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Birkirkara and Gżira United forced to settle for a point

Birkirkara's Enzo Cabrera (left) races past Luis Riascos. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Match suspended for 48 minutes due to waterlogged pitch

BIRKIRKARA   1         

Mbong 20

GŻIRA UNITED           1         

Maxuell 10


G. Nava-5.5 (46 A. Sylla-6), O. Iorio-6, E. Pepe-6.5, A. Da Paixao-6, Y. Yankam-6.5, P. Mbong-6.5 (85 D. Ribeiro), K. Zammit-5.5, C. Attard-5.5, S. Zibo-6, A. Coppola-5.5, K. Tulimieri-5.5 (71 E. Cabrera).


D. Zarkov-6, G. Bohrer-6, L. Tabone-6.5, Z. Scerri-6, N. Muscat-5.5 (46 S. Pisani), Z. Scerri-5.5, M. Dias-6, L. Riascos-5.5, T. Kolega-5.5, M. Cosic-5.5, M. Maia-6, J. De Assis-6.5.

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri.

Yellow cards: Coppola, Jefferson, Pepe

BOV Player of the Match:  Jefferson (Gżira United).

Gżira United and Birkirkara had to settle for a point each as the clash between the two rivals ended in a 1-1 draw.

It was a balanced encounter between two teams who were eager for the three points.

While Gżira needed the points in their bid to stay close to leaders Ħamrun Spartans, Birkirkara were hoping to return to winning ways after failing to win in the previous five matches.

This draw, therefore, means that the Stripes have now gone six matches without a win.

Giovanni Tedesco opted for two changes from the team which drew with Hibernians as they welcomed back Cain Attard and Alessandro Coppola. On the other hand, Luis Riascos was preferred to Ricardo Correa for Gżira.

The Maroons took the lead after just ten minutes. Nikolai Muscat delivered a cross from the left and despite being surrounded by Enrico Pepe and goalkeeper Alessandro Nava, Maxuell Maia anticipated the latter, heading the ball home.

Five minutes later, Gabriel Bohrer was unlucky to hit the foot of the upright with a long-distance freekick.

Birkirkara, however, levelled matters on 20 minutes. Paul Mbong intercepted a pass by Nikolai Muscat in midfield and advanced upfield before beating goalkeeper Darijan Zarkov with a shot from outside the area. 

Just before the end of the first half, Muscat delivered a freekick from the right for Gżira with Bohrer’s header partially saved by Nava.

The beginning of the second half coincided with a heavy downpour which flooded certain areas of the pitch.

Meanwhile Birkirkara had Amara Sylla replacing Nava while for Gżira, Steve Pisani replaced Muscat.

On the hour, a header by Jefferson, off a cross by Maxuell, was saved with particular difficulty by Sylla.

Four minutes later, the referee interrupted the game due to the waterlogged pitch. The match was resumed 48 minutes later as the pitch dried up.

On 67 minutes, Osvaldo Iorio tested Zarkov from the right, but his attempt was blocked by the Gżira custodian with Luke Tabone clearing the ball into safety.

Ten minutes from time, Jefferson advanced on the left before serving Steve Pisani whose close-range effort was blocked by Sylla.

With two minutes to go, Birkirkara almost notched the winner when Enzo Cabrera beat Marko Cosic on the run and his angled shot from the right was not held by Zarkov but Luke Tabone cleared the ball off the line.

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