ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 2
PIETÀ HOTSPURS 0
P. Sanchez, Ederson, S. Borg, M. Guillaumier, L. Montebello-6.5 (70 Dodo), E. Mashike, M. Fedele-6.5 (Z. Azzopardi), O. Bjelicic-6 (56 R. Callegari), Jonny-7 (70 S. Attard), E. Marcelina, R. Camenzuli.
R. Cini, S. Okoh (46 J. Ghio), C. Bangura, S. Mizzi-6 (78 T. Agius), Y. Ito, K. Briffa (46 D. Zerafa), Z. Leonardi, G. Ogungbe, S. Camara (46 K. Leonardi), B. Aboa-5 (68 Y. Morita), T. Yamaguchi.
Referee Ezekiel Barbara.
Missed penalty: Dodo (ĦS) 80.
Yellow cards: Camara, Z. Leonardi, Borg, Agius.
Ħamrun Spartans broke little sweat to see off neighbours Pietà Hotspurs in a one-sided encounter at the National Stadium.
Goals from Jonny and Elvis Mashike were enough for the Spartans to clinch their second successive win of the season and preserve their 100 per cent record.
Coach Branko Nisevic rotated his squad, given league full debuts to goalkeeper Pablo Sanchez, midfielder Matteo Fedele and striker Luke Montebello but they proved too strong for the Hotspurs who struggled to keep the pace with their opponents.
Ħamrun Spartans dominated proceedings right from the outset and it was no surprise that they took the lead after 12 minutes
Ryan Camenzuli sent a low cross from the right and in came Jonny who stabbed the ball past Reeves Cini, the Pieta Hotspurs goalkeeper.
The Spartans continued to dominate and on 20 minutes they doubled their lead.
Eder’s cross was cleared into the path of Matthew Guillaumier who hit a first-time shot that was deflected past Cini by Elvis Mashike.
Pieta Hotspurs finally threatened on 34 minutes when the young Zean Leonardi connected to Yasukaze’s delivery from a corner kick but his header just missed the upright with Pablo Sanchez beaten.
At the other end, Cini had to dive full stretch to keep out Jonny’s shot.
Six minutes from the break, Montebello made space for himself on the left and his deflected cross was met by Mashike with the ball finishing just wide.
On the restart, Hotspurs coach Rodney Bugeja made three changes after the break as Daniel Zerafa, Jake Ghio and Kian Leonardi replaced Kurt Briffa, Samuel Okoh, and Sekou Camara.
The match lost much of its intensity after the break with the Spartans happy to administer their advantage while Pieta tried without much success.
On 67 minutes, Rodrigo Callegari, who had earlier replaced Ognjen Bjelicic, headed just wide from a Fedele corner kick.
Ten minutes from time, the Hotspurs should have pulled a goal back when Ito’s throughball found Yamaguchi unmarked inside the area but the Japanese was denied by the onrushing Sanchez.
Ħamrun could have added a third ten minutes from time when substitute Dodo was upended inside the area by Terence Agius but from the resultant penalty the Cape Verde forward saw his shot coming off the upright.
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