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Gżira United and Balzan claim crucial wins as Gudja and Sirens relegated

Gżira United eased their relegation worries with victory over Mosta. Photo: Dominic Borg


Mendoza 51; Bohrer 77


Tenebe 57


D. Zarkov, C. Filho, A. Borg, Z. Scerri, M. Dias, L. Riascos (75 G. Bohrer), K. Spence (89 Z. Cassar), F. Zuniga, B Borg, T. Espindola, J. Mendoza.


D. Ciappara, G. Chara, H. Nwoga, P. Tenebe (74 S. Cachia), G. Sciberras, A. Hovhannisyan (65 Z. Brincat), A. Dao (59 K. Tulimieri), W. Britto, N. Agius ( 65 D. Evans), J. Scerri (59 C. Nnanji), J. Vassallo.

Referee: Slobodan Petrovic

Yellow cards: Ricasos, Sciberras, Espindola.

Gżira United and Balzan eased their relegation worries with crucial victories over Mosta and Gudja United respectively at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

The final results produced the first verdicts for the 2023-24 Premier League as Gudja United and Sirens were both mathematically condemned to the Challenge League next season with five matches to spare.

In fact, Sirens who are second from bottom on nine points, and Gudja United who are ranked bottom and three points further back, cannot leapfrog fifth-from-bottom Santa Lucia who have 25 points.

Gżira moved further clear of the relegation zone with a second-half header by substitute Gabriel Bohrer to keep their Premier League survival hopes well on track.

Mosta began the game well with Henry Chidera Nwoga finding space just a few metres out but his effort was blocked by a desperate dive from Gżira goalkeeper Darijan Zarkov.

Gżira were happy to attack on the break, but Kyle Spence looked isolated up front.

Mosta began the second half in the same vein, Armen Hovhannisyan unleashing a low drive which Darijan Zarkov got down sharply to save.

It looked only a matter of time before Mosta got in front, but they fell victim to a cruel sucker punch.

On 51 minutes, Jackson Mendoza hit a low drive past Dylan Ciappara.

It took Mosta six minutes to recover when Precious Tenebe hit a delightful strike beyond the wall and viciously away from Zarkov’s despairing dive.

With one point of little use, Mosta coach Joseph Grech gambled and sacrificed with his substitutions.

Yet, it was Andrew Cohen’s substitutions that paid dividends, albeit the goal came from an unlikely source.

Thiago Espindola hit a perfectly-weighted ball from corner and substitute Gabriel Bohrer sneaked up at the near post to stab home with virtually his first touch of the ball.

Gżira were building momentum and five minutes from time, Spence hit a fierce shot that crashed against the post.

But Mosta refused to let their heads drop and Zarkov miraculously saved Christian Nnanji’s expertly-place header from Kevin Tulimieri’s pin-point cross.

Mosta fought until the final whistle but were unable to get the equaliser.

In the opening match, Oliver Spiteri’s Balzan dominated the match against Gudja United and in the end their superior cutting edge in the final edge made all the difference.

Balzan took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Aleksa Andreijic fired the ball past Gudja United goalkeeper Olavi Lehtinen.

In the second half, Balzan kept up the initiative and they sealed the points on 68 minutes when in a quick break initiated by Samir Arab, Triston Caruana broke through and slotted the ball past Lehtinen.

BALZAN            2

GUDJA UNITED             0

BALZAN: R. Briffa, A. Prates, S. Arab, T. Caruana, J. Busuttil (87 J. Grech), B. Hili (60 A. Katanic), R. Michibuchi (80 O. Awosanya), N. Braunovic, O. Rommens, A. Andreijic (88 E. Han), G. Blackwood (60 N. Zerjal).


F. Lehtinen, M. Esposito, W. Serrano (46 R. Nanitelamio), Brenner, Z. Grech (58 A. Friggieri), J. Quintero (58 N. Tabone), L. Gatt, M. Muchardi, M. Conti (82 I. Salis), S. Attard. G. Zammit (81 E. Gentile).

Referee: Daniel Casha.

Yellow card: Muchardi.

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