The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Veteran Michael Mifsud leads Birkirkara to important win against Sliema

Henry Brincat Friday, 2 November 2018, 22:09 Last update: about 15 days ago
Photos: Jonathan Bugeja
Photos: Jonathan Bugeja

Birkirkara               2
Sliema W.              0

Birkirkara: K. Naumovski, D. Chapoval, M. Guillaumier (M. Beerman 90), M. Andelkovic, P. Orlandic (E. Herrera 83), J. Grech (P. Fenech 76), K. Zammit, E. Ferreira dos Santos, M. Mifsud, Cain Attard, M. Franca de Siqueira

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Sliema W.: J. Galea, M. Mucciardi (R. Fenech 70), K. Shaw, J. Pearson (S. Cassar 83), M. Scerri (Y. Marzouk 68), J. De Assis, F. Temile, M. Sansone, K. Amerhi, C. Pani, S. Biancardi

Referee: G. Tonna

Asst refs:  E. Spiteri, S. Duncan

4th official: P. Farrugia

Scorers: M. Mifsud 39, 90

Yellow cards: D. Chapoval 53, K. Amehi 65

Red cards: D. Chapoval 62, K.Amehi 89

Player of the match: M. Mifsud

TMI Top 3: 1. M. Mifsud, 2. M. Guillaumier, 3. C. Pani

Attendance: 410

Veteran striker Michael Mifsud was the hero for Birkirkara yesterday as he scored the two goals to lead his side to an important win against Sliema Wanderers.

The Stripes, who had lost their last match against Hamrun last week, deserved their win yesterday as they were the better outfit. The Blues left much to be desired as they rarely were given the chance to have a real pot at goal.

The three points have enabled the Stripes to join Balzan in 5th place on the 15-point mark, one point behind the Wanderers. Of course they (and Sliema) have played a match more than the others.

Sliema had coach John Buttigieg suspended with his assistant Ivan Woods taking over for this match. The Blues welcomed back among their ranks defender Alex Muscat after a long absence through injury, but he only made it to the substitutes' bench.

The Stripes enjoyed more possession in the first half and they deserved their slender 1-0 lead.

The Stripes appeared to be a more determined side than their recent performances. They were in command of midfield as Jake Grech and Mislav Andelkovic were in command spraying good passes to Mifsud and Franca on the two flanks.

Sliema were a shadow of the team which was doing so well in the initial stages of the competition and had to play second fiddle from the outset, limiting their actions to just a few counterattacks which were taken well care of by the Birkirkara defence.

 In the second half, Sliema were a transformed outfit and they went out in search of an equaliser.

But Birkirkara defended well and Naumovski was never really tested. The Stripes rarely ventured forward as they elected to defend their slender lead, especially after finishing in 10 men on 62 minutes when Chapoval was dismissed for a second yellow card.

But when Sliema had Ameki sent off, they quickly took advantage to seal the issue with a second goal just before the end.

Birkirkara took the initiative from the first whistle and on nine minutes it was Jake Grech who tested goalie Jake Galea, but the latter saved easily.

Four minutes later, after an Orlandic effort was blocked, the ball ran out to Mifsud, but the low shot was well saved by the diving Galea.

Sliema's reply arrived on 17 minutes when Jefferson De Assis had a shot from the angle deviated to corner.

In the 26th minute, Sliema threatened through Amehi whose shot forced Naumovski to punch the ball away.

Three minutes later, at the other end, a Franca fine effort was excellently turned to corner by Galea.

Birkirkara took the lead on 39 minutes when from a Jake Grech cornerkick, it was former Sliema player Michael Mifsud was headed into the Blues net.

The Stripes ended in 10 men on 62 minutes when Chapoval received a second yellow card for a foul on Amehi.

Sliema now took command of midfield, but they could not find their way past the Birkirkara defence.

On 80 minutes, in a rare Birkirkara move upfield, it was substitute Fenech who tried his luck from the edge of the area, but his shot was well off target.

On 86 minutes, from a cornerkick action, Kurt Shaw saw his weak header being easily saved by Naumovski.

Numerical parity was restored in the 89th minute when K. Amehi also saw red following a second yellow card.

In added time, Mifsud was through in the Sliema area, but Galea rushed out of his charge to avoid an awkward situation for the Wanderers.

And it was Mifsud who received a perfect pass from Franca just before the end to advance and beat Galea for the second time to assure his side of the three points.

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