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Champions Birkirkara women launch title defence with Lija Athletic stroll

Giusti 9, 17, 52; Grosso 23, 54, 75, Sultana 32, 45; Garcia 56, Said 73, Mifsud 89.

Birkirkara started their quest to a 12th women’s title with a big win over Lija Athletic at the Centenary Stadium, on Thursday.

Under the guidance of Jose Borg, the Stripes broke little sweat to score 11 goals against one of the two new additions to this year’s championship.

Youth goalkeeper Erika Muscat was handed a start between the sticks with upcoming defender Valentina Rapa partnering Charlene Zammit at the back.

Former Malta U-19’s player Izabella Camilleri was also given the nod together with new signings Caitlin Rodgers and Edith Garcia.

Raina Giusti, who started as the lone striker, recorded a hat-trick together with Italian winger Marta Grosso.

Alishia Sultana grabbed two goals while the remaining three were registered by Uruguayan Garcia, Ann-Marie Said – captain on the night – and Veronique Mifsud.

The Malta champions will now switch their focus on the Champions League as they will host Montenegro’s Breznica in the semi-final of the first qualifying round on September 6.

Lija Athletic, on their part, will take on San Ġwann in their second game of the season.

They are coached by Jethron Azzopardi and included in their starting formation were former Swieqi United midfielder Simone Buttigieg, ex-Raiders Lija Leanne Micallef and Edera Marmara, Shakira Bugeja and Mariah Schembri who joined from Hibernians.

E. Muscat; G. Zahra, A. Said, E. Garcia, A. Sultana, I. Camilleri, R. Giusti, C. Zammit, M. Grosso, C. Rodgers, V. Rapa.
Subs used: A. Del Moral, I. Farrugia, F. Chircop, A. Vassallo, V. Mifsud.

C. Pisani; S. Caruana, E. Marmara, S. Buttigieg, M. Schembri, N. Zarb Cousin, R. Mifsud, L. Micallef, K. Grech, A. Gingell, E. Xuereb.
Subs used: S. Bouzid, S. Bugeja, H. Muscat.

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