The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Degabriele denies Tarxien derby delight, Naxxar win to live another day

Sunday, 15 April 2018, 22:16 Last update: about 8 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

HIBERNIANS 2
TARXIEN RAINBOWS 2

Hibernians: A. Hogg, M. Kreuzreigler, R. Soares, M. Dias, J. Degabriele, J. Lima, J. Bezzina (J. Moreira), C. Failla, T. Tabone Desira (D. Vella), J. Mbong (A. Neto), A. Agius

Tarxien R: A. Cassar, S. Radovanovic, E. Baker, G. Aquilina, L. Grech, A. Scicluna, S. Tounkara, B. Traore, E. Calin (G. McKay), R. Faria (W. Viera), S. Cipriott (A. Agius)

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Referee: M. Apap

Asst.refs: A. Camilleri, T. Zammit

4th official: C. Pisani

Scorers: S. Tounkara 2, C. Failla 15 pen, R. Faria 84, J. Degabriele 90

Yellow cards: E. Baker, E. Calin, S. Cipriott

Player of the match: A. Cassar (Tarxien R)

TMI top 3: 1. B. Traore 2. A. Cassar 3. J. Mbong

Attendance: 1074

Hibernians failed to lift themselves into fourth place in the standings after being held to a 2-2 draw by relegation-threatened neighbours Tarxien Rainbows in yesterday afternoon’s second derby at Ta’ Qali. 

Hibernians twice had to come from behind, first with a Clayton Failla penalty and then with a late Jurgen Degabriele equaliser to salvage a late point.

The champions now join Floriana in fifth, one point adrift of Birkirkara.

As they stand, European qualification, something the Paolites have been chasing since coach Mario Muscat took over after the side fell short of the title challenge and was knocked out of the Trophy, might elude them.

Tarxien might have felt aggrieved by the fact that they ended up with only a point for the really strong effort they put into this match, as twice they were caught by their opponents after taking an early lead and then going in front six minutes from time.

Relegation fears thus linger for Tarxien as they stay three points above the drop zone and, most probably only a win in the next match against St Andrews will guarantee them automatic safety.

Gabriel Aquilina, Eduard Calin and Sean Cipriott were influential in midfield, while Traore's defence-splititng contribution alongside Tounkara provided the Hibernians' rearguard with some anxious moments.

The Rainbows could not have made a better start to such an important game, going up within the first two minutes when Samba Tounkara hit Traore's cross from the byeline on the right, first time past keeper Hogg.

But Hibernians' response was immediate. Failla's shot from a distance ended just wide. On 10 minutes Lima was denied by the Rainbows' keeper Andrea Cassar, blocking his close-range shot.

The champions were level on the quarter hour when awarded a penalty after defender Baker felled Dias inside the area. Clayton Failla tucked it away with a powerful low drive.

To their credit, the Rainbows refused to buckle and both sides could have added further goals in a highly contested first half.

On 22 minutes, Tounkara darted inside the Hibernians area in a fluent attacking Tarxien move and was twice blocked by goalkeeper Hogg. He then shot slightly over.

On the other end, Mbong played the ball to Degabriele but the Tarxien keeper stretched himself to save. And on the stroke of halftime, Kreuzriegler's gaolbound effort was deflected by Dias with his head but keeper Cassar was alert and saved well.

The second half remained evenly balanced but not less exciting with some drama reserved for the end.

Hibernians introduced Joao Moreira for Bezzina short of the hour and Dunstan Vella, who had replaced the injured Tabone Desira in the first half, took a more advanced central role.

A meaty Failla free kick was turned into a corner by keeper Cassar.

But Tarxien showed no lack of fight. Faria arrived fractionally late on Traore's cross from the left and on 74 minutes a splitting run by Traore from midfield presented Aquilina with a good scoring chance but his effort was turned into a corner.

Hibernians put in another striker, Arlindo Neto for the last nine minutes but were surprised by Tarxien's second goal six minutes from full time. Ricardo Faria connected well to Tounkara's cross from the left and slotted the ball past keeper Hogg.

Late frantic efforts by the champions allowed them to sneak back into the game to share the points with the last effective attack. After a Dias effort was cleared on the line, Jurgen Degabriele hit a powerful drive from edge of the area that beat keeper Andrea Cassar and deny Tarxien the win.

 

MOSTA 0
NAXXAR LIONS 2

Mosta: A. Vella, M. Sammartino, G. Nuti (J. Tanti), T. Veronese, I. Maric, D. Mansi, T. Farrugia, L. Ferreira (J. Vella), D. Xuereb, K. Magro, D. Bartulovic (C. Camilleri)

Naxxar L: L. Polli Gomes, R. Caetano, M. Duarte, R. Grech, M. Micallef (M. Fenech), D. Bonnici, J. Debono (R. Cassar), D. Bustos (R. Grima), M. Casarotto, D. Belhadj, Y. Messias

Referee: E. Mangion

Asst.refs: P. Apap, P. Abela

4th official: S. Spiteri

Scorers: J. Debono 18, D. Bustos 85

Yellow cards: D. Mansi, G. Nuti, K. Magro, D. Bonnici, D. Bustos, R. Grech, D. Xuereb

Red cards: D. Mansi, K. Magro

Player of the match: D. Bustos (Naxxar L)

TMI top 3: 1. R. Grech 3. D. Bustos 3. A. Vella

Naxxar Lions won this scrappy derby against struggling neighbours Mosta with a goal in each half to keep their slim hopes of salvation alive. Following St Andrews’ win on Saturday, the Lions needed a win to avoid automatic relegation.

Naxxar dominated despite coming into the game on a downer, having lost the previous three matches on the trot and failed to win in their previous seven.

They caused the Mosta rearguard some real problems in the opening 45 minutes, but the Lions had to settle for only a one-goal advantage at halftime.

The Lions remained the better and stronger side after the interval and although they added another goal in the late stages, the margin of victory could have been much better at the end, when they were at their most oppressive in the last quarter hour.

This defeat extended Mosta’s miserable league run of eight winless matches. Yesterday they offered little risposte and failed to get back to terms after falling behind early. They ended the match with nine men after Mansi and Magro were both sent off for second cautions. Mosta are now only two points above the play-off place.

Darren Falzon for Naxxar and Mosta’s Zachary Brincat were both suspended.

After a cagey start, Naxxar began to settle well into the match and had already gone close with long-range efforts from Messias and Bustos before taking the lead after 18 minutes. Grech’s cross was headed by Belhadj in the path of Jurgen Debono who hit low at the far post of keeper Andreas Vella.

Naxxar kept showing the better ideas. Midway through the half, a Messias rising shot was held out by the stretched Mosta keeper.

Past the half hour, Mosta, who had been struggling to create any chances of note, almost equalised after the Naxxar keeper Polli failed to clear a Veronese free kick but Xuereb was unable to put his effort on target from a promising position.

Mosta were always unnerved when their opponents broke and could have been undone on the stroke of halftime. Grech played a long balll inside the Mosta area, with Bustos beating the offside trap, but, alone in front of the goalkeeper, failed to conlcude and the chance went to waste.

Mosta introduced Jan Tanti and even Calvin Camilleri in the second half but, with Ferreira largely anonymous, they had neither the craft nor the pace to threaten and Naxxar could defend their lead with minimal difficulty. They even fluffed chances to increase their lead when Messias skied the ball on a Bustos low cross inside the Mosta area and Bustos himslef hit the ball over from a Micallef pass.

Mosta came up with a Mansi routine header from a Veronese corner on 75 minutes.

But Naxxar were utterly dominant in the game’s late stages. Belhadj’s shot hit the underside of the bar and rebounded in play on Messias’ cross. Mosta keeper Vella saved Bonnici’s powerful drive in two attempts before blocking Messias, who had come face to face with him inside the area.

Seven minutes from the end, Mosta had defender Mansi sent off for a second caution.

Naxxar immediately capitalised two minutes later. Messias advanced towards goal, played the ball forward to Daniel Bustos who finished off in style.

And Mosta’s misery was complete when captain Magro was also sent off for a second caution with two minutes remaining.

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