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Hibs battle past brave Qala, Valletta hit Għajnsielem for seven in FA Trophy

Valletta's Diego Nogueira (right) tries to move past his Għajnsielem markers. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Premier League sides Sliema, Balzan, Gudja, Sirens through to the last 16.

Sunday’s FA Trophy action did not provide any surprises as all the favourites lived up to their expectations and made it to the last 16 of the domestic cup.

All six Premier League sides clinched qualification including Hibernians and Valletta who both crossed swords with Gozitan outfits.

Gudja United and Sirens also faced representatives from the sister island while Sliema Wanderers and Balzan managed to advance as well.

HIBERNIANS 2-0 QALA SAINTS
Jurgen Degabriele 56 pen., Giannis Bastianos 77.

Hibernians had to sweat more than expected to secure their passage into the next round of the FA Trophy after Qala Saints from Gozo gave them a run for their money.

The Gozitan side, coached by former Malta international Shaun Bajada, put on a disciplined performance where at times they were also a threat from the counter-attacks.

Branko Nisevic’s Hibernians had to wait until the 56th minute to break the deadlock when Jurgen Degabriele converted from the penalty spot.

Hibs made sure of the qualification on the 77th minute when Giannis Bastianos beat goalkeeper Owen Attard with a delightful freekick.

For this match, Nisevic handed Malta U-21’s goalkeeper Hugo Sacco his first start for Hibernians while in the second half he put on forward Sime Zuzul for his club debut.

HIBERNIANS
H. Sacco; F. Apap, K. Shaw, R. Bairam, J. Degabriele, S. Okoh, G. Artiles, C. Bonanni (71 E. Santos), M. Bagayoko (72 Z. Grech), G. Bastianos (85 I. Chukunyere), L. Guedes (46 S. Zuzul).

QALA SAINTS
O. Attard; N. Inguanez (46 J. Parnis), J. Buttigieg (82 S. Curmi), J. Silva, L. Da Silva, M. Buttigieg, C. Vella (64 L. Dos Santos), N. Njoku, C. Mercieca, I. Nedejlkovic.

Referee Andrea Sciriha.

Yellow cards Silva, Apap.

VALLETTA 7-1 GĦAJNSIELEM
Brandon Paiber 19; Federico Falcone 41, 48, 54; Zak Barbara 76; Klose Azzopardi Conti 80, 83 (V); Godwin Emanuel (GĦ)

Valletta put aside their Premier League woes as they hit Għajnsielem for seven to advance in the FA Trophy.

Vincenzo Potenza’s side took an early lead through Brandon Paiber before Argentine forward Federico Falcone scored three consecutive goals that wrapped up the qualification.

The Citizens added three more goals through youngsters Zak Barbara and Klose Azzopardi Conti who netted a brace.

Għajnsielem’s goal was scored by Godwin Emanuel.

SLIEMA WANDERERS 3-0 MARSASCALA
Mohamed Awad 10; 40, Joseph Minala 26 pen.

In-form Premier League outfit Sliema Wanderers sealed their qualification in the first half after scoring all their goals between the 10th and the 40th-minute mark.

Mohamed Awad grabbed a brace while Joseph Minala scored from the penalty spot.

BALZAN 2-1 ŻURRIEQ
Jake Grech 52, Manyluak Aguek 79 (B); Christopher Baker 88 (Ż).

Balzan scored twice in the second half to beat Challenge League side Żurrieq and advance to the last 16 of the FA Trophy.

Oliver Spiteri’s side were held to a goalless stalemate in the first half before Jake Grech broke the deadlock early in the second half.

Balzan’s Aleksandar Katanic (left) tries to beat Emerson Vella of Żurrieq. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Manyluak Aguek doubled Balzan’s lead to put his side in the driving seat to secure the win.

However, Żurrieq produced a late rally in an attempt to surprise Balzan and managed to pull one back through Christopher Baker but it was not enough to avoid the exit.

NADUR YOUNGSTERS 1-1 SIRENS (Sirens win 4-3 on penalties).
Marcelo Barbosa 31 pen. (N), Bismark Asare 60 (S).

Premier League side Sirens managed to negotiate their qualification into the next round after winning 4-3 on penalties against Gozo’s Nadur Youngsters, at the Gozo Stadium.

Nadur had forged ahead through ex-Malta Premier League player Marcelo Barbosa when he fired home from the penalty spot just past the half-hour clock.

Sirens, though, managed to level terms through Bismark Asare on the 60th minute as the game headed into extra-time.

With neither side managing to grab a winner, the penalties had to determine the winner with Steve D’Amato’s side claiming the spoils with Hafiz Akadom, Sacha Borg, Kwasi Donsu and Daniel Agius scoring the four winning spot kicks.

XEWKIJA TIGERS 0-3 GUDJA UNITED
Gianluca Zammit 14, 29, 39.

Gianluca Zammit was Gudja United’s hero after producing a three-goal performance which single handedly sent Renzo Kerr Cumbo’s side into the last 16.

For Cumbo, this was first win in charge of Gudja United after taking over from Jesmind Zammit.

Aidan Friggieri made his second debut for Gudja in this game after parting ways with Sliema Wanderers.

QORMI 4-1 TA’ XBIEX
Ricardo Faria 31; Kurt Desira 62; Gary Bugeja 65, 82 (Q); Stefi Cale 71 (TX).

Qormi clinched qualification to the last 16 of the domestic cup after beating fellow Amateur League side Ta’ Xbiex.

Ricardo Faria opened the score for Qormi in the first half before they scored three more goals after the change of ends.

Kurt Desira and Gary Bugeja twice were Qormi’s scorers while Stefi Cale grabbed the consolation goal for Ta’ Xbiex.

LUQA ST. ANDREWS 1-2 SWIEQI UNITED
Nicholas Pisani 63; Federico Vasilchik 76 (S); Chibuzor Nwaogu 90 (L).

Swieqi United moved into the next round of the FA Trophy after scoring a couple of goals in the second half to beat Luqa St Andrews.

Nicholas Pisani opened the score just past the hour mark before new signing Federico Vasilchik doubled the lead.

Chibuzor Nwaogu grabbed a late consolation for Luqa.

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