The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: Spoils shared in balanced match as Stripes remain without a win

Henry Brincat Friday, 20 September 2019, 21:47 Last update: about 26 days ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Mosta              1
Birkirkara        1

Mosta: A. Vella, E. Murga, A. Roach  (G. Aquilina 89), W. Gomes, D. Bonnici (K. Gatt 90), N. Kotlov (Z. Brincat 62), D. Xuereb, R. Morisco, T. Farrugia, L. Villareal, M. Muchardi

Birkirkara: A. Hogg, E. Pepe, EL Dos Santos (M. Vella 59), K. Zammit, R. Briffa, F. Falcone, C. Attard, CH Prado, OM Carniello, M. Alba (M. Mifsud 80), R. Fenech

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Referee: M. Degabriele

Asst refs: P. Apap

4th official: I. Barbara

Scorers: E. Murga 17, M. Alba 72 pen.

Yellow cards: OM Carniello 14, EL Dos Santos 24, E. Murga 17, L. Villareal 26

BOV Player of the match: C. Prado

TMI Top 3: 1. R. Fenech, 2. M. Muchardi, 3. C. Prado

Attendance: 849

 

Mosta and Birkirkara shared the spoils in a balanced encounter yesterday at the Centenary Stadium.

Mosta took the lead in the first half through Edin Murga, while Birkirkara equalised in the second half through a Miguel Alba penalty.

The draw means that the Stripes remain without a victory from their opening four matches - a sign of a confidence crisis looming at the club which was considered as potential title challengers before the start of the season.

Mosta did well to register a positive result after their unexpected 4-3 defeat at the hands of Sirens in their previous encounter.

Making his debut in the Birkirkara starting line-up was former Hibernians striker Edison Luis dos Santos (Tarabaj), of Brazil. His presence, behind the two strikers, was mostly ineffective. No surprise he was substituted early in the second half.

The match was more or less balanced but Mosta created the better scoring chances, especially in the first half with Murga and Muchardi providing the Birkirkara defence with some threatening moments.

On the other hand, Birkirkara simply failed to live up to expectations. It was obvious that the team is passing through a confidence crisis. They found it hard to move forward and especially past the strong Mosta rearguard, even if Ryan Fenech and Caio Prado did their utmost to get their team-mates going.

In the second half, the Stripes improved considerably and forced Mosta to defend, but they missed the chances which came their way and, at the end, they had to be content with just another point.

Moreover, Mosta were dangerous in their counter-attacks and came closer to scoring, even just before the final whistle.

On the third minute, Mosta missed a glaring scoring opportunity when off a Murga cross, Muchardi, alone in front of goal, hit wide.

Three minutes later, goalie Hogg had to dive full length to save a Muchardi good effort.

Birkirkara's reply arrived on the 16th minute. Ryan Fenech set Caio Prado in the Mosta area, but the latter's effort was blocked by the goalie. From the resultant cornerkick, it was again Fenech who tried his luck from outside the area, but his fine rising shot just missed the target.

At the other end, Mosta took the lead when off a Roach cross, it was Edin Murga who beat Hogg, his shot hitting the underpart of the crossbar before ending at the back of the net.

The Stripes failed to make a strong reaction, but in the 31st minute, Cain Attard bustled his way into the Mosta area, only for his dangerous cross to be intercepted by goalie Vella.

As the second half started, Birkirkara went close to an equaliser. Falcone set Prado on the edge of the area, but the latter's low shot went just wide.

Moments later, from a Kurt Zammit cross, the Mosta defence failed to clear, but a Falcone effort was saved by goalie Vella.

In the 66th minute, following an Alba cornerkick, it was Prado again who had a low shot going just wide.

In the 71st minute, Birkirkara were awarded a penalty when Kurt Zammit was floored by Dexter Xuereb in the area. From the spotkick, Miguel Alba made no mistake to level the score.

Eight minutes later, a Muchardi effort was well saved by Hogg.

In the 81st minue, Mosta went very close to scoring when substitute Brincat won a tackle with Hogg, but his angled shot was cleared on the line by Zammit to a corner.

Mosta now started moving forward once again and Zachary Brincat had a fine effort going just wide.

At the other end, Birkirkara responded with three efforts. First it was Briffa who saw his partially deviated shot going just wide to corner. That was followed by  Michael Mifsud first timer which ended judst over, while Falcone missed the best opportunity, firing well over the bar from five metres.

Near the end, Mosta almost snatched victory when Murga advanced into the area only to see his effort blocked by goalie Hogg.

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