Marsa dominate and go top of the standingsPublished: 14-01-2021 17:00
BOV Challenge League
St Andrews 1 Marsa 4Yesterday evening, Marsa made sure of the points against St Andrews, winning 4-1 on the resumption of the match that was abandoned on the 28th November when a power failure across the Maltese islands brought the match to an immediate stop. This happened on the 62nd minute, with Marsa leading by two clear goals and about to take a penalty. The match by referee Degabriele continued from the 62nd minute with Jackson Lima taking the penalty firing in the top corner to make it three nil, adding to Lydon Micallef’s goal on 20 minutes and to Dylan Grima’s strike on 32 minutes.The game was practically dead and buried after Lima’s penalty and Marsa almost added a fourth minutes later. However St Andrews somehow revived the match on 72 minutes when Malcolm Vella Vidal advanced unhindered to a through ball and beat the Marsa custodian with a low drive. Three minutes later Paolo Henrique darted in the Saints’ penalty area and was fouled goalkeeper Nicholas Grima. From Marsa’s second penalty of the game Ian Zammit made no mistake as made sure to end the first round on top of the standings. Marsa 4 Qrendi 1Marsa displayed another brilliant attacking performance against Qrendi, who suffered their second consecutive heavy defeat after the 1-5 drubbing against Swieqi. The team of coach Ivan Zammit took their opponents by storm from the start taking the lead after four minutes when Patrick Jean shot home following a good run by Paolo Henrique. After missing more scoring chances, Marsa doubled the score on 26 minutes through Paolo Henrique who was certainly one of his side’s best players. Five minutes from half time Qrendi pulled one back in a rare attack with Alex Nilsson heading home from close range. Marsa continued were they left in the first half and they put the game to bed in the opening minutes of the second half with two further goals. Both goals were headers the first one from Francesco Gusman on 51 minutes and the second one five minutes later through Jonathan Bondin. Swieqi United 2 Vittoriosa Stars 2Swieqi had to settle for a draw against Vittoriosa, losing two precious points in their promotion race. It was a tight affair with Vittoriosa proving to be a hard nut to crack. Swieqi dominated the early stages taking a deserved lead half way through the first through Ibrahim Salis. The same player was unlucky minutes when his header slammed against the upright. Almost against the run of play Vittoriosa drew level on 42 minutes when they won a penalty for a handling infringement, converted by Ryan Dalli. Three minutes into the second half and another handling infringement, and another penalty for Vittoriosa, with Dalli again on the mark to put his side in front. Swieqi were now shaken and they lost their verve and composure. Vittoriosa looked more at ease controlling the game until the 69th minute when they were down to ten when Gianluca Sultana received a second booking. Swieqi pushed desperately forward and seven minutes from time were rewarded when substitute Tejumola Ayorinde managed to squeeze the ball home from close range. San Ġwann 3 Fgura United 0Another team with realistic promotion hopes are San Ġwann, who consolidated their fourth position in the standings by defeating Fgura by three clear goals. It was a deserved victory for San Ġwann even though the three-goal deficit was rather harsh on Fgura. San Ġwann broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when Luca Mallia passed towards Uchenna Umeh who drilled home from an ideal position. Fgura lost goalkeeper Brandon Bartolo some minutes later. On the resumption San Ġwann custodian Cain Formosa made a great save off a Jean Paul Attard drive and on 56 minutes San Ġwann doubled the score when an Umeh header was handled by Joshua Barbara and from the penalty spot Clifford Gauci made no mistake. Four minutes later Fgura had a golden opportunity to pull one back when Gilbert Martin was through by Saturday Nanapere but his point-blank shot was brilliantly saved by Formosa. Fifteen minutes from time San Ġwann sealed the issue with a third goal when captain Christian Gauci headed home from a corner action. Pieta’ Hotspurs 2 Naxxar Lions 1Colombian striker Diego Segura struck twice to give Pieta a valuable victory over Naxxar Lions in an entertaining match. It was Pieta’s third consecutive league win. The encounter reached its climax in the second half when both sides played open attacking football with both defences struggling to cope. Pieta took an early tenth minute lead when Segura scored a gem of a goal with a great shot with the ball hitting the crossbar before finishing at the back of the net. Edson Farias had the best chance for Naxxar of the first half dribbling past the goalkeeper but then hitting the side netting. On the hour Naxxar drew level when substitute Javier Tenorio shot home from close range. Sixty seconds later Pieta were awarded a penalty for a foul on James Scicluna but from the penalty spot Segura failed to beat veteran custodian Omar Borg. Segura made amends on 86 minutes scoring yet another great goal from a distance. Naxxar could have snatched an equaliser two minutes later but Nick Borg’s freekick hit the crossbar. Żebbuġ Rangers 2 Marsaxlokk 2Żebbuġ Rangers and Marsaxlokk shared four goals in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Marsaxlokk were the better team in the first half but in the end they were saved by a last gasp goal scored by veteran striker Jean-Pierre Mifsud Triganza. Żebbuġ goalkeeper Matthew Grech was very effective in the opening stages making a couple of good saves. However, Żebbuġ almost took the lead on 25 minutes almost against the run of play when young Jamie Carbone’s drive was cleared off the goal line. On 41 minutes Marsaxlokk broke the deadlock when goalkeeper Grech mistimed his sortie and Christian Degabriele headed home. Żebbuġ made three changes at the start of the second half and on 52 minutes Żebbuġ drew level when Marsaxlokk goalkeeper Fredrick Tabone fumbled the ball and Clive Gauci easily slotted home. Żebbuġ were playing better now and took the lead on 63 minutes when Luka Mijic fired home from the heart of the penalty area. Edgar Degabriele’s men put everything forward but had to wait to the 89th minute to snatch a point when substitute Mifsud Triganza scored from close range. St Andrews 4 Mqabba 0St Andrews obtained a valuable victory against fellow strugglers Mqabba, winning by four clear goals. It was an easy match for the team of coach Brian Said, who built a three-goal cushion inside the first quarter of the match to kill all Mqabba’s hopes of taking something from this match. Veteran Ian Azzopardi headed home after only three minutes play and Mqabba were unlucky on 16 minutes when a Gianfranco Micallef bombshell finished against the upright. Three minutes later the Saints doubled the score when Degran Jackson crossed from the right towards Alan Borg Olivier who easily slotted home from close range. On 22 minutes Icelandic import Gunnar Stefansson made it three after a good run from midfield. Mqabba tried to crawl back in the game in the second half and had some hopes when St Andrews were reduced to ten men on 57 minutes, when Luke Anthony Borg received two bookings in the space of five minutes. But Mqabba failed miserably even with numerical superiority and St. Andrew’s added another goal on 77 minutes, again through Stefansson. Qormi 1 St George’s 1St George’s snatched a dramatic equaliser against Qormi, in a battle between two sides that are practically doomed for Amateur League football next season. Both sides gave their all to grab the three points at stake, the only result that could help their cause. The draw however leaves both in very troubled waters and they need to start winning quickly if they wish to survive. Both had their chances in the first half and four minutes from the interval Qormi broke the deadlock when Miguel Busuttil scored from an ideal position. Qormi goalkeeper Jonathan Vella made a couple of saves at the start of the second half and on the hour Qormi should have sealed it but Allan da Silva’s effort hit the crossbar. St George’s pushed forward but could not get through. In stoppage time the Saints were reduced to ten men when substitute Leeroy Bonnet received a second booking. But when all seemed lost for the Saints, Rennie Tanti fired a great shot that beat Vella and crushed Qormi’s victory hopes.