The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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Premier League: Champions see red as they suffer embarrassing defeat

Sunday, 3 December 2023, 06:38 Last update: about 4 months ago

Champions Hamrun Spartans saw red yesterday as they suf‐ fered an embarrassing defeat at the hands Birkirkara in one of the greatest upsets so far this season. The Spartans were com‐ pletely outplayed by a never say die Birkirkara side with the champions finishing the match with nine players after the sending off of Bjelicic in the dying seconds of the first half and Freitas with fifteen minutes to go.

Birkirkara rose from the ashes yesterday as they delivered a great performance after some worrying displays which led to former coach Giovanni Tedesco to hand in his resignation after the shock defeat against Naxxar.

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But under the guidance of in‐ terim coach Brian Chetcuti the Stripes were a transformed side yesterday fighting for every ball in all sections of the field and never leaving their more fan‐ cied opponent to settle down.

The Spartans just cannot get past the Stripes as their nega‐ tive streak against Birkirkara continued after last season’s three matches in which the Spartans failed to score, and now the two sides will cross swords again on Friday for the Super Cup.

The match had a rather slow start with the Stripes however looking the more determined side. The champions had their first attempt at goal on 19 min‐ utes when Bjelicic passed to‐ wards Djuranovic whose effort just missed the target.

Six minutes later Birkirkara took the lead when Zibo passed towards Adailton Queiroz who from the edge of the are fired a beauty, giving Marchetti no chance to save. Five minutes later however the Italian goal‐ keeper was at his best when he denied Diakite with a great save off a Paul Mbong pass.

Hamrun made their presence felt on the half hour with Djura‐ novic testing Zapytowski after receiving from Jonny. Tempers flared in the final moments of the first half and Hamrun de‐ fender Bjelicic received two bookings within seconds and Hamrun had to play the second half with ten men.

The Stripes immediately took advantage as they doubled the score in their first attack of the second half when Marcelina put into his own net in an attempt to clear a cross from Satariano.

This was a knock out blow for the champions who never re‐ covered with the Stripes domi‐ nating the proceedings with the Spartans practically throwing in the towel.

Things got worse for the Spar‐ tans with fifteen minutes to go when Freitas too received a sec‐ ond booking.

Against nine players Birkirkara gave the champions the mortal blow four minutes later when substitute Maxuel Maia pounced on a Spartans de‐ fensive blunder to beat Marche‐ tti for a third time.

Photo Domenic Aquilina

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