The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: Gżira United slip up again

Stewart Said Sunday, 3 February 2019, 17:11 Last update: about 16 days ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

GZIRA            1
SLIEMA W      1

Gżira: J. Haber, R. Briffa, R. Soares, F. Barbosa, S. Borg (M. Beerman 46'), E. Bilbao Zarate, N. Muscat, G. Conti (Z. Scerri 85'), A. Cohen (J. Domoraud 68'), J. Mengolo, H. Garba

Sliema: T. Aquilina, M. Sansone (J. Mintoff 82'), K. Shaw, J. Pearson, S. Biancardi, M. Muchardi, M. Scerri, Y. Marzouk, F. Temile, K. Amehi (R. Fenech 55'), I. Varela (C. Olivares 68')

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Yellow Cards: S. Borg 21', J. Domoraud 87' (G), R. Fenech 74' (S)

Scorers: Y. Marzouk 27' (S), E. Bilbao Zarate 43' (G)

Referee: Mario Apap

Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Mitchell Scerri

TMI Top 3: 1. H. Garba (G), 2. M. Muchardi (S), 3. E. Bilbao Zarate (G)

BOV Player of the match: Haruna Garba (Gżira United)

Another game and another draw for Gżira United who again slipped up with their seventh seasonal draw, this time again Sliema Wanderers. Gżira failed to be dangerous enough in front of goal and they scored from a blunder by Timothy Aquilina.

Assistant coach Ivan Woods guided Sliema after John Buttigieg was sacked following their elimination from the FA Trophy. Apart from playing Aquilina in goal ahead of their regular goalkeeper Jake Galea, Woods should be happy of the team's performance.

Newly striker Ignacio Varela created the first danger of the game for Sliema on the 23rd minute with a potent low shot that was well saved by Justin Haber. Gżira reacted a minute later from a corner by Andrew Cohen, the header by Rodolfo Soares finished off target.

The Wanderers opened the score from the next action as referee Mario Apap pointed to the penalty spot after a late tackle by Sasha Borg on Kilian Amehi. Midfielder Younes Marzouk stepped up and beat Haber with a powerful central shot.

Gżira pressed more in search of the equalising goal but only had a free-kick by Cohen on the half hour mark that finished over the crossbar. But Darren Abdilla's team scored before the end of the half in an unusual way. Edison Bilbao Zarate had a low effort from outside the box that didn't look dangerous, but the goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina failed to handle the shot and ended in the net.

Darren Abdilla brought in Myles Beerman instead of Sacha Borg to push more from the left flank. Haruna Garba was active in the first part of the second half.

He had a shot blocked by Kurt Shaw on the 49th minute and had an effort saved by Aquilina after an hour. Sliema's only real chance in the second half was a low shot by Matias Muchardi that was saved by Haber.

Gżira had a golden opportunity in the middle of the second half as Garba crossed from the left side to the incoming Roderick Briffa but despite his experience, he failed to beat Aquilina from few metres and hit well over the bar.

Sliema were controlling the efforts by their opponents and closed the gaps well to deny Gżira from dangerous occasions. Rodolfo Soares could have scored the winner with a header on the 88th minute that was saved by Aquilina.

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