SIRENS A. Cassar, R.Tachikawa, A. Borg, J. Walker, A. Cini (90 K., Muscat(, V. Bento, I. Kolev, G. Ventura, D. Jackson (73 K. Sano), S. Sessegnon, E. Arab (85 M. Maggi).
MQABBA J.Abela, J. Davis, O. Khatib, P. Kanzurov, R. Melo Costa (75 T. Fenech), J. Azzopardi (90 R. Cilia Mumford), G. Barone, L. Dos Santos, B. Sciberras (85 J. Vella Critien), B.Kanta, A. Bustos.
Referee Slawomir Olucha
Yellow card Kanta
Sirens reached the FA Trophy last 16 after successfully negotiating their way past a tricky tie against Mqabba with a close 1-0 win.
After a cagey opening, both sides had their first clear sight of goal within a minute of each other.
First, Petar Kanzurov tested Andrea Cassar with a dipping shot which bounced just in front of the Sirens goalkeeper.
On the other side, Rei Tachikawa went close with a thumping 22-metre shot that went just wide.
Mqabba were neat and precise in their build-up in contrast to Sirens who were laborious, allowing their opponents to work back and get men behind the ball.
On 42 minutes, they almost hit Sirens with a sucker punch when Kanzurov sliced open the Sirens defence with a perfect ball from behind the halfway line but Boubacar Kanta saw his effort saved by Cassar.
Possibly stung by some harsh words from coach Winston Muscat, Sirens put Mqabba under pressure in the second-half. On 48 minutes, Ivan Kolev saw his effort blocked by James Abela but from the rebound, Stephane Sessegnon skied his shot high and wide.
Five minutes later, Abela showed athleticism to tip away Paulo Vyctor Bento’s dipping effort.
That prompted the introduction of Kei Sano for Sirens but it was Mqabba who came close to taking the lead on 79 minutes. Matheus Lucas dos Santos saw his rising shot tipped over the bar by Cassar.
On the other side, Kolev should have done better with a free header from Jacob Walker’s cross.
Three minutes from time, Sirens scored the all-important goal when substitute Miguel Maggi’s surging run opened up the Mqabba defence before setting up Sano who hit a powerful shot behind Abela.
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