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Pietà’s last-gasp draw ‘gives us a lot of courage’, says Spiteri

Pieta Hotspurs' Sheldon Mizzi (right) hits the ball while marked by Pembroke Athleta's Pedro Santos. Photo: Wally Galea


Pietà Hotspurs held second-placed Pembroke Athleta to a 3-3 draw with an injury time equaliser at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Sunday.

It was a thrilling comeback which Hotspurs coach Brian Spiteri said gives them a lot of courage.

“The difference between the first and second half was the amount of space we gave our opponents,” Spiteri told the Times of Malta.

“In my opinion, (Pembroke) have among the best foreign players in this division. We don’t have this luxury apart from the fact that we’ve only just come out of a COVID-19 situation in which we had eight players missing.

“In today’s game, we recovered three but had another two out through suspension. What we have, I believe, is a group of young players who are full of enthusiasm and are willing to learn.”

For Pembroke, this will be a lesson as the side had been 3-1 ahead before the break but dropped two important points which had looked in the bag.

Athleta coach Thane Micallef believes his side controlled the match well but lamented certain mistakes which will serve in good stead for future games.

“Performance-wise, in the first half I think we were the best team on the pitch and the two-goal advantage shows that. In the second half, I still think we controlled the game well but unfortunately, we made some defensive mistakes which got Pietà back into the game. Then a bit later, there was the red card incident which obviously put more pressure on us.

“We need to learn not to make these kinds of mistakes so that in a game like this, we can close off the contest earlier.”

It took Pembroke only 13 minutes to go ahead. On the counter, Peter Paul Sammut cut inside from the flank and his angled shot stunned Pietà goalkeeper Jacob Chircop St John.

The Reds looked more settled into the game as play became centered within their opponents’ half as it looked like Pietà were inviting unnecessary pressure with their slow transitions.

They did respond, however, with a Diego Segura run on 18 minutes, the Colombian dribbling past three players and forcing a great save from Pembroke’s Philip Schranz.

James Scicluna restored parity just before the half-hour, as the pacey forward was pushed inside the area and was handed a shot from the spot by referee Shaun Calleja. The Malta U-21 international smashed the ball into the top of the net.

This parity did not last long as on 30 minutes, Pembroke went ahead again. It was Sammut again, this time with a header, meeting a cross from Pedro

As if this wasn’t enough to show Pembroke’s dominance in the opening half, a swift backheel pass from Abdul Temitope to Sammut, lead to him repaying the favour as he passed to Santos outside the area and the latter fired into the top corner.

The Reds continued in similar fashion after the change of ends with Chircop St John making lifesaving stops for Pietà while they had to make do without scorer Scicluna who was forced off injured after a collision with Kane Paul Farrugia.

Farrugia made the clearance of the day soon after as a Segura free-kick was only partially saved by Schranz and while Sheldon Mizzi tried to tap the ball in, Farrugia slid to keep the ball out.

Segura got on the scoresheet on 73 minutes with another solo run as he fired past Schranz as Pietà were back in the game.

Pressure was mounting on Pembroke as after only a minute after conceding, substitute Kyle Sciberras Balbi was sent off for a second yellow card.

Pietà suffered another injury with 15 minutes to go as Caetano Ze Lucas had to be taken off the pitch on a stretcher.

But the Hotspurs soldiered on and Ishaya Jalo, celebrating his 100th game with the club, nearly got his side level but his shot went wide on 88 minutes.

In stoppage time, Pietà got the point they wanted as Segura’s freekick was deflected into the net.

PIETÀ HOTSPURS: J. Chircop St. John, S. Okoh, L. Cassar Jackson (85 E. Camilleri), M. Portelli, D. Segura, C. Ze Lucas (78 J. Scerri), S. Mizzi, Z. Leonardi, I. Jalo, J. Scicluna (54 L. Scicluna), L. Galea.
PEMBROKE ATHLETA: P. Schranz, K. Farrugia, J. Ogunuppe (65 L. Chiedozie), P. Santos (75 A. Marshall), N. Frendo, A. Temitope (65 J. Etim), T. Fenech, J. Bajada, P. Sammut (70 M. Zarb), M. Borg (46 K. Sciberras Balbi), C. Zammit.
Referee: Shaun Calleja.
Best Player: Diego Segura (Pietà Hotspurs).



QRENDI: C. Abdilla, D. Zarb, B. Muscat, A. Nilsson, D. Sammut, A. Agius, D. Bueno (88 N. Pabon), S. Perdomo, M. Gatt, C. Camilleri, J. Cachia (63 S. Schembri).
SAN ĠWANN: C. Formosa, L. Mallia (89 N. Sultana), C. Gauci, S. Kuyper (71 P. Kanzurov), O. Spiteri, Z. Bowman, C. Gauci, U. Calistus, G. Pace, A. Falzon (50 D. Mifsud), Q. Adediran.
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Scorers: Kuyper (S) 8; Adediran (S) 34, 52; Perdomo (Q) 55.


FGURA UNITED: B. Bartolo, J. Stensen, J. Barbara, S. Abela (77 T. Grech), J.P. Attard, S. Nanapere (68 S. Hili), J. Vella, J. Cassar, D. Caruana, N. Ojuola, D. Quintero.
ST ANDREWS: N. Grima, I. Azzopardi, L. Grech (82 M. Muscat), J. Farrugia, R. Micallef Decesare, M. Bartolo (82 N. Bradshaw), S. Cassar Torregiani, A. Borg Olivier, J. Sixsmith (72 Z. Muscat), W. Camilleri, G. Stefansson (59 M. Vella Vidal).
Referee: Ezekiel Barbara
Scorers: Caruana (F) 22; Camilleri (S) 44, 80 og; Quintero (F) 47 pen.; Cassar Torregiani (S) 65; Bradshaw (S) 90; Hili (F) 90+.
Red card: Hili (F) 90.


MQABBA: J. Grech (49 M. Buhagiar), D. Zampa, N. Falzon, G. Mannino, R. Cutajar (46 S. Pisani), R. Spiteri, D. Micallef, B. Sciberras (89 F. Zammit), G. Azzopardi (68 J. Azzopardi), G. Bugeja, G. Micallef.
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS: M. Grech, S. Bugeja, J. Micallef, T. Bartolo (70 S. Gauci), A. Mizzi, J. Silveira, C. Gauci, K. Bondin (60 L. Mijic), K. Atkinson, S. Miloskovic (60 K. Tanti), G. Gesualdi.
Referee: Daniel Portelli
Red cards: Gauci (Z) 28; G. Micallef (M) 90.


NAXXAR: O. Borg, A. Azzopardi, R. Cassar, E. Farias, M. Fenech, S. Meilak, R. Mercieca, M. Mifsud (90 A. Azzopardi), B. Schembri (54 J. Sciberras), W. Zamble (75 J. Tenorio).
QORMI: M. Falzon, A. Ayoub (59 R. Uriu), O. Sidibe, A. Oliveira, L. Farrugia (18 M. Busuttil), N. Gauci, N. Meli, I. Mizzi (73 G. Borg), J. Mizzi, I. Zammit, L. Gatt.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Scorers: Schembri 23 pen.; Tenorio 89.
Red card: Zammit (Q) 76.


VITTORIOSA STARS: R. Caruana, C. Spiteri, I. Abela, J. Farrugia, Q. Bregman, A. Cilia Mumford, D. Sowatey, R. Dalli (85 D. Serna), A. Oularbi, R. Farias (85 L. Gauci) D. Borg Castaldi.
MARSA: N. Vella, P. Chircop (85 I. Zammit), M. Busuttil, M. Micallef, J. Lima, C. Gatt Baldacchino, P. Teixeira (62 R. Coelho), L. Grech (73 L. Micallef), F. Gusman, D. Agius (46 J. Galea), P. Santos (85 A. Monticelli).
Referee: Alex Johnson
Scorers: Farias (V) 26 pen.; Chircop (M) 50; L. Micallef (M) 89; Gauci (V) 90.
Red cards: Farrugia (V), Galea (M) 66.

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