Stripes come from behind to beat Zebbug

Birkirkara had to struggle much more than expected to come back from one goal down to beat wooden-spoonists Zebbug Rangers 3-1.

The Stripes were desperate for victory after losing three out of the last four matches but their performance was far from impressive. Zebbug, on the other hand, gave a good account of themselves but after this defeat remain anchored at the bottom of the table.

Birkirkara had three changes from the team which lost 4-3 to Pietà as Eliandro, Herrera and Scicluna replaced Shodiya, Ryan Camenzuli and Leighton Grech. Zebbug, on the other hand, had one change as Thomas Paris was preferred to Melvin Farrugia.

Matthew Bartolo almost surprised Justin Haber on the 17th minute but the Birkirkara goalkeeper managed to turn the ball into a corner.

Zebbug, however, managed to take the lead on 23 minutes thanks to Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto whose low shot gave goalkeeper Justin Haber no chance.

The Stripes replied with a good pass by Paul Fenech for Liliu whose low effort was saved in two attempts by Fabricio Rapchan on 29 minutes. On the 40th, a close-range header by Liliu was turned into a corner by the Zebbug goalkeeper.

Two minutes from the end of the first half, Birkirkara equalised as they were awarded a penalty after Eliandro was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Rafael Ledesma converted.

Seven minutes in the second half, off a cross by Paul Fenech, Liliu tried his luck with an acrobatic shot and off the rebound, Gareth Sciberras had his shot blocked by the goalkeeper.

On the 64th, Birkirkara had the opportunity to forge ahead when Jacob Borg brought Liliu down inside the area but this time, Fabricio Rapchan neutralised Rafael Ledesma’s effort from the penalty spot.

However three minutes later, the Stripes went 2-1 ahead when off a Rafael Ledesma corner from the left, the ball reached Liliu who headed home from close range.

Justin Haber came to the rescue for Birkirkara with a great save on Britto on 72 minutes.

However four minutes from time, Birkirkara sealed the issue with a third goal as substitute Edmond Agius beat Fabricio Rapchan with a risiing shot from the edge of the area.

B’KARA Justin Haber, Matheus Bissi da Silva, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais (78′ Edmond Agius), Eliandro dos Santos Gonzaga (86′ Kurt Zammit), Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (79′ Haruna Shola Shodiya), Nikola Vukanac, Gareth Sciberras, Zach Muscat, Paul Fenech, Edward Herrera, Ryan Scicluna.
Subs not used: Justin Tonna, Antoine Borg, Leighton Grech, Ryan Camenzuli.
Coach: Paul Zammit

ZEBBUG Fabricio Rapchan dos Santos Morales, Yessous Camilleri, Lee Galea, Jacob Borg, Matthew Gauci, Thomas Paris, Matias Muchardi, Carlo Gordon Monti, Matthew Bartolo, Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto (83′ John Ogechukwu Nwoba), Bojan Mamic.
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Ratko Mandic, Melvin Farrugia, Lee James Agius, Clifford Gauci, Miguel Ciantar.
Coach: Alfonso Greco

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Marco Borg, Alan Mario Sant
Fourth Official: William Debattista
Yellow Cards: Vukanac, Scicluna
BOV Player of the Match: Fabricio Rapchan
Attendance: 895