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Gżira United keep their poise to overcome Sirens’ challenge

Gżira United striker Jefferson (left) looks for an opening against Sirens. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi


Gavrila 40 pen.


Jefferson 29, Pisani 48, Messias 80


J. Debono-6, B. Gavrila-5.5 (64 D. Jackson), K. Reid-5.5, F. Brandan-6, D. Albanese-5.5, A. Borg-6, J. Walker-7, C. Zammit Lonardelli-6 (73 A. Effiong), A .Cini-6 (83 C. Borg), F. Avoce-4, C. Riascos-6.5 (83 R. Tachikawa).


D. Radelic-5, G. Bohrer-5, L. Tabone-5, N. Muscat-6, S. Pisani-7, Z. Scerri-5, Y. Messias-7 (90 M. Davis), N. Portelli-5, Maxuell-6.5 (84 E. Mbong), Jefferson-6 (68 C. Gauci), J. Mendoza-6.5.

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann.

Yellow cards: Albanese, Bohrer, Radelic, Scerri,

BOV man of the match: Steve Pisani (Gżira United).

Gżira United moved up to fifth place in the Premier League standings as Darren Abdilla’s side had the better of Sirens. In doing so, they recorded consecutive wins for the first time this season.

It had looked to be Gżira’s night from the beginning, but the Maroons defensive frailties gave Sirens a way back in the first half.

But Steve Pisani fired Gżira into an early second-half lead with a sweetly-struck shot. Then, Yuri Messias wrapped up proceedings with a deserved goal.

The same players in the same formation will deliver the same goods against Gżira United, Winston Muscat must have thought as he wanted to put the same starting XI that beat Floriana, to the point that Alex Cini took to the pitch with a heavily-bandaged head.

Gżira were boosted with the return of Brazilian defender Gabriel Bohrer in the only change made by the Maroons from the team that defeated Gudja United 3-2.

Gżira started at a furious pace and should have converted their supremacy into goals in the opening 15 minutes.

Jefferson saw his powerful header from Yuri Messias’s stinging free-kick beaten away by the alert Jonathan Debono.

At the other end, Darijan Radelic made a fine stop from Kemar Reid’s shot. Then, Sirens lively midfielder Fernando Brandan saw a long-range strike fly just wide.

Gżira snatched back the initiative in clinical fashion with a sweeping move just shy the half hour mark.

Nikolai Muscat rolled a neat pass for Jefferson who ran clear down the right before drilling a right-foot shot beyond Debono.

Sirens continued to look dangerous but the Maroons would never have expected to concede in the most atrocious circumstances.

Bohrer looked to have cleared any danger when he deflected a looping pass by Jacob Walker backwards, but his attempted back pass fell straight to Brandan, who was hauled down to the ground by Radelic. Bogdan Gavrila cooly stepped up to convert the resulting penalty kick.   

Minutes later, Maxuell was left free in the Sirens box to clip Jefferson’s cross from the right but Debono saved brilliantly. Then, Muscat smashed a volley high and wide from a favourable position.

As the second half began, Gżira continued to threaten, with Jefferson’s incisive runs causing Sirens trouble.

But it was Steve Pisani who seized the initiative. On 48 minutes, the Malta midfielder appeared to pose little danger as he received the ball well outside the area but the Sirens defenders were left stunned as Pisani hit a low drive into the net.

To their credit, Sirens nver lost heart and Muscat threw on Degran Jackson and Alfred Effiong to try and grab a point at least.

But any hope of a Sirens revival snuffed out ten minutes from time when Messias ran through the Sirens defence and hit a rising shot past Debono.

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