Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Marsa and Pembroke draw, relegation battle heats up
Mar 2, 2021
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General
BOV Challenge League
(c) Stephen Gatt
(c) Stephen Gatt

  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt

Six games in the BOV National Challenge League last weekend, including the top of the table clash between Marsa and Pembroke, which ended in a one all draw. The numbers three and four in the ranking, Swieqi and San Ġwann are dropping points lately, which means Zebbug Rangers are back in the hunt for the third spot. In the lower part of the table there were important wins for St Andrews and Qrendi.


Marsa 1 Pembroke Athleta 1

No winners in the much-awaited top of the table clash between Marsa and Pembroke with both sides settling for a 1-1 draw. This result leaves Marsa at the top of the standings with a three-point advantage over the same Pembroke. However, it was a rather disappointing affair and both sides could surely produce better football. The match was played mainly in midfield with Marsa having more of the ball, but goal scoring opportunities were rare. On 29 minutes Marsa broke the deadlock with a fast break from Haruna Shola Shodiya who passed towards Patrick Teixeira who rounded Philip Schranz and from an almost impossible angle managed to squeeze the ball home. At the start of the second half Teixeira and Shodiya tested Schranz who saved well. On 53 minutes Philip Chircop pulled Joseph Ogunnupe inside the area with the referee awarding the penalty, from which the same Ogunnupe sent Nicky Vella the wrong way. In the final minutes Marsa pressed more for the winner but they had no open scoring opportunities and the draw result was a fair one.

 

Swieqi United 3 San Ġwann 3

San Ġwann maintained their third place in the standings after sharing six goals with fourth placed Swieqi United, who with this draw ended their three-match losing streak. It was an exciting derby match in which San Ġwann had a slight edge over their opponents, but all in all it was a fair result in the end. San Ġwann dominated the first twenty minutes with Swieqi on the defensive. Adediran Quadri had a shot smashing against the upright and on 16 minutes the same player scored from an almost impossible angle. On 32 minutes and against the run of play, Swieqi drew level with Alan Schembri Wismayer lucky on the rebound, but then scoring in style the equaliser. Two minutes later another San Ġwann defensive slip and Joseph Willy shot from the edge of the area and into the net. San Ġwann again hit the base of the upright at the start of the second half, but Andrea Zammit finally gave San Ġwann a deserved equaliser on 73 minutes. Three minutes from time Frank Temile was floored inside the area and from the resultant penalty the same Temile made no mistake. But it was not over yet as San Ġwann won a penalty on 90 minutes and Clifford Gauci converted to saved the game for San Ġwann.

 

Pieta’ Hotspurs 0 Żebbuġ Rangers 1

Fausto Craighero’s Żebbuġ Rangers continued their hunt for third place as they defeated Pieta Hotspurs 1-0 in a keen encounter. It was an important victory for Żebbuġ with the only goal of the match arriving nine minutes into the second half, courtesy of a Gaetano Gesualdi penalty kick. Diego Segura had a couple of chances to equalize for Pieta’ but Żebbuġ goalkeeper Matthew Grech saved in style at both occasions. With this win, the Greens keep chasing San Ġwann and Swieqi United for a playoff position. On the other hand, Brian Spiteri's side were surpassed in the table by Qrendi and will need to battle hard to stay out of the relegation tussle. 

 

Fgura United 1 Qrendi 2

A brace by Alex Nilsson was enough for Qrendi to give them a valuable three points in this direct relegation clash. Fgura dominated practically the whole second half but it was not enough for them to get anything out if this match. It was Qrendi who showed the better ideas in the initial part of the match and they deservedly took an early 10th minute lead. Playmaker Sebastian Perdomo, in fine shape, sent Nilsson through, who beat his direct marker Joey-Reno Vella and goalkeeper Lydon Moore with a low shot. Gradually, Fgura saw more of the ball but clearly lacked ideas up front. On the other side, a Perdomo scorcher on 40 minutes was turned into a corner by Moore. Nine minutes after the break, Qrendi were awarded a penalty after Vella fouled Perdomo in the box and Nilsson made no mistake, converting in style. On 66 minutes, Fgura were awarded a penalty after a foul from Steve Schembri on Dylan Caruana in the box and substitute Dave Mbala did not miss from the penalty spot. A minute later, centre-back Charlles Gandini’s thunderbolt from the edge of the box sailed inches over the crossbar. Fgura were now back into the match and clearly believed in their chances, pressing hard for an equaliser. However, experienced Qrendi goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi neutralised shots by Caruana and substitute Saturday Nanapere in the latter stages of the match. Deep into added time, a Gandini header just missed target, much to the delight of the Qrendi clan who welcomed a valuable three points.

 

 

Mqabba 0 Vittoriosa Stars 0

Mqabba and Vittoriosa figured in a scoreless draw, a result that leaves both sides in troubled waters. It was a low-key performance from both sides, which confirms their difficult moment. Both sides needed the three points badly, but none of them deserved these points. The match was mainly played in midfield with errors from both sides with both sides unable to construct decent moves. The best chance came Mqabba’s way mid-way through the second half but Neil Falzon missed a sitter in front of goal blasting the ball well over the bar. Deep into added time, Mqabba had a dangerous freekick from the edge of the area but Johan Castano’s shot smashed against Vittoriosa’s defensive wall.

 

Qormi 0 St Andrews 3

St Andrews gained three precious points defeating bottom of the table side Qormi by three clear goals. St Andrews wrapped the match by the half way line and were never in danger of losing any points from this one-sided affair. The Saints took the game by storm and after some misses took the lead on seven minutes when Kei Sano dribbled past two defenders before squaring to Nicholas Bradshaw who fired home. On 37 minutes Alan Borg Olivier passed towards towering Icelandic import Gunnar Stefansson who drilled the ball home. Qormi’s misery was complete seconds before the break when Nicholas Bradshaw headed home a Degran Jackson freekick, Bradshaw’s second of the evening. The second half had little to offer with St Andrews missing a couple of other scoring chances and with Qormi now resigned to their fate.

 

St George’s 1 Swieqi United 0

Last Wednesday, St.George’s grabbed their third victory of the season keeping momentum to their late revival. The Saints are surely a transformed side, even though they’ll face an uphill struggle for salvation. Against Swieqi, like all recent performances, the Saints gave their hearts out never giving away an inch. For Swieqi this was a severe setback in their hopes to keep their challenge for third place, this against the Saints being their third successive defeat. The goal that mattered came on 33 minutes, when substitute Leeroy Bonett headed beautifully home a Sultana freekick. Bonett had only just came in as a substitute and scored with his first touch of the ball, however he was unlucky ten minutes later when he had to be substituted after a collision with Swieqi’s Dayle Borg, who had to be substituted too. In the second half the Saints hit the post with a Sultana drive, with Swieqi attacking for long stretches in search of the equaliser. In stoppage time Swieqi goalkeeper Jean Claude Debattista was sent off for fouling Wilfred Zamble who was heading for goal.

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