Erjon Beu notched a hat-trick as ten-man Lija Athletic defeated Senglea Athletic 4-0 at the Centenary Stadium on Sunday.
It was an impressive win for the newly-promoted side led by coach Joseph Galea despite having a player sent off early in the game.
Both sides had a number of players making their debut. Fernando Javier Brandan, Miguel Perez Jimenez, Juan Cruz Gill, Gonzalo Nicolas Virano,Valdo Goncalves Alhinho and substitute Ryan Darmanin were making their first appearance for Lija. On the other hand, Senglea had just two players from last season’s team in their starting line-up apart from coach Ryan Newell who was also making his debut.
Lija were reduced to ten men on the 18th minute when Carl Cassar received marching orders by referee Andrea Sciriha for a foul on Kevaughn Atkinson, denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Erjon Beu put Lija ahead on the 35th minute thanks to a great freekick which stunned goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
Two minutes later, Beu doubled the score after he received a through pass by Fernando Brandan and slotted the ball past the Senglea goalkeeper.
Seven minutes in the second half, Miguel Perez Jimenez increased the lead after concluding a solo effort with a low shot which beat Farrugia.
Erjon Beu adding another on the 55th after receiving an assist by Brandan, placing the ball at the back of the net.
LIJA Luke Bonnici, Carl Cassar, Leon Muscat, Daniel Scerri (22′ McAllister Clinch), Erjon Beu (85′ Clayton Giordimaina), Fernando Javier Brandan (74′ Harry Wood), Miguel Perez Jimenez (74′ Ryan Darmanin), Juan Cruz Gill, Gonzalo Nicolas Virano, Andre White, Valdo Goncalves Alhinho.
Subs not used: Dylan Galea, Ryan Dalli, Gianluca Zammit.
Coach: Joseph Galea
Asst. Coach: Matthew Genuis
SENGLEA Matthew Farrugia, Nikola Terzin, Zach Cassar, Alan Abela, Clyde Borg, Kevaughn Atkinson (84′ Luca Brincat), Ronny Paul Song Bahanag (74′ Daneel Abela), Igor Misan, Uros Parezanin, Chris Zwivhuya Matombo (57′ Jan Tanti), Junior Dibola Diwoto.
Subs not used: Dorian Bugeja, Joseph Attard, Andre Scicluna, Lee Galea.
Coach: Ryan Newell
Asst. Coach: Noel Azzopardi
Referee: Andrea Sciriha
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Duncan Spencer
Fourth Official: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Abela, Clinch, Borg
Red Cards: 18′ Carl Cassar
BOV Player of the Match: Erjon Beu