Alves 60, Ribeiro 90
G. Nava-6, E. Pepe-6, D. Pires-5 (46 N. Micallef), A. Alves-7, Y. Yankam-5.5, P. Mbong-5.5 (90 O. Iorio), K. Zammit-5.5, F. Falcone (27 E. Cabrera) (80 D. Ribeiro), C. Attard-5.5, A. Coppola-5.5, K. Tulimieri-6.5.
A. Cassar-5.5, G. Camilleri-5.5 (75 J. Walker), W. Soares-5.5, M. Pereira Muniz-6 (65 W. De Oliveira), K. Sano-5.5, R. Tachikawa-6, S. Cipriott-6, A. Cini-6, P. Vyctor-6 (D. Promise), I. Kolev-5.5, G. Ventura-5.5.
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann.
Yellow cards: W. Soares, M. Muniz, D. Pires, Alves.
BOV Player of the Match: Alex Alves (Birkirkara).
Birkirkara bagged their first three points of the season as they scored twice in the second half to beat Sirens 2-0.
The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the first half but once the Stripes managed to take the lead, they kept their opponents under control, adding another deep into stoppage time.
New Birkirkara coach Giovanni Tedesco named new signings goalkeeper Giacomo Nava, Diego Pires Dall’Oca, Alessandro Coppola, Alex Alves and Kevin Tulimieri in the starting line-up, including another three new recruits, Osvaldo Iorio, Enzo Daniel Cabrera and Denis Custodio Ribeiro as substitutes.
Sirens, on the other hand, had just two players from last season’s squad in the starting eleven as they had Andrea Cassar, Gary Camilleri, Sean Cipriott, Weder Soares, Marcelo Muniz, Kei Sano, Paulo Vyctor Bento, Ivan Kolev and Gabriel Fernandes all making their debut. Coach Winston Muscat included another two new faces, Wellington De Oliveria and Promise Oluwatobi, during the second half.
Birkirkara went close after just five minutes when Kurt Zammit delivered a cross from the right but Federico Falcone’s header was parried by Andrea Cassar.
On 32 minutes, the Stripes almost forged ahead as Kevin Tulimieri, served on the left by Da Paixao, had a powerful drive deflected by a defender onto the crossbar and into a corner.
Sirens threatened with a cross from the right by Gary Camilleri on 39 minutes from which Ivan Kolev hit high from close range and three minutes later, in a swift counter-attack for the St. Paul’s Bay side, Paulo Vyctor concluded a good run with a powerful shot from outside the area which was parried by Birkirkara goalkeeper Giacomo Nava.
Three minutes in the second half, Sirens went close once again with a corner by Paulo Vyctor from the right and Weder Soares served Rei Tachikawa who hit just wide.
Birkirkara managed to break the deadlock on the hour. Alessandro Coppola’s powerful freekick was partially saved by Andrea Cassar and off the rebound, Alex da Paixao Alves drilled the ball home.
Sirens failed to react and the Stripes almost Enrico Pepe headed just wide off an inviting freekick by Tulimieri on 79 minutes.
Two minutes from time, Yannick Yankam tested the Sirens custodian with a shot from outside the area as the Stripes kept pushing for a second goal.
However, five minutes in added time, Birkirkara were not to be denied as they sealed the issue with a second goal. Alex Alves sent Denis Custodio Ribeiro through and the latter slotted the ball past Cassar from the edge of the area.
Photo: Stephen Gatt
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