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Ħamrun Spartans sink Naxxar Lions, Hibernians squeeze past Sta Lucia

Robert Bairam (centre) of Hibernians protects the ball from the Sta Lucia players. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Gżira United, Balzan share the spoils in Sunday’s late match.

Ħamrun Spartans produced an important display on Sunday afternoon as they scored four goals to sink Naxxar Lions and retain their three-point lead above Floriana.

The Greens beat Birkirkara on Saturday meaning Ħamrun had to clinch the three points to restore their solitary lead at the top of the Premier League.

Fielding a strong starting formation, coach Luciano Zauri will have urged his players to come out of the blocks the better side with Jonny finding the net just inside the opening two minutes of the game.

However, Naxxar Lions – arguably the surprise package of the season, restored parity when Pablo Carvalho beat Henry Bonello.

Both Jonny and Carvalho are tied on four goals in the league’s scoring charts.

The Spartans managed to take the lead again just before half-time when Uros Duranovic beat Matthias Debono for his ninth goal of the campaign.

Ħamrun Spartans striker Luke Montebello (left) was on the mark against Naxxar Lions. Photo: Domenic Borg

After the change of ends, Luke Montebello cemented his spot as the Premier League’s best scorer with his 14th goal of the campaign and Ħamrun’s third in the match.

In the closing stages, Emerson Marcelina hit Ħamrun’s fourth to wrap up his side’s 12th win of the season.

Meanwhile, Hibernians scored twice in the first half to overcome Sta Lucia and stay close to the third place occupied by Sliema Wanderers with 30 points.

The Paolites, trailing the Blues by six in fifth, took the lead through a Jurgen Pisani own goal before Malta U-19’s Lucas Caruana doubled the lead for Hibernians.

Making his debut for Sta Lucia, who sit 12th with 12 points, was Basile Ogouvide who joined the club from Switzerland’s Young Boys.

In Sunday’s late kick-off, Gżira United and Balzan cancelled each other out in a 1-1 stalemate.

Andrew Cohen’s Maroons took the lead through Macula, five minutes before half-time.

Balzan, led by Oliver Spiteri, levelled terms through January signing Olivier Rommens past the hour mark.

Rommens was one of the January signings that featured for Balzan in this match alongside Han Euigwon, George Blackwood and Malta international Jan Busuttil.

On the other hand, Gżira had Kyle Spence and Dacoasta Boadu making their club debut.

Gżira remain fourth-bottom with 15 points while Balzan are eighth on 19, four away from the relegation red zone.

Jurgen Pisani 26 og., Lucas Caruana 45.

F. Filho; M. Ellul, S. Pisani, A. Bradshaw (67 G. Virano), J. Pisani, A. Mrdja, S. Moracci (82 J. Valletta), A. Piazza, P. Ramos (46 L. Silva), S. Xerri (46 B. Ogouvide), E. Gomes (67 Hulk).

H. Sacco; F. Apap, K. Shaw, L. Caruana, R. Bairam, S. Zuzul, J. Degabriele (74 A. Radchenko), A. Silva (64 R. Antwi), G. Artiles (73 M. Bagayoko), C. Bonanni, G. Bastianos (84 S. Okoh).

Referee Slobodan Petrovic.

Yellow cards Bradshaw, Ramos, Xerri, Hulk.

Jonny 2, Uros Duranovic 42, Luke Montebello 72, Emerson Marcelina 89; Pablo Carvalho 20.

H. Bonello; S. Borg (84 O. Bjelicic), L. Montebello (87 S. Paintsil), J. Mbong, R. Prsa, U. Duranovic, Ederson, J. Corbalan, E. Marcelina, R. Camenzuli, Jonny.

M. Debono; F. Barbosa, M. Fenech, P. Carvahlo, Edson (81 D. Falzon), R. Cassar, Elizeu (68 N. Pace Cocks), W. Marcilio (81 A. Azzopardi), Maicon, Y. Ito (57 T. Yamaguchi), J. Cardoso (R. Rendon).

Referee Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards Borg, Ederson, Camenzuli, Jonny, Elizeu, Maicon, Cardoso.

Lucas Macula 40 (G); Olivier Rommens 64 (B).

D. Zarkov; G. Bohrer, T. Aldama, Z. Scerri, M. Dias, L. Macula, L. Riascos, F. Zuniga, Z. Cassar, B. Borg (69 K. Spence), J. Mendoza (69 D. Boadu).

D. Golovic; I. Bozovic, A. Prates, T. Caruana, P. Fenech (57 B. Hili), J. Busuttil (72 M. Grima), A. Katanic (64 G. Blackwood), N. Zerjal, N. Braunovic, O. Rommens, A. Andrejic (46 R. Michibuchi).

Referee Matthew De Gabriele.

Yellow cards Thaylor, Prates, Rommens.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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