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Vibrant Birkirkara hand Ħamrun Spartans first defeat of the season


Adailton 24

Marcelina 47og

Maia 78



M. Zapytowski, J. Pajovic, E. Pepe, Adailton (53 A. Ciolacu), Y. Yankam (82 N. Micallef), P. Mbong (71 M. Maia), K. Zammit, A. Satariano (82 O. Elouni), E. Pena Beltre (82 D. Mariani), S. Zibo, A. Diakite.


F. Marchetti, S. Borg, L. Montebello (71 S. Paintsil), J. Mbong (54 J. Corbalan), R. Prsa, Elionay, U. Djuranovic (70 Y. Nenov), O. Bjelicic, E. Marcelina, R. Camenzuli, Jonny.

Refereee: Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards: Satariano, Borg, Yankam, Elionay, Zapytowski, Bjelicic.

Red card: Bjelicic (Ħ) 45; Elionay (Ħ) 76

Birkirkara put their recent troubles firmly behind them as they produce a vibrant display to see off champions Ħamrun Spartans 3-0 at the National Stadium.

In the build-up to this match, Birkirkara interim coach Brian Chetcuti had asked his players for a strong response after the club’s recent travails which saw them suffer back-to-back defeats to Marsaxlokk and Naxxar Lions which saw coach Giovanni Tedesco hand in his resignation.

And the Stripes players duly delivered a vibrant display which saw them work their socks off throughout the 90 minutes, putting huge pressure on the Spartans players all over the pitch and managing to punish their opponents three times to return home with the three points.

No doubt, this win will be a huge psychological boost for the Stripes ahead of their Super Cup showdown against the same Spartans as they will seek to win the first honour of the season.

On the other hand, it was a day to forget for the Spartans who failed to match the intensity and the hunger of the Birkirkara players, losing their cool in key moments of the match with the result of having two players sent off and as well as committing some glaring defensive errors that condemned them to a damaging defeat.

No doubt, coach Luciano Zauri will have to work hard to help his players rediscover their best form ahead of Friday’s Super Cup final.

The opening stages of the match turned out to be a hard-fought affair with tackles flying from either side as both teams tried to take control of the match.

The first chance of the match arrived on 20 minutes when Uros Djuranovic picked up a long clearance but the Montenegrin forward fired well over.

However, it was Birkirkara who took the lead on 24 minutes when Simon Zibo picked Adailton on the edge of the area and the Brazilian showed great skill to chip the ball over the diving Federico Marchetti.

The Spartans looked rattled and on 28 minutes Steve Borg was dispossessed by Paul Mbong with the ball falling to Ali Diakhite who saw his low drive somehow kept out by Marchetti.

A minute later, Ħamrun responded when Djuranovic hit a low drive that was palmed away by Zapytowski.

The Polish goalkeeper again distinguished himself on 34 minutes when he showed great reflexes to deny Jonny from close in after he was teed up by Djuranovic.

Three minutes from the break, Ħamrun midfielder Elionay looked to be in trouble as after he was just booked by referee Fyodor Zammit, the Brazilian challenged Alex Satariano with the Stripes clan shouting for a second booking.

But the referee had other ideas and awarded a free-kick to Ħamrun Spartans.

The Spartans did finish with ten men deep into stoppage time when Bjelicic picked two quick yellow cards, the second from stepping in front of the team wall during a free-kick action to leave his team with a player less for the whole of the second half.

Things got from bad to worse for the Spartans early in the second half as on 47 minutes Alex Satariano sent a low cross and Emerson Marcelina, in an attempt to clear, inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net to put the Stripes firmly in command.

Zauri here withdrew Joseph Mbong and roped in Juan Corbalan in a bid to add more defensive cover to his team.

On 73 minutes Ryan Camenzuli moved past two Birkirkara midfielders but fired high and wide.

Any hopes the Spartans have of reviving their hopes in this match were all but ended 15 minutes from time when Elionay picked up his second yellow card to leave the Spartans with nine men.

The Spartans completely switched off and Birkirkara soon took full advantage as 12 minutes from time Maxuell Maia pounced on a poor pass from Juan Corbalan and the Brazilian showed great poise to beat Marchetti and seal the points for the Stripes.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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