ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 1
Abu Fani 4
Varga 54, 56, 65
F. Marchetti, S. Borg, O. Bjelicic, E. Marcelina, R. Camenzuli, J. Mbong, Elionay, R. Prsa, Y. Nenov (59 Eder), Jonny (59 L. Montebello), S. Paintsil.
D. Dibusz, C. Ramirez, I. Cisse, S. Mmaee, C. Makreckis, B. Ramdhane, D. Siger, M. Abu Fani, A. Traore, K. Zachariassen, B. Varga.
Referee: Eldorjan Hamiti (Albania).
Yellow cards: Prsa, Nenov, Makreckis, Borg.
Ferencvaros have all but ended Ħamrun Spartans’ run in the UEFA Conference League this season as the Hungarian giants punished the Malta champions with an emphatic 6-1 win at the National Stadium.
The Spartans tried hard to upset their more-quoted opponents, but Ferencvaros showed all their prowess with a clinical display that saw them punish the Malta champions for every little defensive error.
In fact, after taking an early lead through a Mohammed Abu Fani spectacular strike, the match looked evenly-balanced with the Spartans creating opportunities to claw themselves back into the match.
But a disastrous 14-minute spell early in the second half proved fatal for the Spartans as Ferencvaros tore through the Maltese side’s defence to score four quick goals to all but seal their win and take a massive step towards a place in the Play Off round.
Ħamrun Spartans coach Luciano Zauri made two changes from the team that won at Dinamo Tbilisi last week. Yuliyan Nenov started ahead of Eder while upfront Jonny partnered Seth Paintsil in the absence of Uros Djuranovic who was serving a one-match ban.
Ferencvaros took just two minutes to take the lead and what a goal it was.
Mohammed Abu Fani was fed the ball some 30 metres out and hit a rasping drive that gave no chance to goalkeeper Federico Marchetti with the ball hitting the bar before finishing into the back of the net.
Ħamrun responded in the fifth minute when Ryan Camenzuli surged forward and hit a firm drive that was blocked by Ferencvaros goalkeeper Denesz Dibusz.
The Spartans were threatening from the wings and on 11 minutes Jonny picked Seth Paintsil inside the area but the Spartans forward was denied by Dibusz.
At the other end, Marchetti had to be at his best to push away Adama Traore’s shot aand from the rebound Zachariassen fires over.
The Hungarians threatened again on 26 minutes when Traore was first to a low cross inside the area but his shot was well saved by Marchetti.
The match remained evenly balanced with scoring chances few and far between.
The last chance of the half came Ħamrun’s way when Camenzuli sent a dipping ball into the path of the sprinting Jonny who beat the Ferencvaros offside trap but the Brazilian was anticipated by goalkeeper Dibusz.
Ħamrun started the second half brightly and on 50 minutes, Bjelicic’s inswinger from a free-kick finished just over.
However, it was Ferencvaros who doubled their lead. Abu Fani’s shot was blocked by Marcelina with the ball falling to Traore whose shot was again blocked by a defender but Zachariassen was on hand to head home.
The goal hit hard the Spartans who conceded again on 53 minutes when Traore sped inside the area but was tackled by Steve Borg, the ball fell to Varga who fired into the net.
Despite this double blow, Ħamrun tried to respond and Paintsil should have pulled a goal back on 54 minutes when Nenov battled his way inside the area with the ball falling to Paintsil who fired over from routine distance.
The Malta champions looked down and out and on 56 minutes, Varga beat the Spartans offside trap and beat Marchetti with an angled drive.
Varga was not finished yet as he completed his hat-trick when he latched onto Abu Fani’s pass to drill the ball past Marchetti.
Ferencvaros almost made it six when Varga anticipated Marchetti but his effort came off the upright before the Spartans cleared.
The Ħamrun goalkeeper distinguished himself again to somehow keep out Traore’s shot with the aid of the bar.
Ħamrun finally threatened three minutes from time when Eder hit a firm drive that was somehow kept out by Dibusz.
The Spartans did manage to pull a goal back a minute from time when Prsa picked Luke Montebello who fired a thumping drive that flew into the bottom corner.
But Ferencvaros struck again immediately from kick-off when Traore sped inside the area to set up Owusu for a simple tap-in.
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