Birkirkara return to winning ways

Birkirkara returned to winning ways as they scored a goal in each half to beat bottom-placed Mosta 2-0 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Wednesday in a match which was originally scheduled for December 18 but was called off following a directive by the Malta Football Referees Association.

The Stripes move two points behind fourth-placed Floriana and three ahead of Sliema and are now seven points behind leaders Balzan. Mosta, on the other hand, have now gone ten matches without a win and continue to share the bottom place along with Pembroke on nine points.

Birkirkara mentor Nikola Jaros made five changes from the team which lost to Sliema in their last league outing as goalkeeper Ini Etim Akpan, Gareth Sciberras, new signing Gonzalo Malan and the returning Nikola Vukanac and Srdjan Dimitrov replaced Miroslav Kopric, Christian Bubalovic, Matteo Desira Buttigieg, Matthew Guillaumier and James Brincat. For Uruguayan striker Malan, this game marked his debut for the Stripes.

New Mosta coach Zsolt Hornyak made a complete overhaul from the team which lost to Gzira as he made no less than nine changes, leaving only Kurt Magro and Kyle Frendo in the starting line-up. Njongo Priso was ruled out through suspension.

Birkirkara had a good chance of taking the lead on the 19th minute when Gonzalo Malan intercepted a pass by Dany Djoufack and served Srdjan Dimitrov on the right but the latter’s conclusion just missed the target.

The Stripes broke the deadlock on the 25th minute when off a cross from the right by Frank Temile, Vito Plut slotted past goalkeeper Yenz Cini.

Birkirkara maintained the pressure and a Frank Temile effort was deflected into a corner by a defender on the 35th minute.

Thirteen minutes in the second half, Srdjan Dimitrov controlled a cross from the right by Temile and deposited the ball at the back of the net but the goal was disallowed for an offside.

However on the 65th minute, Birkirkara sealed the issue with a second goal thanks to Predrag Jovic who beat the Mosta custodian following a freekick from the left by Dimitrov.

Three minutes later, Kevaun Atkinson almost committed an own goal when he deflected the ball off a cross from the right by Cain Attard but the ball hit the crossbar and ended into a corner. Yenz Cini performed a good save at point blank on Gonzalo Malan on the 79th. The Mosta goalkeeper was prominent once again with another good save on Frank Temile from close range one minute from time following a cross from the left.

MOSTA Yenz Cini, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo (80′ Kyle Gatt), Kemmu Degran Jackson, Kurt Magro, Lucky Victor Oseghale, Kyle Frendo (46′ Neil Frendo), Kevaun Atkinson, Zachary Brincat (70′ Luca Martinelli), Gabriel Bezak, Dany Djoufack, Kemar Reid.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Adrian Caruana, Luke Galea, Jurgen Grech.
Coach: Zsolt Hornyak

B’KARA Ini Etim Akpan, Gareth Sciberras, Mislav Andjelkovic, Srdjan Dimitrov (84′ Ryan Scicluna), Gonzalo Daniel Malan (88′ Shaun Pierre Bajada), Vito Plut (90′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Nikola Vukanac, Frank Temile, Joseph Zerafa, Cain Attard, Predrag Jovic.
Subs not used: Amara Sylla, Matthew Guillamier, Steve Bonnici, Edmond Agius.
Coach: Nikola Jaros

Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: Atkinson, Zerafa, Z. Brincat
Scorers: 25′ Vito Plut, 65′ Predrag Jovic
BOV Player of the Match: Srdjan Dimitrov
Attendance: 250