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Vittoriosa players are rising to the occasion, says Zammit

Jojo Ogunuppe (left) pushes past Vittoriosa’s Aleandro Sultana. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier


Vittoriosa Stars increased their unbeaten run in the BOV Challenge League to seven games on Sunday as they held league leaders Pembroke to a 1-1 draw at the Centenary Stadium. It was the Stars which opened proceedings in the first half with a goal from the spot, but Pembroke got their equaliser after producing a dominant second half display.

Despite not having made major changes in their squad for the 2020/21 season, Vittoriosa Stars have been one of the brightest teams so far in the division. With only one loss in nine games, the Cottonera side are looking a different side to last season’s team which was fighting against relegation.

One change which may appear to be bearing fruit is the appointment of coach Ramon Zammit.

Zammit voiced his satisfaction towards his players’ attitude after facing his former club Pembroke for the first time since leaving the club last season.

“I think in our division, there are many teams which are better than us on paper but I also believe that on the day, apart from talent you have to have courage and determination and that’s why bar one match from nine, we haven’t lost anything and this was not against any of the top teams. So, I think we’re doing well,” Zammit told the Times of Malta.

“My players are rising to the occasion and that is what we want from them – to give all that they know on the day. So, I can’t be anything but satisfied on days like this when we have a team which, on paper, appears weaker due to various factors but at the same time, deserves the points as much as the opponent.”

Leaders Pembroke, who are the only remaining unbeaten side in the division may rue missing out on all three points as second-placed Marsa are now just a point away with a game in hand. However, coach Thane Micallef insists his side would have deserved the win after their second-half display.

“The game was one in which, in the first half especially, we did not manage to express our football as we usually do,” Micallef admitted.

“One variable in play was the very windy conditions and we didn’t exploit that in the first half when it was in our favour. But in the second half, we produced a great reaction. We were a goal down against the currents and I believe we really saw the players’ character so I don’t think it would have been anything extraordinary had we taken all three points with the performance we had in the second half.”

The only real opportunity for both sides, in a particularly bland first half, came after the half-hour as Vittoriosa opened the score on 39 minutes.

Attempting to beat his marker, Luis De Melo Lima was tripped by Pembroke captain Andreas Galea right inside the area as referee Daniel Casha pointed to the spot. The Brazilian made no mistake to put his side ahead.

Pembroke responded late in the half from a Pedro Santos free-kick which fell to Abdul Temitope but his attempt to push the ball in from right in front of goal went wide.

The second half was more of Pembroke’s game as Vittoriosa goalkeeper Ryan Caruana was put to work ten minutes in, the latter making two accurate saves in a matter of seconds.

Pembroke had another shot saved by Caruana a few minutes later but were not to be denied as on 79 minutes, Kyle Frendo scored a deserved equaliser.

From a controversial corner decision, the ball fell to Frendo, who dribbled past one defender and hit past the Stars goalkeeper.

Momentum was now on Pembroke’s side as they nearly got another, five minutes from time. Temitope hit a shot from distance which hit the side-netting.

However, their best chance of the day came from substitute Lawrence Chidozie in the last minute as the Nigerian went on a solo run from half-way, chipped his marker and with only Caruara to beat, he attempted to do the same but his effort was too strong and the ball went too far for him to collect.

VITTORIOSA: R. Caruana, R. Previ, A. Galea, D. Sowatey, A. Sultana, J. Farrugia (63 L. Gauci), A. Mumford (46 Q. Bregman), I. Curmi (46 A. Oularbi), D. Borg Castaldi, G. Sultana, L. De Melo (81 K. Caruana).
PEMBROKE: P. Schranz, M. Borg, D. Sant, K. Farrugia, T. Fenech, G. Attard (46 K. Aquilina), K. Frendo, P. Santos (46 J. Etim), M. Brincat, A. Temitope, J. Ogunuppe (77 L.
Referee: Daniel Casha
Scorers: De Melo (V) 39 pen.; Frendo (P) 79.
Best player: Luis De Melo Lima (Vittoriosa Stars).



MARSAXLOKK: F. Tabone, C. Degabriele (90 D. Sammut), G. Barone, N. Ghio (90 R. Sammut), D. Cartella, P. Doffo, I. Paz, J. Spiteri (90 M. Borg Bartolo), B. Sciberras (90 Z. Mifsud), C. Brincat, R. Fenech (90 J.P. Misud Triganza).
QORMI: J. Vella, O. Sidibe, D. Perassolli, L. Mallia (46 L. Azzopardi), I. Micallef (75 A. Bonnici), R. Caruana, N. meli, J. Mizzi, I. Mizzi, N. Gauci, L. Farrugia.
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Scorers: Paz 3, 90; Mifsud Triganza 90+pen.
Red card: J. Mizzi (Q) 102.


MQABBA: J. Grech, N. Falzon, G. Mannino, D. Pace (65 J. Azzopardi), J. Castano, K. Cutajar (77 L. Farrugia), R. Cutajar (65 G. Micallef), R. Spiteri, D. Micallef, G. Cesani, B. Sciberras.
PIETÀ HOTSPURS: M. Chetcuti, L. Cassar Jackson, M. Portelli, N. Pace Cocks, J. Ghio, D. Segura (83 G. Borg), C. Bouvet, C. Ze Lucas, S. Mizzi, J. Irimiya, J. Scicluna.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Scorers: Castano (M) 4, 94; Ghio (P) 23


QRENDI: C. Abdilla, L. Martinelli, E. Vella (67 J. Busuttil), S. Schembri, A. Agius, D. Azzopardi, C. Camilleri, S. Perdomo, D. Sammut (74 N. Pabon), L. Schembri, D. Bueno.
ST GEORGE’S: J. Azzopardi, R. Tanti, M. Caruana, R. Mandic, A. Gili J. Grech, O. Magro, L. Bonett, D. Serna, D. Caruana, C. Kelechi (78 A. Hili).
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Scorers: Bueno (Q) 37 pen.; Bonett (S) 77; Perdomo (Q) 83.


FGURA: B. Bartolo, C. Ciantar, J. Stense, S. Abela (68 R. Gove), JP. Attard, T. Grech, G. Martin (79 S. Hili), J.R. Vella, J. Cassar, N. Ojuola, G. Galea.
NAXXAR: O. Borg, M. Fenech, M. Mifsud (32 N. Borg), E. Farias, E. Ferreira, A. Azzopardi (46 R. Mercieca), R. Cassar, J. Ellul, F. Zuniga (71 T. Battaglia), S. Meilak, B. Schembri (46 A. Azzopardi, 85 J. Sciberras).
Referee: Stefan Pace.
Scorers: Abela 10, 41.


MARSA: N. Vella, P. Chircop, C. Gatt Baldacchino, J. Bondin, M. Micallef, D. Grima, A. Monticelli (77 R. Coelho), J. Lima, L. Grech (46 P. Teixeira), P. Santos (46 I. Zammit, 94 S. Diacono), L. Micallef (65 M. Busuttil).
ŻEBBUĠ: A. Benjelloun, G. Azzopardi (56 T. Bartolo), G. Gesualdi, J. Micallef, R. Vella, C. Gauci, A. Mizzi, J. Carbone, J. Silveira, L. Mijic, S. Miloskovic (56 S. Bugeja).
Referee: Shaun Calleja
Scorer: Monticelli 49.


SAN GWANN: C. Formosa, J. Bowman (70 N. Sultana), D. Fava, L. Mallia, C. Gauci, P. Kanzurov (70 A. Falzon), O. Spiteri, Z. Bowman, A. Zammit (85 D. Mifsud), C. Gauci, C. Umeh.
ST ANDREWS: D. Formosa, M. Muscat, N. Bradshaw (45 J. Sixsmith), M. Vella Vidal (64 S. Cassar Torregiani), J. Farrugia, R. Micallef Decesare, M. Bartolo, A. Borg Olivier, Z. Muscat, D. Jackson, K. Bituemi.
Referee: Glen Tonna.
Scorers: Vella Vidal (SA) 60; Zammit (SG) 74 pen.

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