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Ħamrun Spartans open five-point lead as Floriana are held by Balzan

Luke Montebello (right) leads the Premier League's scoring charts with 16 goals for Ħamrun Spartans. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Gżira United win to lift themselves into seventh place.

Jonny 3, Luke Montebello 40.

H. Bonello; S. Borg, L. Montebello, R. Prsa (68 J. Mbong), E. Freitas (83 O. Bjelicic), Y. Nenov (83 C. Rutjens), C. Corbolan, S. Paintsil (90 G. Vella), E. Marcelina, R. Camenzuli (68 N. Krstic), Jonny.

A. Cassar; D. Murillo, P. Boakye, H. Gomda, N. Pulis, A. Harrison (87 I. Ognjen), G. Carrara (68 F. Boateng), B. Asare, K. Donsu (29 M. Hafiz), D. Jackson (68 C. Agyemang), D, Agius (87 K. Muscat).

Yellow cards: Jackson, Pulis, Bonello, Harrison, Boakye, Gomda.

Referee: Ezekiel Barbara.

Ħamrun Spartans kept up their winning momentum when they eased past Sirens at the Centenary Stadium.

Luciano Zauri’s troops wrapped up the points inside the first half.

It was Jonny who put the Spartans ahead after three minutes of play. The Brazilian striker was at the end of Luke Montebello’s cross and head the ball past Andrea Cassar.

The woodwork denied the Spartans from a second goal on 25 minutes when Jonny picked Montebello who saw his effort come off the upright.

Two minutes later it was the turn of Seth Paintsil to see his his headed effort come off the upright.

Ħamrun Spartans finally made it 2-0 five minutes from the break when Steve Borg nodded the ball into the path of Montebello who tapped home from close in.

For the Malta international, this was his 16th goal in this Premier League season as he cements his top position in the scorers’ list.

The second half turned out to be a mere formality as the Spartans easily administered their advantage.

Luis Furtado 15 pen., Matheus Sousa 45 (F); Jan Busuttil 32, Triston Caruana 66 (B).

G. Kitanov; O. El Hasni, K. Reid, M. Sousa, D. Vella (86 C. Rovas), O. Spiteri, M. Garcia, K. Nwoko (70 J. Grech), M. Valadzko, A. Kouro, L. Furtado.

D. Golovic; I. Bozovic (63 O. Awosanya), A. Prates, S. Arab, T. Caruana, J. Busuttil, R. Michibuchi (86 A. Andrejic), N. Zerjal, N. Braunovic, O. Rommens, G. Blackwood.

Yellow cards: El Hasni, Spiteri, Valadzko, Golovic, Blackwood.

Referee: Matthew De Gabriele.

Floriana failed to keep up with leaders Ħamrun Spartans after being held in a four-goal draw by Balzan in Sunday’s afternoon kick-off at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

Balzan’s Triston Caruana (left) vying for the ball against Kyrian Nwoko of Floriana. Photo: Christine Borg.

The Greens needed to overcome Balzan to maintain their three-point distance from the Spartans after the latter’s win against Sirens in the early match.

However, Mauro Camoranesi’s side could not go beyond a draw against Balzan as they slip to five points behind Ħamrun.

On the other hand, Balzan are ninth with 20 points – just two points above the relegation red zone.

Floriana did manage to forge ahead early in the game when they were given a penalty after 15 minutes.

Luis Furtado was floored by Andre Prates with the Floriana forward, who joined during the winter transfer window, converting from the penalty spot for his maiden goal with the Greens.

Balzan, on their part, did manage to level terms, through Jan Busuttil who opened his account for the Reds against the side he left in January.

Nonetheless, Floriana did manage to close the first-half one up when Matheus Sousa, who last season was on the books of Balzan, slotted home from point-blank range for his fourth goal of the season.

After the change of ends, Floriana were looking to extend their lead but it was Balzan who scored the game’s next goal through midfielder Triston Caruana.

Camoranesi tried to bolster Floriana’s attack with the introduction of Jake Grech, ex-Balzan, but the Greens could not spark into life and went home with just a point.

Lucas Macula 19; Zach Scerri 33 pen., Kyle Spence 90.

D. Zarkov; C. Filho, Thaylor, Z. Scerri, M. Dias, L. Macula (85 K. Spence), L. Riascos, F. Zuniga, B. Borg (82 Z. Cassar), T. Espindola, J. Mendoza (90 A. Borg).

J. Spiteri; Brenner, M. Muchardi, Josimar (72 G. Joseph), R. Fernandes, C. Nwaford (46 S. Attard), R. Nanitelamio, S. Akomeah (58 G. Lorenzoni), Z. Grech (46 S. Ibrahim), A. Friggieri (58 G. Zammit), M. Esposito.

Referee: Emanuel Grech.

Yellow cards: Dias, Nanitelamio, Zammit.

Red card: Marcelo Dias (Gżira United) 5.

Gżira United secured a much-needed victory to move slightly away from the relegation red zone despite being a man down for almost an entire match.

Marcelo Dias was given the marching orders after just five minutes, leaving the Maroons down to ten players for the rest of the game.

However, Andrew Cohen’s side managed to overcome a struggling Gudja United side to move seventh on 21 points, climbing above both Naxxar Lions and Balzan who did not win this weekend.

The Maroons are three points above the relegation red zone which includes Gudja as well, anchored at the bottom with just six points and zero wins.

Lucas Macula and Zach Scerri, from the penalty spot, opened a two-goal lead for Gżira before Matias Muchardi failed to pull one back for Gudja after missing his penalty.

The Maroons wrapped up the win deep in stoppage time through January signing Kyle Spence, grabbing his first goal in Maltese football.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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