The Malta Independent 17 November 2019, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Held by Birkirkara, Hamrun miss chance to go 2nd alone

Henry Brincat Sunday, 27 October 2019, 20:19 Last update: about 3 days ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Hamrun S. 0

Birkirkara  0 

Hamrun S.: E. Bartolo, T. Caruana, J. Soares, W. Domoraud, N. Leone, L. Soufiane, D. Borg, M. Criaco, R. Darmanin (C. Failla 58), O. Nikolopoulos, M. Cinquini

Birkirkara: A.  Hogg, E. Pepe, M. Guillaumier, M. Vella, R. Briffa, F. Falcone (K. Zammit 83), C. Attard, C. Prado (M. Mifsud 87), O. Carniello, R. Fenech, I. Ntow

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Referee: T. Farrugia Cann

Asst refs: R. Vella, D. Spencer

4th official: M. Spiteri

Scorers:

Yellow cards: W. Domoraud 59, C. Attard 77, L. Soufiane 87, N. Leone 90, R. Briffa 90

Red card: M. Guillaumier 78.

BOV Player of the match: C. Prado

TMI Top 3: 1. C. Prado, 2. A. Soares, 3. C. Attard.

Attendance: 802

Hamrun Spartans missed the chance to move alone to second place in the standings as they were held to a goalless draw by an improved Birkirkara side yesterday evening.

The Spartans disappointed their followers as they were expected to beat the struggling Birkirkara who have collected just 7 points from eight matches.

Hamrun therefore remain third on 15 points, five behind leaders Floriana and one behind second placed Sirens, who have 16.

The Stripes were in search of only a second win in this campaign and coach Andreas Paus surprised everyone by leaving midfielder Miguel Alba on the reserves' bench, not even using him as substitute.

The first half was one of the most mediocre in all the Premier League matches played so far.

Play was mostly restricted to midfield and neither team seemed able to go past the two defences which were too strong for the two sets of front lines which proved to be toothless.

It was only in the final few minutes that the match came to life as Birkirkara created two good actions which, however, were not converted into goals.

The second half followed the same pattern in the early stages, but as time went by, Birkirkara took the upper hand and also created a few chances which, however, went abegging, although on one occasion, they were thwarted by an excellent Bartolo between the Hamrun posts.

When Matthew Guillaumier was sent off, one thought that Hamrun would take over the initiative, but Birkirkara were still the better team as they continued searching for the goal that would have given them a deserved win.

In the 9th minute, Birkirkara went close when Cain Attard received a good ball from Caio Prado, but his effort was turned to corner by Bartolo.

Hamrun replied on the 14th minute when Wilfried Domoraud set Marco Criaco on the edge of the area, but his fine effort was equally well saved by the diving Andrew Hogg.

On 18 minutes, Hamrun tried again through a shot from the edge of the area by Lagzir Soufiane, but his effort went well over the bar.

In the 39th minute, Caio Prado was set in the Hamrun area, but his lob from the angle failed to leave the desired effect as the ball landed on the roof of the net.

In the 42nd minute a Prado cross was cleared out to Matthew Guillaumier who passed to Falcone, only for the latter to shoot well over the bar.

In the 45th minute Prado advanced into the Hamrun area and his low cross went to Guillaumier, but the latter's first timer was central and blocked by Bartolo with the ball being eventually cleared by a Hamrun defender.

In the 49th minute, Briffa set Attard on the right and the latter's cross went to Guillaumier whose header hit his team-mate Falcone on its way to goal.

In the 57th minute, Prado sent in a good cross, but Maurizio Vella hit well wide from a good position.

In the 72nd minute, Hamrun went close through Domoraud who had a shot on the turn going just over the bar.

Birkirkara had Guillaumier sent off in the 78th minute, but with a man less, they managed to create the best opportunity when off a Briffa pass, it was Caio Prado who brought the best out of goalie Emmanuel Bartolo.

Soon after, it was Ryan Fenech who had a good shot going wide and in the 88th minute, it was Maurizio Vella who tried his luck from the edge of the area, but the ball also went wide.

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