The Malta Independent 29 February 2020, Saturday

BOV Premier League: Santa Lucia surprise Gzira to earn three precious points

Henry Brincat Sunday, 19 January 2020, 17:26 Last update: about 2 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Gzira        1
Sta Lucia  2

Gzira

J. Haber

F. Barbosa

G. Conti

Z. Scerri

R. Soares (N. Muscat 65)

J. Corbolan

H. Kone

S. Borg

M. Criaco (R. Darmanin 46)

M. Davis (A. Cohen 56)

W. Domoraud

 

Sta Lucia

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T. Aquilina

G. Bohrer

K. Correia

A. Magri Overend

D. Segura (N. Micallef 63)

K. Ante Rosero (L. Galea 90)

L. Riascos

J. Walker (O. Elouni 85)

F. Zuniga

J. Zerafa

R. Tachikawa

 

 

Referee: M. Apap

Asst refs: A. Camilleri

4th official: T. Debono

Scorers: R. Tachikawa 14, 38, Z. Scerri 81,

Yellow cards: R. Soares 55, F. Zuniga 78

Red card: L. Riascos 60

BOV Player of the match: R. Tachikawa

TMI Top 3: 1. R. Tachikawa, 2. G. Bohrer, 3. H. Kone

Attendance: 437

 

Japanese striker Rei Tachikawa became a Sta Lucia hero yesterday as he led his side to a splendid 2-1 win over third placed Gzira United.

Tachikawa struck in the 14th and 38th minutes to give the Saints a 2-0 half time lead. Gzira scored through Zachary Scerri with 10 minutes to go, but it was not enough to earn them a point.

The defeat means that Gzira remain third on 28 points, six points adrift of league leaders Floriana.

For Sta Lucia, this was only their third win in 15 matches, but they have now joined Sliema on the 14-point mark, though the latter have today's match against Valletta in hand.

The first half was a complete upset for the Maroons who were surprised by the sprightliness of their opponents.

The Saints, in fact, deserved their two-goal lead as they were the more enterprising side giving the Gzira defence a good number of anxious moments, apart from the two goals they scored.

Gzira were taken completely by surprise and Giovanni Tedesco's boys simply had no answer.

They only managed one decent shot towards the Sta Lucia goal during those opening 45 minutes. And at the back, they were certainly found wanting as Tachikawa and Ante Rosero ripped them apart.

In the second half, Gzira pressed hard to get back into the game but their pressing led them nowhere.

When the Saints had Luis Riascos sent off midway through, Gzira increased their pressure considerably but still, they could not find their way past a resolute Santa Lucia defence.

The Saints fought gallantly all the way, especially when they were numerically inferior.

Sta Lucia had a bright start as they looked sharper in attack. On 10 minutes Kevin Ante Rosero was through in the Gzira half, but goalie Justin Haber rushed out to clear the ball with a header in extremis.

They even managed to take the lead in the 14th minute when Adam Magri Overend set Rei Tachikawa on the far edge of the area. The Japanese striker rounded a defender before hitting home a fine dipper that had Haber beaten all ends up.

Soon after, the Saints threatened again through a shot by Gabriel Bohrer which forced Haber to dive and turn to corner.

Gzira's first attempt arrived in the 29th minute. From a Martin Davis short freekick, Hamed Kone's shot was excellently turned to corner by Saints goalie Timothy Aquilina.

The Maroons were stunned in the 38th minute as the Saints scored again. Ante Rosero bustled his way into the Gzira area, went round a defender and squared low for Tachikawa who had a first shot blocked by a defender, but his excellent second shot went straight into the corner at the back of Haber's net.

At the start of the second half, Gzira threatened through substitute Ryan Darmanin who hit the side rigging after receiving a good through pass from Davis.

In the 65th minute, substitute Nikolai Muscat tested goalie Aquilina from around 20 metres, but the Saints goalie, despite parrying the shot, managed to collect the ball at the second attempt.

Gzira pressed hard and were finally rewarded in the 80th minute when Zachary Scerri managed to beat goalie Aquilina with a spectacular 20-metre shot for the best goal of the afternoon.

Three minutes later, Haber had to rush out of his charge to block an Ante Rosero incursion.

In the 88th minute, Sta Lucia had a golden opportunity to secure the three points when Ante Rosero rounded Haber on the left sided out of the area and set team-mate Adam Magri Overend, who fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

And a few moments later, Ante Rosero also had a cance when he advanced from midfield, but his shot was weak and central and did not bother Haber.

Deep into added time, from a Kone cross, a Domoraud header was well saved by goalie Aquilina.

That was the last action which saw the Saints claiming a second big scalp (they had beaten Valletta in their opening match way back in August).

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