The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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FA Trophy: Holders Birkirkara eliminate champions Hamrun after penalty shootout

Sunday, 31 March 2024, 06:22 Last update: about 18 days ago

Birkirkara goalkeeper Sylla saved Bjelicic’s last penalty to send Birkirkara to the semi finals of the FA Trophy. It was another exciting affair between these two sides who battled it out till the final whistle.

But for the second successive season Birkirkara had the better of the Spartans who once again failed to make it at least to the semi final stages of the competition. Now for free spending Hamrun, the only remaining target is retaining the title, but they have to catch up with Floriana.

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The same Floriana made it too to the semi finals, together with Sliema Wanderers and Gzira United.

Hamrun did the early running with Zapytowski twice saving off Duranovic and Prsa. On 17 minutes a good Jonny run with the ball towards Prsa who shot just wide. On 23 minutes Birkirkara’s first shot at goal with Diakite served by Paul Mbong, but his effort went wide.

Birkirkara had a couple of attempts through Coppola and Diakite in the dying minutes for the first halk, but on 43 minutes Hamrun took the lead. Duranovic with a perfectly executed freekick gave Zapytowski no chance to save. But Hamrun’s joy was shortlived as in stoppage time a long range effort from Satariano completely deceived Marchetti.

The second half started with a Pena Beltre shot well off target and on 66 minutes Birkirkara took the lead when Micallef passed towards Paul Mbong whose shot was deflected by Steve Borg with the ball finishing at the back of the net.

Six minutes later Hamrun were back on level terms when Prsa was brought down inside the area by Micallef and from the resultant penalty Duranovic made no mistake. In the final minutes Satariano had a good opportunity but his shot was blocked by Marcelina and on the other end Jonny’s effort was well saved by Zapytowski.

In extra time tempers flared with Diakite and Duranovic sent off on 96 minutes, and minutes later Jonny had a shot going just wide. For the remaining minutes both sets of players were tired out with no efforts at goal with the outcome to be decided by penalties. Just before the final whistle however Birkirkara introduced goalkeeper Sylla instead of Zapytowski and this prove to be the winning trump.

Maia scored the first for Birkirkara with Marcelina scoring Hamrun’s first. Zibo took Birkirkara’s second penalty but Marchetti saved. However Hamrun failed to take advantage as Sylla saved Jonny’s penalty kick.

Ciolacu scored the Stripes’ third penalty and Rutjens followed suite. Both scored the fourth penalty, Micallef for Birkirkara and Joseph Mbong for the Spartans. Coppola scored Birkirkara’s fifth and final penalty and Sylla saved Bjelicic’s shot to send the holders to the semi finals of the FA Trophy

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

 


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