A second-half goal from Veronique Mifsud proved enough for Birkirkara to defeat title rivals Mġarr United and open a three-point lead at the top of the MFA Women’s League. Matchday 11, however, was not special for Birkirkara only but also for Mtarfa who after 24 winless games recorded their first ever victory in the senior women’s league.
Led by coach Melania Bajada, Birkirkara now lead with 28 points while Mġarr now drop to second as they remain on 25.
The Stripes and the Greens sparked the game into life from the opening stages but as time went by, it was Birkirkara who dominated proceedings and eventually made their pressure count.
Photos: Copyright Mark Zammit Cordina
For this game, Birkirkara welcomed the return of Stephania Farrugia at the heart of the backline and forward Raina Giusti who completed the offensive trio that included also youth Sara Saliba – who assisted Mifsud’s all-important goal.
18-year-old midfielder Mifsud has now scored six goals this season, including three in the last three outings for Birkirkara.
This victory enabled Birkirkara to extend their league unbeaten run to 60 games. They are nine away from matching the domestic record set by Hibernians while maintaining the fifth longest and active run across European football.
Mġarr, on their part, conceded the first goal of the season as the efforts of league’s top scorers Francesca Chircop and Brenda Borg were kept at bay.
Coach Michael Mangion handed a debut to newcomer Julianna Onudottir, the Icelandic winger who joined during the winter transfer window. The 2000-born player was deployed from the start for the Greens.
B’KARA Janice Xuereb, Gabriella Zahra, Ann-Marie Said, Stephania Farrugia, Tracy Teuma, Alishia Sultana, Raina Giusti (Ileana Farrugia), Veronique Mifsud, Yasmeen-Marie Bajada, Charlene Zammit, Sara Saliba (Mariah Cardona).
MGARR Patricia Ebejer, Abigail Camilleri, Maia Melanie Debono, Francesca Chircop, Angelique Schembri, Rodiana Borg, Juliana Dogg Onnudottir Chipa (Caoimhe Camilleri), Jasmine Vella Turner, Leanne Cefai, Rebecca Bajada, Brenda Borg.
Referee: Jo-Anna Vassallo
Meanwhile, Mtarfa registered an important milestone in their short history as a women’s team after an unfortunate goal from the San Ġwann goalkeeper earned them a narrow 1-0 victory.
Mtarfa, led by coach Simon Spiteri, are now on four points as they leapfrogged San Ġwann who are now anchored at the bottom with just one point to show for their efforts.
This win also allowed Mtarfa to score their first goal of the season while keeping a clean sheet for the second time in this campaign against the same opponents following the 0-0 draw of the first round.
MTARFA Dorienne Grech, Lorna Maria Cassar, Sarah Cassar, Brooke Zarb (Shakira Bugeja), Victoria Sciberras, Kelsey Ann Vella (Sarah Cassar Dymond), Julianne Camilleri, Shana Marie Spiteri, Rebecca Zammit, Estelle Borg, Darya Attard (Kirsty Paris).
SAN GWANN Alayah Borg, Annabelle Rapa, Lara Mae Vella, Daniela Camilleri, Lynn Mifsud, Rhea Borg, Yulya Carella, Martina Schembri, Sarah Cioffi, Janice Spiteri (Yana Scicluna), Nicole Saliba.
Referee: Stefania Bonnici
In the remaining game of the week, Swieqi United hit Kirkop United for six to chalk up their third win on the trot.
Shona Zammit scored a goal in each half for the only brace of the week. Chloe Ann Ellul had doubled Swieqi’s lead in the first half before second-half goals from Dorianne Theuma, Jade Flask and Andy Zammit Mizzi wrapped up the victory.
In this game, Swieqi had another debutant in American forward Alexis Espitia who joined during the winter transfer window.
KIRKOP Raisa Costantino, Ingrid Psaila, Thea Difesa (Federica Zahra), Mirea Ellul (Jeanelle Falzon), Katryn Ellul, Aleksandra Georgieva (Mariah Schembri), Alessia Caschetto, Yolande Attard, Marie Claire Cilia, Emma Zammit (Sarah Urpani), Rodianne Zerafa.
SWIEQI Jodie Attard, Chloe Ann Ellul, Jessica Lee Dimech, Dorianne Theuma, Kayleigh Chetcuti (Amy Busuttil), Jade Flask, Fernanda dos Santos Peinado (Alexis Veronica Espitia), Shona Zammit, Jade Schembri (Andy Zammit Mizzi), Demi Magrin (Emma Xuereb), Chantelle Grech.
Referee: Elaine Bonnici
In the Women’s Under-20 League, leaders Birkirkara registered another fine win as they beat Swieqi United 6-1. Raiders Lija kept the pace with the leaders thanks to an 8-0 win over San Gwann. On the other hand, Kirkop United and Mgarr United shared the spoils in a goalless draw.
In the Women’s Under-16 League, Swieqi United and Birkirkara continue to share the top spot after the top-of-the-table clash ended in a goalless draw. Mtarfa Zebbug kept the pace with the top two with a 5-0 win over Raiders Lija. Kirkop United defeated Mgarr United 3-0 while San Gwann beat Hibernians 4-3 in the other two matches.