The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Sliema sigh with relief after convincing win against Gzira in derby

Henry Brincat Saturday, 1 February 2020, 16:07 Last update: about 23 days ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

Sliema W.        2
Gzira U.            0               

Sliema W.: J. Galea, M. Sansone (C. Pani 81), A. Satariano (G. Barone 89), K. Shaw, J. Pearson (JC Gill 46), J. Mintoff, M. Scerri, F. Vasilchik, J. Cisotti, E. Agius, A. Oyama

Gzira U.: J. Haber, F. Barbosa, Z. Scerri, A. Cohen (M. Davis (67), JC Corbalan, C. Gatt Baldacchino, H. Kone, S. Borg (N. Muscat 83), A. Samb (D. Xuereb 67), M. Criaco, W. Domoraud

Referee: D. Agius

Asst refs: M. Scerri, D. Stankovic

4th official: M. Degabriele

Scorers: A. Satariano 55, A. Oyama 62,

Yellow cards: M. Scerri 3, JC Corbalan 36, A. Cohen 38, K. Shaw 41, M. Criaco 52, A. Samb 66, J. Cisotti 80, C. Gatt Baldacchino 90)

BOV Player of the match: A. Satariano

TMI Top 3: 1. A. Satariano, 2. J. Cisotti, 3. A. Oyama.

Alex Satariano scored a wonder goal early in the second half and Arthur Oyama scored a second later against Gzira to give Sliema a very important win in yesterday's derby.

As a result, the Wanderers sighed with relief as they claimed their 6th win from the 16 matches played. It enabled them to move onto the 17-point mark. Gzira remained on 28 points.

For the Maroons it was a big setback to their hopes of continuing their challenge for the title. And it was also a big disappointment for new coach Paul Zammit. Judging from this rather poor performance, it seems as if he has a tough job to get the Maroons back on track.

Sliema coach Alfonso Greco started this derby with his best formation although leaving the two Claudios - Zappa and Pani - as well as Juan Gill Cruz on the substitutes' bench.

On their part, the Maroons were under the charge of Paul Zammit for the first time since he replaced the dismissed Giovanni Tedesco.

In the first half, play was more or less balanced but Gzira perhaps enjoyed a slight edge in possession.

Both sides created a good chance each, but they both failed to take advantage, the biggest sinner being Sliema's Vasilchik who headed wide when completely unmarked and with an open goal at his mercy.

While the Maroons were disappointing to say the least, Sliema appeared to be an improved side over recent performances giving the Gzira defence a few moments to worry about during their forays up front.

In the second half, Sliema were undoubtedly the better team on the field of play. They not only scored the goals that mattered, but made Gzira look like a mediocre side unable to produce the form which had landed them among the top clubs in Malta in recent years.

So poor were the Maroons that Sliema goalie Jake Galea had one of his easiest afternoons as the Gzira attack looked powerless with Amadou Samb, Hamed Kone and Wilfried Domoraud unrecognisable.

It was Gzira who took the initiative from the first whistle and on the 9th minute, Kone took a ball from a Sliema bad pass in midfield and advanced only to see his shot going just wide.

Sliema replied three minutes later through a low shot from Juri Cisotti, but it was easy prey for goalie Justin Haber.

In the 18th minute, Gzira were close to opening the score. A bad clearance by Jonathan Pearson, enabled Kone to gain possession. He indulged in a personal move into the Sliema area only to see his shot partially blocked by goalie Galea and then it was Arthur Oyama who cleared the ball definitely away.

But Sliema missed what was the most glaring of opportunities two minutes later. Alex Satariano cleverly lobbed into the Gzira small box, and there was Federico Vasilchik, all alone, who did the impossible, heading the ball wide of a completely unguarded goal.

Gzira maintained the initiative till the end of the first half, but they did not create much except for a low shot by Cohen saved on deck by Galea and a weak header by Amadou Samb which Galea dealt with confidently.

In first half added time, Sliema were awarded a freekick on the edge of the Gzira area, but Oyama's shot was central and Haber had no difficulty to save.

Sliema took the lead on 55 minutes when Alex Satariano received the ball on the edge of the area and fired home a great rising shot that had Haber completely beaten.

Gzira tried to hit back, but it was Sliema who doubled their lead on 62 minutes, when Arthur Oyama found the net with a swerving shot direct from a corner.

On 68 minutes, Mark Scerri missed a sitter for the Blues as he rounded a Gzira defender and came face to face with Haber only to hit the ball wide.

Gzira's first and only attempt in this half arrived on 82 minutes when off a Criaco cross, a header by substitute Davis was saved with some difficulty by Galea.

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