The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: 10-man Senglea beat Pieta for 4th consecutive victory

Henry Brincat Saturday, 9 February 2019, 15:55 Last update: about 11 days ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Senglea A.            2
Pieta H.                1

Senglea: M. Farrugia, T. Marukawa (G. Camilleri 90), M. Sidqy, Z. Cassar, L. Grech, R. Silva Santos (K. Cutajar 73), D. Venancio, M. Garcia, A. Caseres, A. Mrsulja, C. Sammut

Pieta H.: N. Vella, C. Degabriele (D. Agius 57), J. Busuttil (P. Chimezie 84), N. Pisani (J. Scicluna 76), G. Mensah, JM Artiaga, C. Grech, S. Radovanovic, U. Calistus, I. Jalo, A. Macedo

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Referee: S. Pace

Asst refs: L. Portelli, P. Apap

4th official: G. Tonna

Scorers: M. Sidqy 36, N. Pisani 45, A. Caseres 59

Yellow cards: I. Jalo 14, U. Calistus 17, R. Silva Santos 18, C. Sammut 26, C. Grech 55, T. Marukawa 56, S. Radovanovic 60, J. Busuttil 62, D. Agius 64, A. Macedo 67, L. Grech 82, M. Farrugia 90

Red cards: A. Mrsulja 62

BoV Player of the Match: T. Marukawa

TMI Top Three: 1. T. Marukawa, 2. J. Busuttil, 3. D. Venencio

Senglea registered their 4th consecutive win in this second round as they beat fellow relegation candidates Pieta Hotspurs 2-1 in a tension-packed match at the Centenary Stadium.

Augusto Caseres was their hero yesterday as he scored what proved to be winner in the second half. Earlier, they had taken the lead through El Mehdi Sidqy, but Pieta had temporarily equalised just before the interval.

The three points have helped the Athletic to move to 11th place, jointly with Mosta on 16 points. Pieta remain in 13th place on 10 points, three above bottom placed Qormi.

The game was characterised by numerous fouls which resulted in one red card and 12 yellow cards.

The match took some time to take off as both sides seemed to be studying each other well in view of the fact that they both needed the points badly, embroiled as they are in the relegation battle.

The first half was balanced but Senglea appeared to be slightly more dangerous in their attacks, though most of their conclusions were erratic.

Pieta also tried hard but when Calistus missed a 35th minute penalty, the road seemed to have become uphill especially when just a few seconds later, Senglea took the lead.

But they showed character to hit back and draw level just before the interval.

In the second half, Senglea were the better team at the start and deserved to take the lead once again, but after they had Mrsulja sent off, Pieta hit back strongly in search of an equaliser.

Senglea defended grimly and managed to hold on till the very end to collect three more precious points.

The first action arrived on 14 minutes when Leighton Grech's cross from the right was excellently handled by goalie Nicholas Vella who anticipated Antonio Caseres.

On 23 minutes, Marukawa received the ball on the left flank and advanced into the Pieta area, but his shot was blocked by Christian Grech.

Pieta were awarded a penalty on 35 minutes when Arian Mrsulja floored Nicholas Pisani in the area. From the resultant spotkick, Gabriel Mensah saw his effort well saved by Matthew Farrugia.

The Hotspurs paid dearly for this lapse as Senglea quickly took advantage to take the lead themselves. It was El Mehdi Sidqy who hit home past Nicholas Vella from a Diego Venancio cornerkick.

Moments later, Vella had to dive full length to turn to corner a dangerous shot by Marukawa.

The same Marukawa missed a good chance on 44 minutes when he dribbled his way into the Pieta area only to hit wide from an ideal position.

Soon after, at the other end, Pieta equalised when Jan Busuttil bustled his way into the Senglea area and saw his shot partially parried by Farrugia, but there was Nicholas Pisani to hit home from practically over the goal-line.

Soon after the start of the second half, Pieta went close when Woo Ling set Mensah beautifully, but the latter's fine volley just missed the target.

Senglea were back in the lead on 59 minutes. It was Garcia who set Augusto Caseres who advanced into the area to hit home past the onrushing Vella.

A few moments later, Senglea ended in 10 men when Mrsulja was shown a second yellow card after a midpitch brawl which involved several players. He was therefore dismissed.

Pieta threatened through a D. Agius shot on 74 minutes, but goalie Farrugia saved confidently.

On the 83rd minute, from a Radovanovic freekick, Grech anticipated goalie Farrugia, but his header went over the bar.

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