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Sliema Wanderers 0, Birkirkara 1


Mintoff og 71

Luck favours the brave goes the old adage and Premier league leaders Birkirkara made the most of it against Sliema as the Wanderers goalkeeper Glenn Zammit had to surrender his five consecutive clean-sheets when he was undone by a fluke goal by Jhonnattann after 71 minutes.

The Wanderers were sharply out of the blocks and after 30 seconds, Zammit advanced towards the Birkirkara and lashed a dangerous low drive from the right that finished wide at the far post.

Justin Haber was on the alert in the 1th minutes, extending himself fully to collect Muchardi’s clever effort with the outside of his foot.

Sliema’s momentum was interrupted after 24 minutes when a fine interception by Glenn Zammit prevented Jhonnattan from turning Shodiya’s cross over the line.

Three minutes later, Herrera burst clear on the left flank before cutting into the box to unleash a rising shot which was tipped over the post by Zammit. From the ensuing corner, Jhonnattan’s delivery found Zach Muscat at the far post who rose above friend and foe to hit the post.

On the other side, on 36 minutes, Haber put in a vital challenge as Bajada threatened to break clear when he collected Woods’s crossfield ball.


Few moments later, Zammit was forced into his first substitution as Rowen Muscat suffered an injury and was replaced by Mifsud Triganza.

Shy the hour mark, Zerafa got behind the Sliema’s defence but as he closed in on goal unimpeded, Stefano Bianciardi scythed down the Stripes defender. Jhonnattann interrupted the boredom with a thunderbolt that flew over the bar.

Birkirkara’s inability to penetrate their opponents’ defence was summoned up by a penalty shout turned down after 63 minutes when Nikola Vukanac appeared to fall under the challenge of Barbetti.

Birkirkara found themselves 1-0 up in bizarre circumstances after 71 minutes. Jhonnattann’s free-kick was intended as a cross but took a vicious direction into the top far corner to leave Zammit wrong-footed. Yet he still managed to repel it but hitting the ball straight into John Mintoff’s chest and it flew back past Zammit.

Still, shell-shocked, Sliema for the first time looked somewhat susceptible at the back and moments later, Shodiya’s looping shot was pawed away by Zammit.
Five minutes from time, Sliema suffered a severe setback as Zammit was given his marching orders apparently for remarks addressed to referee Kevin Azzopardi.

There was still more drama in the offing when Paul Fenech produced a vital challenge to blocked Alex Muscat’s close-range shot in the dying minutes.



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