The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

BOV Div. I: Lija keep 100% record with Palomino brace; early strike sets Pieta on the right track

Chris Cassar Sunday, 6 October 2019, 20:50 Last update: about 6 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Lija A-Vittoriosa S         2-1

Lija A: L. Bonnici, C. Cassar, M. Clinch, L. Muscat, C. Giordimaina, A. Galea (A. Azzopardi 78'), A. Borg, C. Gauci, K. Seankanyeng (G. Borg 92'), M. Palomino, E. Beu

Vittoriosa S: Z. Valletta, K. Vella, C. Spiteri, J. Briffa, A. Galea, L. Gauci, A. Ellul (I. Abela 89'), D. Tabone, G. Sultana, O. Guerrero, L. Casha (I. Abela 57')

Referee: Slawomir Olucha

Scorers: Manuel Palomino 5', 90' (L), Oscar Guerrero

Lija Athletic made it four wins out of four, thanks to a brace by their Venezuelan centre-forward Manuel Palomino. The team led by coach Joseph Galea started well and took an early lead in the fifth minute, a free-kick by Aiden Galea from the right was headed into the net from close range by Palomino, leaving Vittoriosa goalkeeper Zach Valletta without a chance. In the second part of the first half, Vittoriosa saw more of the ball and in the 28th minute, Liam Gauci beat the offsite trap, however, his attempt hit the post. Two minutes later, Vittoriosa were awarded a penalty for a foul on Oscar Guerrero. The Colombian took the kick himself and beat Luke Bonnici with a low shot, despite the fact that the custodian touched the ball with his fingertips.

Lija dominated the second half, but without setting any houses on fire. Close to the hour mark, Kabelo Seankanyeng had a fine individual move on the edge of the box, but Vittoriosa goalkeeper Valletta blocked his effort. The Botswana international proved to be more than a handful for the Vittoriosa defence during the match and had another chance on 70 minutes but his shot from inside the box was blocked by a Vittoriosa defender. The match was destined for a draw, but Palomino scored the winner on the stroke of full-time with a low shot from close-range. 


Zebbug R-Pieta H          0-1

Zebbug R: M. Grech, C. Brincat, D. Fava, G. Gesualdi (O. Busuttil 92'), R. Vella, R. Zammit, J. Farrugia (A. Williams 46'), M. Del Negro, S. Buhagiar (R. Cutajar 80'),M. Ojuola, M. Fagbeja.

Pieta' H: M. Chetcuti, Q. Bregman, L. Adamec, D. Vukovic, T. Bartolo, I. Jalo (J. Ghio 59'), C. Gauci, N. Pace Cocks, N. Pisani (C. Bouvet 73'), J. Scicluna (S. Mizzi 88'), Ze Lucas.

Referee: Mario Apap

Scorer: Nicholas Pisani 5'

A Nicholas Pisani strike after barely five minutes play was enough to put Pieta back on the winning track after their defeat against Lija. Pieta were the better team in the first half, but Zebbug came back strongly on the resumption but could not find a way past a brilliant Chetcuti in the Pieta goal.

The all-important goal arrived after five minutes play when James Scicluna did well to beat his marker on the right flank, crossed to the unmarked Nicholas Pisani who shot high past Zebbug goalkeeper Matthew Grech.

In the second half however Chetcuti distinguished himself with some fine saves, which kept Pieta in the match. A header by Williams in the 70th minute was saved in style by the same Chetcuti. Ten minutes later, a Muda Fagbeja goal was annulled due to dangerous play by the Nigerian, a decision which brought protests by the Zebbug clan. Deep into added time, even goalkeeper Grech went forward in search of an equaliser, but Pieta' managed to keep Zebbug at bay.

Qrendi-Zejtun C             1-4

Qrendi: R. Marmara, L. Martinelli, E. Vella, S. Radovanovic, D. Azzopardi, A. Agius (S. Schembri 70'), C. Camilleri, D. Sammut, L. Schembri (B. Muscat 61'), A. Nilsson (D. Zarb 78'), J. Silva

Zejtun C: C. Cassar, K. Farrugia, D. Sowatey, L. Cassar, A. Mizzi, N. Tabone, D. Agius (J. Galea 85'), J. Suda, A. Carabott (R. Attard 78'), J. Ogunnupe, S. Do Nascimento (R. de Fex 30'). 

Referee: Trustin Farrugia-Cann

Scorers: Joseph Ogunuppe 11' (Z), Alex Nilsson 26' pen (Q), Jurgen Suda 30' pen (Z), Adrian Carabott 45' (Z), Rafael de Fex 60' (Z)

Zejtun deservedly beat Qrendi to gain their first victory of the season and infilct the first setback on high flying Qrendi.

In the 11th minute Zejtun took the lead thanks to Joseph Ogunuppe with a wonderful rising shot from the edge of the box. On 26 minutes Qrendi were awarded a penalty after Dasser Sammut was fouled in the box by Lesley Cassar-Jackson. Alex Nilsson made no mistake from the spot to put both teams level. Just after the half hour Zejtun were awarded a penalty after Ogunuppe was fouled in the box by Andrew Agius and Suda made no mistake from the spot to put Zejtun 1-2 up.

On the stroke of haf-time, after a great counter-attack, Carabott chipped the ball nicely over Marmara from the edge of the box to give his team a 3-1 lead at half-time, a wonderful goal.

Qrendi took advantage of the wind in the second half and created some good goal scoring opportunities. In the 52nd minute, Leejoe Schembri was close to the 2-3 with an attempt from close range and one minute later a Jonatan Silva long distance drive was fisted away by Christian Cassar, the Zejtun custodian. Schembri had another goal attempt on 58 minutes, dribbling his way into the box but Cassar saved in style. However, on the hour, Zejtun made it 1-4 with their very first goal opportunity in the second half. Kane Farrugia crossed from the right flank to substitute Rafael de Fex who scored from close range. This goal took the spirit out of the match as Qrendi were rarely dangerous in the Zejtun box anymore after that. 

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