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Sano brace pushes Sirens closer to Premier League survival

Sirens midfielder Sean Cipriott (right) is tackled by Robert Hehedosh. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

SIRENS             2

Sano 45, 85

STA LUCIA       1

Blie Bah 11


A. Cassar, G. Camilleri, K. Sano, R. Tachikawa, S. Cipriott-5 (90 D. Zarb), A. Borg, J. Walker, A. Vaikaninah, R. Correa-6.5 (88 R. Sessegnon), I. Kolev, D. Jackson.


D. Ciappara, L. Fonseca, N. Pulis, R. Bairam, K. Nwoko, A. Bah (87 M. Alba), D. Xuereb-6 (77 J. Carbone), J. Pisani, Y Terzi, R. Hehedosh.

Referee Philip Farrugia.

Yellow cards Tachikawa, Xuereb, Terzi, Camilleri, Kolev, Correa.

BOV Player of the match Riccardo Correa (Sirens).

Kei Sano pushed Sirens towards achieving mathematical certainty of Premier League survival after netting a well-taken double to see off rivals Sta Lucia at the National Stadium.

It was a resilient performance from the St Paul’s Bay side who survived some nervy moments during the match with goalkeeper Andrea Cassar effecting some timely interventions to keep out the Sta Lucia forwards. Their character was rewarded with the late winner that lifted them on the 25 point mark and within touching distance of Premier league survival.

On the other hand, the defeat was another blow for Sta Lucia who will rue missing a series of scoring chances and remain second from bottom on 11 points, three adrift of third-from-bottom Żebbuġ.

The match was off to a cagey start with Sirens creating the first chance after six minutes when Jacob Walker picked Ivan Kolev who headed wide.

But it was Sta Lucia who drew first blood after 11 minutes. From a Robert Hehedosh corner kick, Sirens goalkeeper Andrea Cassar deflected the ball into the back of a team-mate with the ball falling to Liam Blie Bah who fire home.

The goal was an injection of confidence for Sta Lucia who continued to enjoy a higher percentage of possession with Sirens rarely venturing forward.

Sirens’ first attempt at goal arrived on the half hour with an effort from Sean Cipriott from a free-kick that was easily blocked by Dylan Ciappara.

Five minutes from the break, Sirens were unlucky not to draw level when Kei Sano saw his firm drive coming off the bar.

The Japanese winger, however, was not to be denied a minute from the break when he was first to connect with Correa’s free-kick and direct his header past Ciappara.

Just before the half-time whistle, it was goalkeeper Cassar who denied Xuereb from close in.

Second into the second half, Sirens hit the woodwork a second time when this time it was Correa to see his shot coming off the bar.

At the other end, Hehedosh dashed inside the area and picked Terzi who saw his shot somehow kept out by Cassar with the aid of the bar. Seconds later, Terzi again came close with his shot finishing just over.

Cassar came Sirens’ rescue when he somehow kept out Terzi’s effrot from routine distance.

That intervention turned out to be crucial as four minutes from times Sirens netted the winner.

Jackson’s throughball caught the Sta Lucia defence napping and in came Sano who fired the ball home.

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