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Birkirkara on the brink of Europe, dent Gżira United’s chances

Birkirkara's Paul Mbong (centre) in an aerial duel with Steve Pisani (right) and Luis Riascos. Photo: Domenic Aquilina


Muscat 90


Coppola 33; Cabrera 72; Fedele 75


D. Cassar-6; G. Bohrer-6, S. Pisani-6 (77 B. Borg), Z. Scerri-6 (60 J. Mendoza-6), M. Dias-6, L. Riascos-6 (77 A. Borg), T. Kolega-6, Ewertton-6 (82 J. Attard); M. Cosic-6; T. Espindola-6 (46 N. Muscat-6); Jefferson-6.5.


A. Sylla-6; O. Iorio-6.5, Y. Yankam-6 (68 M. Fedele), P. Mbong-7 (79 N. Micallef), K. Zammit-6.5, C. Attard-6, E. Cabrera-7 (79 J. Farrugia), S. Zibo-6.5, A. Coppola-6, D. Ribeiro-6 (85 E, Pepe), A. Ciolacu-6 (68 K. Tulimieri).

Referee Philip Farrugia.

Yellow cards Dias, Mbong, Cabrera, Scerri, Muscat, Riascos.

BOV Player of the Match Alessandro Coppola (Birkirkara).

Birkirkara made a bold step towards European football after cruising to a 3-1 victory over Gżira United.

After dismantling Hibernians last week, the Stripes sank another European contender with a commanding showing as they have now opened a five-point lead over Maroons in second place.

With two games left, Giovanni Tedesco’s side are in the driving seat to feature in next season’s Europa Conference League while Gżira’s chances were dealt a heavy blow.

The Maroons remain third on 42 points, two above Mosta and Balzan who face each other in tomorrow’s highlight game.

Alessandro Coppola tested David Cassar early in the game with a low free-kick from the edge of the area.

Gżira United replied through a header by Gabriel Bohrer who connected with Steve Pisani’s freekick that sailed inches over the bar.

The Maroons came close to take the lead when Pisani picked up a loose ball in Birkirkara’s defensive third before seeing his shot blocked and rolling on the crossbar.

From the rebound, captain Zack Scerri saw his effort diverted into a corner with Gżira protesting for a potential penalty, alleging that Kurt Zammit cleared the ball with his hands.

Nonetheless, it was Birkirkara who forged ahead when Coppola capitalised on Osvaldo Iorio’s cross to put the Stripes ahead.

At the interval, Gżira made one change with Nikolai Muscat replacing Thiago Espindola.

In the opening stages of the second half, Toni Kolega had a shot from a tight angle blocked by Amara Sylla while Birkirkara’s Yannick Yankam saw his curling effort go wide.

Birkirkara forward Andrei Ciolacu produced a close-range header after meeting a Denis Ribero’s cross but Cassar was alert to avert the danger.

The Stripes made sure of the win with a well-engineered positive transition with Paul Mbong finding Cabrera, who beat his marker and slotted past Cassar.

Birkirkara extended their lead through substitute Matteo Fedele who beat Cassar with a close-range freekick.

In stoppage time, Nikolai Muscat scored Gżira’s consolation goal with a close-range volley but that was too little too late for the Maroons.

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