Birkirkara secure UEFA Europa League spot after defeating Sliema Wanderers on penalties

Birkirkara made sure of playing in the UEFA Europa League this summer after setting-up a clash with Balzan or Valletta in the final of the FA Trophy, powered by Boost Diesel, as they defeated Sliema Wanderers on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the end of the ninety minutes and extra-time in the first semi-final at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Since Valletta and Balzan have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League respectively, Birkirkara will qualify either as the fourth-placed in the BOV Premier League or as FA Trophy winners.

The Wanderers threatened on the 3rd minute with a fine Frank Temile header off a corner from the right by John Mintoff but Naumovski managed to turn the ball into a corner. On the 12th, Edmond Agius had a shot from inside the area turned into a corner. The Stripes repliedwith a diagonal shot by Ognjen Rolovic which was cleared into a corner by Ashong.

Birkirkara took the lead four minutes in the second half when off a cross by Edward Herrera from the right, Ognjen Rolovic’s first time volley gave Glenn Zammit no chance.

However the Blues equalised on the 61st minute thanks to Frank Temile who took advantage of Lucas Maia’s failure to control the ball and when alone in front of the goalkeeper, placed the ball at the back of the net.

Eight minutes from time, Glenn Zammit turned a Jake Grech corner from the left into a corner.

The game went into extra-time and one minute in the first half of extra-time Ricardo Correa’s diagonal shot from the left scraped past the post. Just before the end of the first half, Srdjan Dimitrov’s freekick from the right hit the crossbar.

With the result still draw, the penalty shoot-out had to decide the issue.

Mark Scerri’s penalty was parried by Naumovski, Edward Herrera’s penalty was also saved by Glenn Zammit; Edmond Agius hit high for Sliema, Srdjan Dimitrov scored for Birkirkara while Matias Muchardi’s effort was turned by Naumovski onto the crossbar. Waldemar Acosta made it 3-1 for the Stripes, Frank Temile reduced the gap for Sliema while Ryan Scicluna’s effort was neutralised by Zammit. Michele Sansone scored to equalise but Mislav Andjelkovic scored to hand Birkirkara a 4-3 win.

B’KARA Kristijan Naumovski, Edward Herrera, Lucas Maia, Fernando Barbosa Pereira, Mislav Andjelkovic, Jake Grech (102′ Neil Micallef), Kurt Zammit, Ognjen Rolovic (72′ Srdjan Dimitrov), Waldemar Acosta, Ryan Scicluna, Cain Attard.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Lian Formosa, Zack Cassar, Jordan Sciberras, Gianluca Zammit.
Coach: Paul Zammit

SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Mark Scerri, Stefano Bianciardi, Frank Temile, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte, Goran Adamovic, Edmond Agius, Nii Nortey Ashong, Jefferson de Assis (106′ Kurt Shaw), John Mintoff (39′ Michele Sansone), Matias Muchardi.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Peter Xuereb, Jonathan Pearson, Ryan Spiteri, Luke Borg.
Coach: John Buttigieg

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, William Debattista
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Darryl Agius
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Barbosa, Adamovic, Ashong, Scicluna, Correa
Attendance: 1,264