A Patricia Lamanna brace helped Birkirkara inch closer towards their 10th domestic championship, on Wednesday. The Stripes overcame Kirkop United’s test with a 2-1 victory which allowed them to open a nine-point lead at the top of the pile with four games left. Mġarr United’s slim title hopes continue to fade after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of an in-form Raiders Lija side.
Melania Bajada’s side forged ahead through Canadian forward Lamanna early in the game after capitalising on an Alishia Sultana’s cross. This was the league’s 100th goal in 2022 as well. Moments later, Kirkop’s Rodianne Zerafa levelled terms, for her sixth goal of the season.
Birkirkara, however, restored their lead with their winning goal just before half-time through Lamanna who has now increased her goal tally to seven goals in four games with the Stripes.
Bajada’s team have now moved to 40 points with a positive goal difference of 59 goals. In the process, the Kirkop win ensured Birkirkara to stretch their league unbeaten run to 64 games – five away from the domestic record set by Hibernians.
Three of Birkirkara’s next four games include direct encounters against Raiders, second-place Mġarr and Swieqi.
KIRKOP Raisa Costantino, Ingrid Psaila, Jeanelle Falzon, Celine Galea, Sarah Urpani (Mariah Schembri), Mirea Ellul (Francesca Borg), Kathryn Ellul (Federica Zahra), Aleksandra Georgieva, Alessia Caschetto, Yolande Attard, Rodianne Zerafa.
B’KARA Isabel Sanchez Bacaicoa, Gabriella Zahra, Ann-Marie Said, Stephania Farrugia (Kimberly Parnis), Alishia Sultana, Raina Giusti, Yasmeen-Marie Bajada, Charlene Zammit, Michela Felice, Sara Saliba (Tracy Teuma), Patricia Lamanna.
Referee: Paula Buttigieg
Meanwhile, Mġarr’s title hopes were dealt a heavy blow as two first-half goals from a Laura Muscat’s cross shot and a Leah Ayres’close-range effort handed Raiders another impressive win this season, having already beaten Swieqi in this campaign.
Forward Ayres has now become the fourth player to reach the double-digit tally in this season’s league’s scoring charts.
Denis Guerra’s side remain joint-third with Swieqi on 25 points as they set their sights on next Monday’s clash with Birkirkara, in an attempt to upset the remaining big gun of the league.
RAIDERS Giulia D’Antuono, Rebecca Vella, Sarah Caruana, Monique Sultana, Laura Muscat (Michela Bonello Ghio), Miriana Conti (Sabrin Blihi), Maya Lucia (Georgiana Mifsud), Gaia Antonelli, Leah Alice Ayres, Clara Padilla Chozas, Anna Aloisio.
MGARR Patricia Ebejer, Abigail Camilleri, Leslye Nicole Espinel Bautista, Keeva Caoimhe Camilleri (Juliana Dogg Onnudottir Chipa), Francesca Chircop, Rodiana Borg, Daniela Said Ebejer (Mirayah Aquilina).
Referee: Vladimir Rizoski
Meanwhile, Swieqi hit nine past Mtarfa to register their eighth win of the season. American forward Alexis Espitia scored a brace while the other winter signings in Rafanny Mendoza – her maiden Swieqi goal – and Fernanda Peinado – the 30th scored by a foreigner this season – grabbed a goal each. The other scorers were Chloe Ann Ellul, Amy Busuttil, Iulia Mifsud – her first senior goal, Demi Magrin and Jessica Dimech.
SWIEQI Jodie Attard, Chloe Ann Ellul (Emma Xuereb), Rafanny Andreina Mendoza Abache, Jessica Lee Dimech, Fernanda Dos Santos Peinado, Mandy Debono (Ylenia Grech), Michaela Cachia (Demi Magrin), Amy Busuttil (Iulia Mifsud), Jade Schembri, Tammy Falzon, Alexis Veronica Espitia (Eunice Micallef)
MTARFA Justine De Giorgio, Lorna Maria Cassar, Sarah Cassar, Kristine Camilleri, Brooke Zarb, Kelsey Ann Vella, Shania Marie Spiteri, Rebecca Zammit, Chanelle Agius, Estelle Borg, Kaia Piccinino.
Referee: Stefania Bonnici