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Controversial penalty denies Birkirkara victory in Maribor

MARIBOR        1

Brnic 67 pen.


Mbong 31

A controversial second-half penalty denied Birkirkara from securing a precious win in Slovenia as Maribor grabbed a 1-1 draw in Ljubljana.

Paul Mbong seemed to have given the Maltese a precious win but Brnic’s goal from a very dubious penalty left the tie wide open, albeit the Stripes would have felt that they deserved more.

Birkirkara started the match playing diligently as they were happy to soak up the pressure of their opponents and try and hit them with quick forays.

Maribor had the first chance when from a free-kick Jakupovic fired just over.

Scoring chances remained few and far between but it was Birkirkara who lit up the match with a spectacular opener from Paul Mbong.

The Malta midfielder sped past two defenders and hit a rasping drive from 30 metres chance that gave no chance to Maribor goalkeeper Jug.

Mbong almost turned from hero to zero when his back pass was intercepted by Maribor wingback Martin Milec who rounded the Birkirkara goalkeeper but hit the side-netting.

Five minutes from the break, Tedesco opted to replace the already-booked Dennis Ribeiro with Kurt Zammit.

The Stripes threatened again on 41 minutes when Simon Zibo hit a shot that finished just over.

After the break, Maribor tried to step up their game with Urata and Brnic both failing to hit the target for the home side.

On 64 minutes, referee Mohammed Al-emara awarded the home side a controversial penalty when Mbong made little contact with Marko Kolar on the edge of the area but the official pointed to the spot and Brnic made no mistake.

Despite this setback, Birkirkara managed to keep their composure to protect their goal till the end, after eight minutes of stoppage time, to return home with a positive result.

Although it must be said that  the disappointment of seeing their hopes of victory dashed by an inexistent penalty will be hard to accept.

MARIBOR: A. Jug, M. Milec, M. Watson, L. Uskovic, I. Urata, A. Antolin (46 M. Lorber), H. Soudani (44 M. Kolar), J. Repas, M. Lausic, I. Brnic, A. Jakupovic (71 M. Bozic).

BIRKIRKARA: M. Zapytowski, D. Ribeiro (41 K. Zammit), A. Coppola, E. Pepe, J. Pajovic, N. Micallef (69 B. Tounkara), Y. Yankam, S. Zibo, E. Pena Beltre, P. Mbong, A. Ciolacu (69 I. Montano).

Referee Mohammed Al-emara (Finland).

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