wide from close range. Birkirkara replied with a Zach Muscat header which scraped past the post on the 18th minute off a freekick by Rafael Ledesma. Liliu was then unlucky to hit the upright with a shot from the left on 32 minutes.

Naxxar goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi performed a good save on Paul Fenech on 62 minutes and two minutes later, Ryan Scicluna tested Azzopardi with a fine shot but the latter managed to block his attempt. Off a corner by Rafael Ledesma, Alejandro Mendoza’s goal-bound header hit the crossbar on the 66th.

Birkirkara went close with an over-head kick by Eliandro following a cross from the right by Zach Muscat on 84 minutes but his attempt was parried by Azzopardi. Two minutes later, a cross shot from the right by Zach Muscat was turned into a corner by the Naxxar goalkeeper.

However three minutes in added time, Birkirkara notched the winner when Julian Azzopardi blocked a cross by Edward Herrera and off the rebound, Paul Fenech tried his luck with a shot from outside the area and the ball bounced in front of the goalkeeper before ending at the back of the net.

NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Victor Bellia (80′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro), Terence Vella, Pape Gueye, Daren Falzon, David Fenech (39′ Mattia Del Negro), Angus Buhagiar (46′ Ryan Gilmour Cassar), David Alejandro Reano, Uchenna Emenike Mbachu.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, Yaron Sammut, Jurgen Debono.
Coach: Winston Muscat

B’KARA Justin Haber, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais, Nikola Vukanac, Rafael Pompeo Ledesma Rodrigues (67′ Eliandro dos Santos Gonzaga), Edward Herrera, Paul Fenech, Zach Muscat, Ryan Scicluna (84′ Kurt Zammit), Leighton Grech (68′ Matheus Bissi da Silva), Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Justin Tonna, Antoine Borg, Andrea Curmi, Russell Gatt de Raffaele.
Coach: Paul Zammit

Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Luke Portelli
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Sammy Attard
Yellow Cards: R. Scicluna, E. Mbachu, A. Buhagiar, T. Vella
Scorer: 90+3′ Paul Fenech
BOV Player of the Match: Julian Azzopardi