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Watch: Montebello sinks old club as Ħamrun Spartans keep Floriana in sight

Luke Montebello scored both goals for Ħamrun Spartans against Birkirkara. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Mosta, Sta Lucia share the spoils in crucial relegation clash.

Luke Montebello 21, 51.

F. Marchetti; L. Montebello (80 S. Paintsil, J. Mbong, R. Prsa (80 N. Krstic), E. Freitas (72 E. Bruno), O. Bjelicic, J. Corbalan, C. Rutjens, E. Marcelina, R. Camenzuli, Jonny.

M. Zapytowski; P. Mbong, A. Zammit (75 Adailton), K. Zammit, A. Satariano, E. Pena Beltre, A. Coppola, E. Sarpong, S. Zibo (80 K. Fenech), A. Diakite, A. Ciolacu (60 Maxuell).

Referee: Slobodan Petrovic.

Yellow cards: Diakite, Prsa, Zibo, Mbong, Coppola, Montebello, A. Zammit, K. Zammit.

Red card: Ali Diakite (B) 68.

Luke Montebello scored a brace to propel his club Ħamrun Spartans past his old side Birkirkara in an important match in this season’s Premier League title race.

The Spartans are now trailing leaders Floriana by just two points as the two-horse race for the championship looks destined to go to the wire.

It was far from a spectacular performance by Luciano Zauri’s side but it was enough to keep the pressure on the Greens after their derby victory over Valletta of yesterday.

The Stripes, on their part, are now seventh on 30 points.

Birkirkara were looking to dictate proceedings from the start with Ħamrun Spartans sitting back and waiting to catch them on the break.

For all their possession though, the Stripes did not threaten Federico Marchetti and instead it was the Spartans who broke the deadlock.

Alessandro Coppola cleared a Jonny cross before the ball dropped onto the feet of Ryan Camenzuli whose volley was deflected by forward Luke Montebello to score against his former club.

Luke Montebello puts Ħamrun Spartans ahead against Birkirkara. Video: TVM Sports

For the Malta forward, this was his first against his former club as Ħamrun player.

A timid Coppola header failed to threaten Italian goalkeeper Marchetti as after the goal, Ħamrun starting to take control of the match.

Luciano Zauri’s side came close to double the lead when Simon Zibo denied Elionay Freitas on the goal line.

Just before half-time, Birkirkara came close to level terms through captain Kurt Zammit just to see his header glance past Marchetti’s goal.

At the restart, Ħamrun were handed a penalty when Zapytowski floored Jonny.

Luke Montebello converts a penalty to give Ħamrun Spartans a 2-0 lead over Birkirkara. Video: TVM Sports

Montebello converted from the spot for the 19th strike of the season as he remains the league’s best scorer.

Ħamrun could have wrapped up the match with a third but Jonny’s header went inches wide from Zapytowski’s goal.

Birkirkara’s hopes of a comeback were dealt a heavy blow when their defensive midfielder Ali Diakite was issued a second yellow card after a dangerous foul on Jonny.

The Stripes almost pulled one back when a Kurt Zammit effort struck the crossbar before the Spartans backline cleared the danger away.

Ħamrun preserved their two-goal lead until the end as they now shift focus on next weekend’s encounter against Gżira United.

Henry Nwoga 45 (M); Alessio Piazza 58 (S).

D. Akpan; N. Chukwudi, D. Evans (87 S. Thomas), H. Nwoga (90 M. Ihekuna), L. Tenebe, W. Britto, N. Agius (88 S. Cachia), J. Scerri (72 C. Nnaji), J. Vassallo, Z. Brincat (88 J. Farrugia), K. Tulimieri.

F. Filho; M. Ellul, S. Pisani, G. Mensah (46 S. Moracci), T. Nagamatsu, A. Bradshaw (82 B. Ogouvide), J. Pisani, G. Virano (89 A. Letherby), P. Ramos (82 O. Abraham), S. Xerri, E. Gomes (46 A. Piazza).

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann.

Yellow cards: Aneni, Ramos, Brincat.

Mosta, Sta Lucia shared the spoils in a crucial relegation battle at the Centenary Stadium on Sunday.

Joseph Grech’s Mosta had scored first before Sta Lucia equalised as the two teams had to settle for a point which keeps the pressure on both teams.

With four games left, Mosta remain in the red zone as they sit 11th on 24 points.

Sta Lucia sit just above them with 26.

Mosta drew first blood when Henry Nwoga headed home a corner kick which beat Francisco Filho to the first post.

Moments later, before the half-time whistle, Nwoga came close to double Mosta’s lead just to be denied by the woodwork.

At half-time, Sta Lucia coach Alessandro Zinnari introduced Italian Alessio Piazza and the 22-year old quickly made an impact as he levelled terms just before the hour mark.

In next weekend’s fixtures, Mosta face leaders Floriana while Sta Lucia take on Marsaxlokk.


R. Al Tumi; J. Borg, V. Plut (75 S. Gomes), M. Beerman, J. Arthur, G. Alcino, D. Kouao, N. Frendo, M. Henrique, L. Micallef (75 D. Kondrakov), M. Awad.

I. Kone; F. Apap, K. Shaw, S. Zuzul (71 L. Caruana), J. Degabriele (83 I. Chukunyere), A. Bruno (83 A. Radchenko), G. Artiles (71 R. Antwi), C. Bonanni, M. Bagayoko, G. Bastianos, H. Gabriel.

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri.

Yellow cards: Plut, Kouao, Henrique, Zuzul.

In Sunday’s final match from the Premier League, Sliema Wanderers and Hibernians cancelled each other out in a goalless stalemate.

With four games left, Sliema are in the driving seat to secure the third place as they are on 42 points while Marsaxlokk follow in fourth on 34.

On the other hand, Hibernians’ slim chances of pipping the Blues to third were dashed as they remain fifth on 33 following their seventh draw of the season.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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