The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Substitute’s last gasp equaliser saves league leaders’ blushes

Chris Cassar Saturday, 3 November 2018, 18:20 Last update: about 2 years ago
Photos: Trevor Sollars
Photos: Trevor Sollars

PIETÀ H             1
GŻIRA U             1

Pietà: N. Vella, O. Takaki, C. Grech, A. Machedo Neto, N. Pace Cocks (S. Nakamura 79'), D. Agius, J. Artiaga, I. Jalo, J. Busuttil, G. Mensah (C. Degabriele 78'), P. Chimezie

Gżira: A. Curmi, J. Corbalan, R. Soares, F. Barbosa, T. Veronese, Z. Scerri, E. Bilbao Zarate (J. Pereira da Silva 72'), R. Briffa, N. Muscat (A Cohen 60'), A. Samb, H. Garba

Yellow Cards: I. Jalo 6', N. Pace Cocks 11', A. Machedo Neto 57', D. Agius 90' P. Chimezie  (P), A. Samb 39', R. Soares 69' (G)

Scorers: P. Chimezie 89' (P), J. Pereira da Silva 93' (G)

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann

Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Ivan Galea

Player of the Match: Antonio Machedo Neto (Pietà Hotspurs)

League leaders Gzira yesterday scored a last gasp equaliser to save their unbeaten record against Pieta Hotspurs, who had taken a surprise lead a couple of minutes earlier. Gzira did save their unbeaten record, but in the end lost two precious points in the title race, as Valletta can keep breathing down their neck, provided they beat rivals Floriana in this afternoon's derby, and with the direct clash between Gzira and Valletta on Friday, yesterday's draw could leave its toll on the Maroons.

Pieta are surely a hard nut to crack, and after their come from behind victory against Floriana in their last outing, yesterday Ramon Zammit's side gave another good display. Well organised and tactically disciplined, Pieta were never outclassed even when the league leaders incresed the pressure to forge ahead.Although having more of the ball, the Maroons were a pale shadow of the team that easily disposed of Balzan seven days ago, and must surely show better ideas against Valletta on Friday.

Gzira took control of the game in the early stages but they rarely had a glimpse of goal in these early stages. Their first attempt came after ten minutes play with the ever improving Zachary Scerri testing Nicky Vella.

However this was practically what the Maroons had to offer in the first fourty five minutes even though  they enjoyed the lions share of ball possession. On 25 minutes Pieta had a good opportunity to forge ahead when Gzira goalkeeper Curmi managed to block in time striker Paul Chimezie, with the ball going towards Juan manuel Artiaga, who however blasted well over the bar from an ideal position.

Gzira were more determined and aggressive at the start of the second half and were rather unlucky not to break the deadlock on 50 minutes. A Veronese corner was beautifully headed by striker Haruna Garba, with the ball beating Vella, but Dylan Agius came to Pieta's rescue blocking the ball before it could pass over the goal line.Gzira continued to dictate but had to wait till the 72nd minute to come close again. Amadou Samb well served by Garba, had his shot blocked by Vella and the Pieta custodian was again called in action four minutes later, partially saving Veronese's freekick and Samb's rebound from close range.This was Gzira's best patch as they went for the kill, but received a stab in the back on 86 minutes when Pieta took the lead. Jan Busuttil showed all his worth opening up the Maroons' defence before passing towards Paul Chimezie, whose first shot was partially saved by Curmi and from the rebound the same Chimezie made no mistake.Gzira had an immediate reaction and three minutes later had a golden opportunity to level matters. Amadou Samb won a highly disputed penalty, but his shot from the penalty spot left much to be desired and Vella saved.

Gzira did not give up and on 92 minutes were rewarded when Barbosa crossed towards substitute Jorge Pereira Da Silva who managed to beat Nicky Vella to maintain Gzira's unbeaten run.  
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