Stripes maintain challenge for Europa League spot

Birkirkara maintained the challenge for a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer as they defeated St. Andrews 3-1 to register a fifth consecutive win.

For St. Andrews, this was a fourth consecutive defeat and with three games to go, they still lie four points behind tenth-placed Naxxar Lions.

The suspended Ryan Scicluna and the injured Matija Smrekar were both unavailable for Birkirkara.

Birkirkara managed to take the lead on the 26th minute when off a corner by Bilbao Zarate, there was a short clearance by Che, Kurt Zammit advanced into the area before hitting low but the ball was deflected by Eloy Edu Nkene past goalkeeper Jake Galea.

Five minutes in the second half, the Stripes scored the second goal thanks to Christian Bubalovic whose low shot from the edge of the area was not held by Jake Galea with the ball hitting the foot of the upright before ending at the back of the net.

The Saints reduced the gap on the 78th minute when Michel Wisdom Salomon exchanged the ball with Oseghale on the left with the former hitting low past goalkeeper Miroslav Kopric.

However four minutes later, Birkirkara added another as a freekick by Mauricio Mazzetti hit the upright, the ball bounced onto the goalkeeper and travelled along the goal line before Vito Plut tapped the ball home.

ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Eloy Edu Nkene (83′ Jacob Walker), Bong Won Che, Jonathan Perez Cuesta (90+1′ Dale Camilleri), Lucky Victor Oseghale, Michel Wisdom Salomon Aka, Joseph Farrugia, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo, Matteo Desira Buttigieg (62′ Kyrian Nwoko), Michael Johnson.
Subs not used: Dorian Bugeja, Ryan Sammut, Jamie Magri Overend, Nicholas Bradshaw.
Coach: Jose Borg

B’KARA Miroslav Kopric, Cain Attard, Christian Bubalovic, Mauricio Matias Latini Mazzetti, Joseph Zerafa, Mislav Andelkovic, Gareth Sciberras (90′ Matthew Guillaumier), Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Frank Temile, Kurt Zammit (73′ Edmond Agius), Vito Plut (84′ Ryan Darmanin).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Ryan Camenzuli, Fabien Lufi, Clint Zammit.
Coach: Drazen Besek

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Plut, Che, Enmy Pena, Nkene
Scorers: 26′ Kurt Zammit, 50′ Christian Bubalovic, 78′ Michel Solomon Wisdom, 82′ Vito Plut
BOV Player of the Match: Mislav Andelkovic