ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 2
Borg 24; Dodo 74
A. Cassar-7; Weder-6, M. Pereira-6 (71 S. Sessegnon), K. Sano-6, R. Tachikawa-7, S. Cipriott-6, A. Borg-7, A. Cini-6, V. Bento-6 (64 Wellington), I. Kolev-6, D. Jackson-6.
P. Sanchez-6.5; Ederson-6, S. Borg-6.5, M. Guillaumier-6, L. Montebello-6 (87 S. Xerri), E. Mashike-6 (56 Dodo-6), R. Callegari-6, M. Fedele-6 (56 Vinicius-6), Jonny-6.5 (90 S. Attard), E. Marcelina-7, R. Camenzuli-6.5.
Referee Alex Johnson.
Yellow cards Jackson, Cipriott, Ederson.
BOV Player of the Match Emerson Marcelina (Ħamrun Spartans).
Ħamrun Spartans maintained their perfect start after a Steve Borg first-half goal and Dodo’s strike after the interval handed Branko Nisevic’s side three important points against Sirens.
It was a hard-fought win as Sirens gave the Spartans a good run for their money, especially after Ħamrun took the lead midway through the first half.
Winston Muscat’s side created a few chances where they could have salvaged a point but the Spartans made sure to keep them at bay and secure their fourth win on the trot.
For this game, Ħamrun coach Nisevic again deployed Pablo Sanchez between the sticks as Malta international Henry Bonello made his return from injury but was only included among the substitutes.
Borg, Matthew Guillaumier, Luke Montebello and Ryan Camenzuli were all in the starting formation in the league’s final game before they join the Maltese squad for the decisive tie in the UEFA Nations League against Estonia.
Sirens, on their part, remain with two points after four games.
In the closing stages of the game, the St Paul’s Bay side handed the second league game to Stephane Sessegnon who joined the club during the summer transfer window.
Ħamrun Spartans came out of the blocks stronger than Sirens as they piled the pressure on their opponents from the start.
Emerson Marcelina came closest to put the Spartans when first he lobbed the ball over the bar from a free kick before guiding a corner kick into the near post only to be denied by Andrea Cassar.
It looked only a matter of time that a goal would come and the Spartans managed to convert their pressure when captain Steve Borg hit a first timer from a corner kick into the far post for his first goal of the season.
Sirens replied through Ivan Kolev but his overhead kick sailed over Pablo Sanchez’ bar. Moments later, Marcelo Pereira tried his luck from long-range but his short was not on target.
As the Spartans eased the pressure after their opener, Sirens were looking to inch up their way and next chance came through Rei Tachikawa whose header glanced past Sanchez’ goal.
After the change of ends, it was Sirens who created the first goalscoring opportunity through Tachikawa whose header went wide.
Nisevic’s side could not find any rhythm to go forward with Sirens continuing to create chances, with Sean Cipriott trying his luck from outside the area but to no avail.
The Spartans did come close to double their lead when Jonny was at the end of a long ball from the back but his low drive went inches wide from Cassar’s goal.
Sanchez came to Ħamrun’s rescue when he blocked a Kei Sano’s volley from inside the small area, just after the hour mark.
Nonetheless, the Spartans scored their second goal through Dodo who beat goalkeeper Cassar from close-range to seal the victory for his side.
Sessegnon, formerly of Paris Saint-Germain and Sunderland, almost pulled one back for Sirens when his free kick struck the crossbar.
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