The Malta Independent 16 May 2021, Sunday

Dodo masterminds Spartans to another precious win

Simon Farrugia Sunday, 14 February 2021, 06:50 Last update: about 4 months ago

Hamrun Spartans gained a deserved and important win against Birkirkara with their hero being Ailton Soares who scored both goals also taking his personal tally to thirteen. This win was another statement of intent by the Spartans who thus remained at  the summit.

Ħamrun Spartans went into this match on a run of fourteen unbeaten matches. Incidentally the last time that they succumbed to defeat was against the same Birkirkara in the first round match played in October when the Stripes had won by a 2-0 scoreline. So for Ħamrun it was pay back time.

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As for Birkirkara they were also on a positive run of twelve matches, results which have taken the Stripes into fifth position.

Missing for Birkirkara defender Oscar Carniello who was suspended  but Cain Attard returned in the starting line up. On the other hand Ħamrun’s coach Mark Buttigieg had no such difficulties and fielded the best starting eleven though both Claude Dielna and Seydou Doumbia were not included in the squad.  The Hamrun coach chose to start with Oyama instead of Karl Micallef.

During the week the protagonists were involved in the FA Trophy with both teams making it to the next round. Birkirkara demolished Lija by a 6-0 score whereas Hamrun visited Gozo winning against Sannat by a 3-1 scoreline.

In the first serious attack Hamrun took the lead. It was a pass by Franklin Sasere who played the ball into Ailton Soares path who from just inside the box fired past Guarnone.

On 10 minutes Hamrun threatened again when off an Mbong cross from the left flank an acrobatic kick by Sasere ended just over the bar.

Ħamrun kept piling on the pressure and on 28 minute Mbong found Corbalan but an onrushing Guarnone avoided further damage. And eleven minutes from the end of the first half an Oyama acute free kick was palmed away by a stretching Guarnone.

Birkirkara started the second half brightly and on 47 minutes Caio Prado squared the ball towards Da Paixao who returned the pass but Prado’s shot was blocked on the line by Corbalan. And in the 51st minute Hamrun responded when Mbong passed towards Ailton Soares who with only Guarnone to beat saw the Birkirkara goalkeeper block on time.

In the 64th minute Ntow came at his side’s rescue when he cleared off the line a shot by Ailton Soares which was destined to end in the corner of the net.

Sixteen minutes from the end a long ball found Caio Prado whose first time shot was turned onto a corner by Bartolo.

With Birkirkara all out on the attack it was Hamrun who sealed the issue on the stroke of time when following a  miskick by Reginald Alidor it was Ailton Soares who took possession advancing all alone and on entering the area fired past a helpless Guarnone.

Photo Domenic Aquilina

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