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Update: Gżira into FA Trophy quarters after Sacco blunder

Gżira United secured a lace in the FA Trophy quarter finals after beating Hibernians. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

GŻIRA UNITED 1

Thaylor 30

HIBERNIANS 0

A costly mistake from Hibernians goalkeeper Hugo Sacco handed Gżira United a berth in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Trophy with a narrow win at the National Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Malta Under-21 goalkeeper spilled Zach Scerri’s strike early in the game and former Hibs winger Thaylor converted from short range.

Substitute Kyle Spence grazed the Hibs bar at the death. The Maroons improved as the match wore on and Hibs took on a ragged appearance as they searched for an equaliser. 

On 21 minutes, the Paolites came within a whisker of scoring, when Sime Zuzul put Jurgen Degabriele through but with only the goalkeeper to beat, the nippy striker saw his shot saved by Darijan Zarkov.

High on confidence after three wins in four, including a 3-2 win over Gżira, Hibernians made a suicidal error on the half-hour mark.

Gżira United’s formation included four Hibernians old boys, including their coach Andrew Cohen and two of those combined to break the deadlock. Sacco’s mishit clearance of a back pass gave Jackson Mendoza a chance. The Colombian midfielder immediately squared the ball for Zach Scerri. But Sacco spilled Scerri’s strike and Thaylor converted from short range. The Brazilian did not celebrate his goal against his former club.

The pace of the match intensified after the break, with Hibs increasing possession in an effort to wrestle the initiative back from the Maroons. Still, it was Gżira who seemed more incisive but Sacco had to make a good block to thwart Thaylor this time.  

Although Gżira found themselves penned in their own half, they held their shape for most of the game, trying to punish their opponents’ flat-out approach. On 65 minutes, a superb run from Gabriel Artiles, cutting in from the left and breezing past his marker, created an opportunity from which the Spaniard winger should have scored.

Substitute Kyle Spence could have made it worse for Hibernians but he drilled a shot against the crossbar close to full-time.

GŻIRA UNITED

D. Zarkov, C. Filho, Thaylor (83 K. Spence), Z. Scerri, M Dias, Macula, L. Riascos, F. Zuniga, Z. Cassar, B. Borg ( 83 A. Borg), J. Mendoza.

HIBERNIANS

H. Sacco, F. Apap, K. Shaw, L. Caruana (73 B. Kristensen), R. Bairam (66 G. Bastianos) , S. Zuzul, J. Degabriele, A. Bruno (66 A. Radchenko), G. Artiles, C. Bonanni. R. Antwi (66 M. Bagayoko).

Referee Alex Johnson

Yellow cards Artiles. Scerri, Borg, Thaylor, Kristensen.

Minala penalty sends Sliema through

BALZAN 0

SLIEMA WANDERERS 1

Minala 116 pen.

Balzan were made to pay the penalty when Joseph Minala scored an extra-time penalty to send Sliema through.

Sliema started brightly and Christ Kouao industry down the right flank was causing Balzan problems and it was his cross that presented Myles Beerman with the best chance of a poor first half. The former Rangers winger headed the ball back into the box but Samuel Gomes da Mata was blocked before he could connect to the ball.

The Brazilian midfielder showed moments of flair but the first half provided little entertainment.

Sliema started the second half positively but the first chance of note fell to Balzan with Rashid El Tumi pulling off an excellent save to turn away Olivier Rommens’ free kick.

On the other side, after some fine forward movement by da Mata, Edmond Agius’s exquisite flick was blocked by Rudy Briffa. The Balzan goalkeeper was quickly back in action to palm away a shot by substitute Vito Plut before blocking Godfrey Acheampong’s rebound.

Moments later, Briffa parried away a sweetly struck 20-metre shot from Joachim Adukor as Sliema strived to break the deadlock. But there was no breakthrough as the team went into extra-time.

On 115 minutes, Samir Arab was adjudged to have handled the ball into the box and referee Slobodan Petrovic pointed to the spot. Balzan keeper Briffa was the hero in the match but there was no repeat as Joseph Minala kept his nerve to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.

SLIEMA

R. Al Tumi, J. Minala, S. Da Mata, M. Beerman, G. Alcino, E. Agius (61 J. Adukor), D. Kondrakov (61 V. Plut), C. Kouao (120 J. Engerer), N. Frendo, H. Murilo, G. Acheampong.

BALZAN

R. Briffa, I. Bozovic (97 B. Hili), A. Prates, S. Arab, M. Grima (46 T. Caruana), O. Awosanya ( 79 N. Zerjal), H. Euigwon ( 57 A. Katanic), R. Michibuchi (67 P. Fenech), N. Braunovic, O. Rommens, G. Blackwood. (57 J. Busuttil).

Referee Slobodan Petrovic.

Yellow cards Braunovic, Adukor, Kouao.

Mġarr upset Sta Lucia with victory on penalties

STA LUCIA 3

Sena 55

Hulk 90

Mrdja 96

MGARR UNITED 3

Ebisindor 38

Zammit 76, 101

(Mgarr win 4-3 on pens.)

Meanwhile, it was a difficult night for Santa Lucia as they succumbed to a defeat by penalties against Mġarr United.

The Saints had the opportunity to take the lead on 22 minutes when they were awarded a penalty, which, however, was missed by Abraham Temitope.

Mġarr punished their opponents for that miss as they took the lead through Christian Saint Ebisindor on 38 minutes.

Sta Lucia managed to draw level ten minutes into the second half through Lucas Silva.

But Mġarr refused to lie down and restored their lead when substitute JP Zammit put them back in front.

When it looked as though Mġarr had done enough to complete the upset, Sta Lucia equalised in the 97th minute through Brazilian striker Hulk.

In extra time, the Saints went ahead through Aleksa Mrdja but once again, Mġarr’s Zammit bagged his brace to level terms again and send the game to penalties.

From the spot, Hulk and Nicholas Schembri both scored their team’s opener.

Mġarr’s Gordon Briffa missed the second kick but Adam Bradshaw and Santiago Moracci both failed to score for Santa Lucija to hand the Amateur League side safe passage into the quarter-finals.

STA LUCIA

C. Formosa, M. Ellul, A. Ogouvide (46 A. Bradshaw), O. Temitope (46 S. Moracci), L. Sena (114 J. Pisani), A. Mrdja, G. Virano, A. Piazza, P. Ramos (83 D. Letherby ), S. Xerri, E. Gomes (88 Hulk).

MGARR UNITED

J. Chircop St John, K. Farrugia, J. Camilleri, C. Borg (63 M. Bartolo), J. Grech (70 JP Zammit), J Suda (63 N. Schembri), M. Borg, A. Borg (99 K. Arai), C. Ebisindor, J. Micallef (63 G. Saliba), M. Attard (88 R. Camilleri).

Referee Ezekiel Barbara.

Yellow cards Camilleri, Ogouvide, Ramos, Xerri.

Missed pen Temitope (S) 22.

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