The Malta Independent 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Lumbilla Kandja comes, scores and conquers for Hamrun

Malta Independent Monday, 14 January 2013, 11:39 Last update: about 7 years ago

RABAT AJAX-                            1

HAMRUN SPARTANS-              3


Rabat A: J. Azzopardi, I. Carapic, J. Caruana (M. Fuster), J. Felice, J. Armaro Negrin, D. Falzon, P. Borg (G. Gesualdi), C. Brincat, D. Pendas, D. Azzopardi, C. Gauci

Hamrun S: A.Cassar, R. Fenech, G. Calabretta, R. Spiteri (C. Cassar), A. Borg, D. Camilleri, L. Grech, D. Zerafa, T, Vella (A. Micallef), B. Guga, L. Lumbilla Kandja

Referee:  C. Pisani

Asst.refs:  C. Francalanza, L. Portelli

4th official: A. Arciola

Scorers: L. Lumbilla Kandja 17,20, 38 pen, J. Felice 82 pen

Yellow cards: P. Borg, J. Azzopardi, D. Camilleri

Player of the match: L. Lumbilla Kandja (Hamrun S)

TMI top 3:  1. T. Vella  2. L. Lumbilla Kandja  3. D. Pendas


New French striker Loic Lumbilla Kandja had a dream debut for Hamrun Spartans yesterday as he inflicted heavy punishment on bottom side Rabat Ajax, helping himself to a first half hat trick, showing acceptable athletic qualities  and some finishing instincts, to win the match for his new club.

That brought an end to Hamrun’s dismal run of eight consecutive league defeats and lifts them into tenth place, three points above Melita in the standings. But victory would not have been achieved without the support of Terence Vella, Ryan Spiteri and David Camilleri around him.

This defeat leaves hapless Rabat in the mire, and judging on yesterday’s performance, the drop for the Magpies looks the more inevitable.

Hamrun had Massimo Grima and Glenn Azzopardi suspended and dropped Ayrton Micallef to the bench. Andrea Cassar started in goal, back after a two-match suspension, but was substituted past the half hour for precautionary measures after receiving a head knock. Terence Vella also returned in attack. He failed to put his name on the scoresheet but had a hand in two of his side’s goals. Apart form Lumbilla Kandja, the Spartans also gave a debut to Albanian central defender Bledjon Guga .

He partnered Roderick Fenech at the back and both dominated their area during the few times Rabat made progress inside their territory.

Rabat in fact were on the backfoot from the time their vulnerable defence collapsed to concede two sloppy goals before the match was 20 minutes old.

On 17 minutes, Calabretta delivered a testing cross, after a goalmouth scramble inside the Rabat area, Spiteri’s header was palmed out by keeper Azzopardi for Lumbilla Kandja to hit in from close range.

Three minutes later Vella breezed past the static Brincat from the right, and crossed for Lumbilla Kandja to double Hamrun’s lead.

Rabat’s flacid reaction came on 22 minutes when David Azzopardi played the ball forwrd for Pendas on the left but keeper Cassar turned his shot into a corner.

Rabat put in Fuster for the slow Caruana in midfield but continued to absorb Hamrun’s pressure. On 37 minutes, efforts by Calabrtetta and Lumbilla Kandja were blocked by their defence and a minute later Rabat’s basckline was again caught on the hop as Camilleri put  Vella clear for the latter to play the ball wide to Lumbilla Kandja who was tripped by the onrushing keeper to concede a penalty.

The French forward stepped up to beat keeper Azzopardi for the third time and virtually make sure of the points.

Rabat reshuffled their defence after that with Gaetan Gesualdi going in for Borg as right back, Brincat moved in the centre of defence and Gauci switched on the left.

Hamrun somehow eased down after the interval and allowed their opponents more comfort on the ball. Devoid of ideas, Rabat always remained unlikely to improve.They  went close though towards the hour when a Pendas through ball was kicked by the Hamrun keeper in the path of Negrin, but the loose ball ended inches wide, with Camilleri controlling the proceedings.

Lumbilla Kandja was still a contstant menace. Following his good footwork on 72 minutes, substitute Cassar’s low drive was saved by keeper Azzopardi. And when the Frenchman went past threee opponents and passed to Cassar, the latter failed to conclude.

Rabat only mounted some belated pressure with the roaming  Diego Pandas looking most dangerous with his free kick and shot blocked by keeper Curmi. His cross shot from the left on 76 minutes was cleared by Guga on the goal line.

Pandas procured the penalty eight minutes from time when felled inside the area by defender Grech. Justin Felice pulled one back from the spot but that was only scant consolation for a poor Rabat side, almost resigned to its fate.

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