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Ħamrun slip past Gudja to move nine points clear

Ħamrun's Elvis Mashike moves past his marker to head towards the Gudja United goal. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

GUDJA UNITED         0

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS     1         

Mashike 63

GUDJA UNITED G. Zammit-6, J. Bolanos-6.5, A. Prates-6, V. Plut-6.5, A. Selemani-6 (74’ A. Azzopardi), J. Arthur-6, N. Micallef-6, K. Micallef-6, H. Vella-6 (87’ J. Mintoff), M. Muchardi-6.5, N. Navarrete-6 (74’ T. Gusman)(79’ T. Nagamatsu).

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS H. Bonello-6, M. Guillaumier-6.5, E. Mashike-6.5, Dodo-6 (71’ Jonny), R. Prsa-6.5 (86’ V. Freitas), R. Callegari-6, E. Domingos-6, O. Bjelicic-6.5, J. Corbalan-6, E. Marcelina-6, R. Camenzuli-6.5 (86’ S. Attard).

Referee Malcolm Spiteri

Yellow Cards Bolanos, Mintoff

BOV Player of the Match Elvis Mashike (Ħamrun Spartans)

A goal by Elvis Mashike handed Ħamrun Spartans the three points as they ended the first round with a 1-0 win over Gudja United.

The Spartans move nine points clear of Birkirkara and Gżira United but Hibernians could narrow the gap to seven points should they beat Floriana in Monday night’s big match.

The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the ninety minutes as Ħamrun were determined to take home the three points and Gudja, who were coming from a narrow win over Valletta in their previous outing, eyed another positive result. And it had to be a goal early in the second half by Elvis Mashike, who scored his eighth league goal this season, which made the whole difference.

Ħamrun lacked Luke Montebello and had Jonny starting the game on the bench as Dodo and Ryan Camenzuli were back in the starting line-up. On the other hand, Gudja had three changes as they welcomed back Neil Micallef while Ahinga Selemani and Nicolas Navarrete were handed a start.

Following a quiet start, Ħamrun went close to taking the lead on 13 minutes. A Roko Prsa freekick created havoc inside the area with a series of shots that were blocked until Dodo pounced on Karl Micallef’s back-header and tested Glenn Zammit who saved partially his attempt; the Cape Verdean forward took the rebound and served Elvis Mashike whose header was parried on the goal line.

The Spartans threatened once again with a powerful drive by Ryan Camenzuli which was partially saved by the Gudja goalkeeper on 33 minutes. Four minutes later, Nicolas Navarrete concluded a good run on the left flank with a cross for Vito Plut who hit hard past goalkeeper Henry Bonello. However, the goal was disallowed as the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line before Navarrete’s cross.

Four minutes from the end of the first half, Bjelicic sent Juan Corbalan through and the latter concluded a good move with a shot from inside the area which ended just wide, and just before half-time, Matthew Guillaumier was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the area.

The second half opened with another powerful drive by Ryan Camenzuli which was saved partially by the Gudja goalkeeper twelve minutes in the second half.

However, on 63 minutes, the Spartans managed to break the deadlock. Prsa delivered a corner from the right, Camenzuli sent the ball through inside the area, and this was passed between Callegari, Dodo and Elvis Mashike, who eventually slotted past Glenn Zammit. Gudja were dealt a heavy blow although eleven minutes from time, Vito Plut released substitute Ayrton Azzopardi on the right and the latter’s diagonal shot just missed the target.

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