Hamrun S 3
St George’s 1
St George’s, the last Division 1 side left in the U*BET FA Trophy after Saturday’s elimination of Pieta Hotspurs, suffered the same fate yesterday.
But there was hardly any doubt about the outcome of this quarter final tie as Premier League side Hamrun Spartans showed superiority throughout, even if the gap in collective play was less evident than the difference created by brilliant moments from some three or four individuals, namely Massimo Grima, Gaetan Spiteri, Anderson Ribeiro and Lee Agius in the second half.
The fact that St George’s reached this stage of the competition is in itself rewarding enough for a struggling Division 1 side, but the quality of their opposition in the previous rounds cannot be ignored.
A cagey start had Hamrun throwing all the embarassment at the Saints’ defence, especially through the forages of Shields, Spiteri and the overlapping Gauci down the left flank.
To complicate matters, St George’s were forced to substitute the injured Jonathan Ruiz after only ten minutes play.
It was not until the 20th minute though that the Spartans broke the deadlock from a deadball situation. Ronnie Hartwig’s glancing header on Gauci’s corner from the right, ended behind keeper Marmara who had rushed off his line to clear the ball.
Soon after, a Ribeiro effort went wide when well served by Spiteri.
St George’s, however, were not demorilised and started to move out of their defensive shell with more frequency past the half hour. Rocha Dos Santos advanced through the middle but was wasteful in his finishing. Schembri chased a Sevasta long clearance but was blocked by Hartwig inside the Hamrun area before keeper Borg saved well Rocha Dos Santos, angled shot.
But while St George’s were enjoying their best spell, Hamrun struck again five minutes from halftime. Spiteri did all the work on the left and delivered the cross for Anderson Ribeiro to head in from close range.
Hamrun, who put in Ryan Spiteri for Sammut at halftime, dominated the proceedings for more than 20 minutes into the second period, during which they could have increased their advantage.
Grima’s long range shot was saved with great difficulty by keeper Marmara and past the hour, Agius played a through ball to Ribeiro whose back-heeled pass found Shields but his effort was blocked into a corner. And from the ensuing corner kick, Inguanez cleared Ryan Spiteri’s header off the line.
On 65 minutes, Calabretta tested the Saints’ keeper with an angled shot. Marmara again stretched himself to hold out Grima’s placed free kick.
But St George’s were handed a lifeline on 72 minutes as substitute Anthony Bonello’s headed Zarb’s corner kick past keeper Borg’s reach to pull themselves into the game.
Hamrun suddenly looked uneasy, especially because Agius had his powerful shot tipped into a corner by the alert St George’s keeper and when Amaira lost possession on the edge of the area, Gaetan Spiteri’s low drive was again blocked by Marmara.
The Saints however were unable to summon more effort and superior Hamrun put the issue beyond doubt on the stroke of full time with Ryan Spiteri’s clinical finish from the left that left St George’s reeling.
Hamrun S O. Borg, G. Calabretta, M. Gauci, R. Hartwig, M. Grima, R. Mangion, L. Agius (D. Camilleri), G. Spiteri, D. Shields, K. Sammut (R. Spiteri), A. Ribeiro (G. Azzopardi)
St George’s R. Marmara, H. Schembri (A. Bonello), J. Ruiz (K. Grech), D. Zahra, R. Boutahir, L. Rocha Dos Santos, E. Amaira, G. Inguanez, D. Zarb, E. Sevasta, A. Abela
Referee M. Apap
Asst.refs M. Debono, P. Apap
4th official C. Lautier
Scorers R. Hartwig 20, A. Ribeiro 40, A. Bonello 72, R. Spiteri 90
Yellow cards M. Gauci, E. Sevasta, D. Shields, D. Zahra