The Malta Independent 14 November 2018, Wednesday

Football: Bank Of Valletta Premier League: Birkirkara lose further ground

Malta Independent Monday, 28 November 2011, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Birkirkara 0

Mosta 0

For the second consecutive time, Birkirkara have failed to win and score, this time being held to a goalless draw by bottom side Mosta.

Despite being the better team for long periods, Birkirkara showed shortcomings in front of the Mosta goal, even though they were twice denied by the woodwork at vital moments.

But that does not take away any merits from Mosta, whose resurgence under new coach Steve D’Amato earned them a second point and a second consecutive clean sheet. Mosta defended diligently and never buckled under pressure. Equally significant was the smart goalkeeping of Mosta young keeper Jonathan Debono, who frustrated Birkirkara at times.

Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit made a rift of changes after his side’s defeat against Qormi. He gave starts to Ryan Scicluna, Ryan Camenzuli and Shoda Shodiya as Cilia and Tabone were exiled to the bench. Leighton Grech was missing through suspension and Jorge Mora won back his place in goal ahead of Canovic.

The Stripes could have been in front during the first 45 minutes as they went close on at least three occasions. The first, after only 18 minutes, came from Fenech’s thunderous shot from outside the area which deserved a better fate. The ball rebounded off the bar and back in play.

Soon after, Buhagiar found space down the right flank. His testing low cross was fisted out by keeper Debono before Avila or Scicluna could connect.

And on 23 minutes, Avila played a through ball to Vella, whose shot was blocked by keeper Debono. Shodiya’s second attempt on the loose ball was again blocked.

Mosta were always composed and cautious at the back and also had their moments although they badly lacked that cutting edge in attack.

Agius’ free kick short of the quarter hour was tipped over the bar by keeper Mora into a corner and past the half hour, the Birkirkara custodian stretched himself to turn Magro’s shot into another corner.

Three minutes before the break, Perisic was substituted with Shaun Bajada, making his first league appearance this season after injury. Gareth Sciberras retreated as centre back.

Bajada’s contribution came through a couple of free kicks which he failed to put on target as he obviously lacks match practice, and a late sending off for an accumulation of two yellow cards.

Birkirkara lost much of their gloss in the second period and as the match wore on, Mosta grew in confidence. Ossok was their tower of strength at the back as he cancelled out all of Avila’s aerial threats. Keeper Debono was equal to task in his handling and Mosta even put in Aboulezz for Grech in midfield past the hour.

On 72 minutes Birkirkara were again denied by the post when, on a Bajada cross, Shodiya’s header beat the Mosta keeper but the ball rebounded off the inner side of the post.

With five minutes remaining, Cilia’s corner from the left caused the Mosta defence some embarrassment, but Buhagiar lofted the ball from close range.

The final ignominy for Birkirkara came towards the end of a chaotic finish to the match, when they had two players sent off. Moises Avila received his marching orders for an off the ball incident with Tisbi and soon afterwards Bajada was also dismissed for his second caution.

Birkirkara J. Mora, R. Scicluna, D. Perisic (S. Bajada), G. Sciberras, J. Zerafa, P. Fenech, S. Shodiya, M. Avila, A. Buhagiar, R. Camenzuli, T. Vella (T. Cilia)

Coach P. Zammit

Mosta J. Debono, A. Borg, B. Agius (L. Martinelli), F. Tisbi, Y. Ossok, N. Bogdanovic, I. Zammit, S. Grech (F. Aboulezz), K. Magro, G. Martin (A. Cini), M. Mvondo

Coach P. Zammit

Referee G. Tonna

Asst.refs S. Attard, D. Sultana

4th official A.M. Sant

Yellow cards M. Mvondo, P. Fenech, S. Grech, R. Scicluna, B. Agius, S. Bajada, J. Debono, S. Shodiya

Red cards M. Avila, S. Bajada

Player of the match: Yannik Ossok (Mosta)

TMI top 3 1. Y. Ossok 2. J. Zerafa 3. G. Sciberras

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