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Ħamrun Spartans cruise past Sirens to edge closer to title

Ħamrun Spartans forward Elvis Mashike hits a shot at the Sirens goal. Photo: Christine Borg


Elvis 4, 28, Prsa 82


ĦAMRUN SPARTANS H.Bonello-6, Ederson-6.5 (70 Dodo), S. Borg-6 (41 R. Callegari-6), M. Guillaumier-6, E. Mashike-7 (86 L. Montebello), R. Prsa-7.5, O. Bjelicic-6.5, J. Corbalan-6 (86 M. Mifsud), Jonny-6 (70 J.Mbong), E. Marcelina-6, R. Camenzuli-6.

SIRENS A.Cassar-5, M. Pereira-6, A. Cini-6 (86 M. Maggi) R. Tachikawa-5.5 (86 A. Vella), A. Borg-4, J. Walker-5, A. Vaikainah-5 (60 S. Sessegnon-), V. Bento-5.5, I. Kolev-6 (60 K. Sano-), G. Fernandes-5.5, D. Jackson-4 (78 S. Arab).

Referee Fyodor Zammit.

BOV player of the match Elvis Mashike (Ħamrun Spartans).

Yellow cards Vaikainah, Camenzuli.

Ħamrun Spartans comfortably beat Sirens on Sunday at the Tony Bezzina stadium as they tighten their grip on the top spot.

Elvis Mashike was the inspiration behind a convincing Ħamrun win as the leaders re-established their 11-point cushion at the top of the Premier League.

The Spartans never looked in danger of repeating last week’s derby nerve-wracking victory and it soon became apparent the Sirens defence was there to be unlocked.

But Branko Nisevic’s joy will have been tainted by an injury to their captain Steve Borg limped out injured in the first half.

Ħamrun Spartans received the perfect tonic after this week’s off-field controversy – when their president Joseph Portelli express his wish to pay for the club – when they went ahead after just four minutes.

The architects, as so many times this season, were Ederson and Elvis Mashike, with the Brazilian flicking a clever ball through to the Congolese striker who fired a low shot behind Andrea Cassar.

From that moment, they were in complete control as after eight minutes, Elvis struck an upright.

On 28 minutes, Sirens’ weak defensive clearance dropped into the path of Elvis and the Congolese striker exacted swift punishment as he lashed home from the edge of the area without breaking stride.

Just before half-time, Nisevic was forced to make his first substitution before when Borg limped out injured and was replaced by Rodrigo Callegari. However, their captain’s injury setback has not dampened the Spartans’ spirit as they continued to stroke the ball around with nonchalant ease.

In fact, some good work down the Ħamrun right flank saw Jonny sending a great ball in the middle but Roko Prsa was late on the ball.

Sirens continued to battle vainly and Ivan Kolev hit the side netting early in the second half.

But Ħamrun soon moved through the gears again and Jonny teed up Prsa to rifle a shot that forced Cassar into a smart save.

On 65 minutes, Gabriel Fernandes Kept Sirens in touch when he hooked off the line Ederson’s close-range effort.

Joseph Mbong, who came on as a substitute for Jonny with 20 minutes to go, marked his return to the club and Dodo replaced Ederson as Nisevic tried to add fresh impetus on the flanks.

Ten minutes from time, Elvis came within a whisker of completing his hat-trick 10 minutes from time. Prsa played a defence-splitting pass to the striker but Cassar brilliantly blocked his point-blank effort.

But there was little Cassar could do about Ħamrun’s third, three minutes later as the Spartans ended a lull in play with a clinical breakaway goal.

This time, Elvis played a perfect ball through to Prsa who slipped it past the Sirens goalkeeper.

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