ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 1
SLIEMA WANDERERS 1
H. Bonello, S. Borg, L. Montebello (68 Eder), J. Mbong, R. Prsa, Elionay, U. Djuranovic, O. Bjelicic, J. Corbalan (68 R. Camenzuli), S. Paintsil (75 Jonny), E. Marcelina.
R. Al Tumi, J. Borg, J. Minala, V. Plut (89 L. Micallef), M. Beerman, G. Alcino, E. Agius (60 J. Acheampong), C. Kouao, B. Freire, S. Gomes (79 M. Scerri), K. Abubakar (M. Awad).
Referee: Alex Johnson.
Yellow cards: Minala. Elionay, Acheampong, Al Tumi, Kouao.
Sliema Wanderers halted Ħamrun Spartans’ perfect march in this season’s Premier League as the Blues came from behind and secure a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium.
The Spartans headed into the match aware that victory over the newly-promoted side would guaranteed them sole leadership at the top of the standings after Floriana were held by newly-promoted side Naxxar Lions at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.
Ħamrun looked well on course to reach their goal when Luke Montebello put them ahead in the first half.
But the Wanderers kept fighting and their persistence was rewarded when substitute Geoffrey Acheampong levelled matters to earn his team a point.
As expected, Ħamrun Spartans dominated the first half as they enjoyed long spells of possession with Sliema Wanderers happy to soak up the pressure and try and catch their opponents with quick transition play on their forwards with Vito Plut in the thick of action.
The match finally came to life round the half hour mark when Hamrun Spartans took the lead.
The clock marked 28 minutes when the Reds quickly won the ball in midfield with Roko Prsa immediately sending a vertical pass on the right flank into the path of Luke Montebello who sped inside the area, turned past a defender before hitting a firm strike past goalkeeper Rashid Al-Tumi.
The Spartans suffered a blow just before half-time when goalkeeper Henry Bonello suffered what looked like a groin injury and the Malta international tried to battle on, at least until the half-time interval.
Sliema finally threatened in the first minute of stoppage time when Plut controlled a good pass inside the area and teed up Samuel Gomes but the Brazilian’s deflected shot finished wide of the target.
The Blues were growing in confidence and a minute later, Aboubakar was unlucky to see his header from a corner-action finishing just over.
Five minutes into the second half, the Spartans came close but Juan Corbalan’s shot was easily saved by Al Tumi.
Ħamrun threatened again on the hour mark when Uros Djuranovic saw his effort pushed away by Al Tumi.
Zammit roped in Geoffrey Acheampong and Mohammed Awad in a bid to bolster their forward line.
That decision reaped dividends as Sliema equalised on 65 minutes.
Plut played in Acheampong, who with only Bonello to beat, fired the ball past the Spartans goalkeeper.
The Spartans almost restored their lead a minute later when Joseph Mbong’s cross-shot completely surprised Al Tumi with the ball hitting the bar.
Fourteen minutes from time, Al-Tumi had to be alert to push away Prsa’s effort from a free-kick.
The Spartans kept pushing forward in search of a winner but could not find a breakthrough as the Wanderers held on for a point.
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