HAMRUN SPARTANS- 1
Mosta: A. Vella, M. Toth, R. Ekani, C. Hengbart, T. Farrugia, D. Fenech, K. Frendo, D. Priso, P. Calcado (N. Frendo), K. Magro, J.P. Mifsud Triganza (D. Xuereb)
Hamrun S: D. Cassar, L. Rodrigues, K. Micallef, M. Micallef (B. Paiber), I. Misan, L. Grech, S. Nanapere, L. Motta (S. Arab), M. Giusti, J. Grech, S. Raphael
Referee: E. Grech
Asst.refs: J. Spiteri, W. Debattista
4th official: G. Tonna
Scorers: M. Giusti 43, D. Fenech 54, D. Priso 78
Yellow cards: I. Misan, S. Raphael, P. Calcado, K. Magro
Player of the match: M. Giusti (Hamrun S)
TMI top 3: 1. M. Giusti 2. K. Magro 3. P. Calcado
Mosta kept up their fight for survival, forced to rally from a goal down, to beat the team above them Hamrun Spartans with two second-half goals.
They now move seven points above bottom side Pembroke and seven behind the Spartans, with three matches to play.
Hamrun were left frustrated at the way they cast away a one-goal lead so wastefully, missing many presentable chances, when a point yesterday would have secured them safety.
The Spartans were initially the brighter, more aggressive side but their failure to capitlaise on some defensive errors by Mosta, provided one explanation for their inability to win in 11 matches since January.
The Spartans had a platform for victory, took a first half lead through Massimilaino Giusti, but once Mosta stepped up to level matters through David Fenech, they had no response and finally lost the game with a Priso winner.
Mosta will have to look for more points although they will probably have to settle for a relegation play-off. But if they continue to play as enterprisingly as this, they have a decent chance.
Mosta’s revival, coupled with Hamrun’s collapse, had left the sides ten points apart at the start of this game.
Photos Domenic Aquilina
Yet there is not as much between these sides as might be imagined. Although opened up a few times at the back, Mosta kept coming forward with some passing of their own. Their mental strength has increased. Their quality and belief have come through and results are proving that now.
Mosta had regular keeper Yenz Cini suspended. For the same reason, Luke Sciberras could not play for Hamrun, who also dropped Manset and Arab. Igor Misan returned in midfield, with Massimiliano Giusti their most advanced player.
Hamrun were the first out of the blocks. After ten minutes a Motta effort was repelled by Mosta’s deputu keeper Andreas Vella. Nanapere’s shot on th rebound was blocked into a corner by Ekani. The mosta defender also cleared Misan’s shot on the line from the ensuing corner.
Mosta’s response came just past the quarter hour. Priso’s shot from outside the area was held out by the outstretched Hamrun keeper David Cassar.
But even a better chance fell to Mosta midway through the half. Magro put Mifsud Triganza clear but the onrushing keeper Cassar blocked at his feet, with Priso playing the loose ball to the unmarked Mifsud Triganza who again contrived to put his effort wide.
On 38 minutes Fenech found space in midfield and played the ball to the advancing Priso. The grounded Hamrun keeper saved his shot.
But Hamrun took the lead two minutes before the break. A Motta corner from the right was headed by Nanapere towards the far post and Massimiliano Giusti was quick to knock the ball past keeper Vella.
In the half’s added time, Hamrun almost nearly doubled their lead. The Mosta goalkeeper was late on a high Motta cross but Manolito Micallef headed the ball over with an open goal at his mercy.
Mosta again endured some anxiety after the interval. Jake Grech played the ball to Giusti, who, unmolested inside the Mosta area, tried to lob over keeper Vella, who saved well.
But on 54 minutes, Mosta were back on terms, thanks to a scruffy but nonetheless deserved goal. Frendo had gone inside the Hamrun area from the left and his effort was footed out by keeper Cassar. The ball fell to David Fenech whose shot fom outside the area took a slight deflection to beat the keeper at the top corner.
Mosta grew in confidence as Calcado played a through pass to Mifsud Triganza to turn but his shot was squeezed into a corner.
On 69 minutes, Hamrun were again denied by the alert keeper Vella who blockeed substitute Arab’s incursion soon after going in for Motta.
They paid for that miss on 78 minutes when Mosta scored the winner. Calcado played the ball through the Hamrun defence and Doding Priso side stepped the ball low past the helpless keeper.
SLIEMA WANDERERS- 3
Sliema W: G. Sarao, A. Muscat, J. Pearson (P. Xuereb), D. Dos Santos (J. Mintoff) , M. Scerri (G. Aquilina), M. Muchardi, S. Biancardi, R. Duarte, L. Incorvaia, J.P. Farrugia, F. Temile
Floriana: J. Haber, E. Pepe, A. Monticelli, N. Chiesa (A. Scicluna), E. Ruiz, S. Pisani, I. Varela, S. Nayar, A. Cini, M. Fontanella, R. Camenzuli
Referee: M. Degabriele
Asst.refs: C. Francalanza, T. Debono
4th official: S. Spiteri
Scorers: M. Scerri 43, J.P. Farrugia 90+, F. Temile 90+
Yellow cards: N. Chiesa, F. Temile, L. Incorvaia, S. Pisani, M. Fontanella
Red cards: R. Camenzuli, P. Xuereb
Player of the match: M. Scerri (Sliema W)
TMI top 3: 1. R. Duarte 2. M. Scerri 3. I. Varela
Sliema Wanderers are on the ascendancy as they keep themsleves well geared for the remaining commitments in the FA Trophy.
They beat ‘old firm’ rivals Floriana 3-0 yesterday with two goals in four minutes of added time.
There comes a point in the season when intrigue and interest for the many sides involved neither in the title chase nor in the relegation scrap starts to fade.
In this match there was mainly pride at stake.
But although both teams’ only interest is now in the FA Trophy, this match offered some interesting twists, with two players sent off in a Sliema win made more emphatic with two late goals in added time.
This was the third time the Wanderers beat the Greens this season.
This defeat, their third in six games leaves Floriana five points behind Birkirkara, while Sliema remain unbeaten in their last six matces.
Floriana had keeper Justin Haber and midfielder Steve Pisani back in the side after suspension.
Sliema also had striker Jean Paul Farrugia back and coach John Buttigieg also gave a start to defender Leonardo Incorvaia. Ryan Spiteri and John Mintoff made way.
After a quite 20 opening minutes, Sliema had a goal disallowed. Floriana keeper Haber dropped Duarte’s high cross from the left but when Scerri netted, he was deemed to be in an offside position.
Soon after, Floriana were down to ten men. Ryan Camenzuli was sent off for a reckless foul, with his extended foot aimed at Farrugia’s chest.
With an extra man on the field, the Wanderers started to exert some dominance. A Temile shot missed the target on 38 minutes, before Sliema finally broke the deadlock two minutes before halftime. Muscat opened play on the right for Temile to deliver a deep cross. The ball was deflected by a Floriana defender and fell invitingly to Mark Scerri to stab it in from close range.
Floriana replaced Chiesa with Andre Scicluna at halftime. From the latter’s cross, Varela headed slightly over.
Floriana threatened sporadically on the break. Past the hour they were awarded a penalty when Fontanella was bundled by Xuereb inside the area. The Sliema player, who had gone in for Pearson only ten minutes earlier, was sent off.
Fontanella stepped to take the penalty but keeper Sarao dived the right way and saved.
With numerical parity restored, both teams continued to attack and defend with slapstick energy.
The quality then dipped. Passes went astray, punts were hoofed away and there were gaps in each team’s shape.
The game was evenly poised at this point but play remained scrappy and confused. Floriana might have deserved something for their efforts but the Greens ended up undone by Sliema’s two other goals within a minute in added time. First Denni ran inside the Floriana area, outpaced the goalkeeper and crossed for the unmolested Jean Paul Farrugia to head in.
Hardly a minute later, Sliema added some excessive gloss to their win with another goal scored in similar fashion. This time substitute Mintoff provided the cross from the right and Frank Temile duly obliged with another free header.