Saints leave Sliema feel­ing blue

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

This was an eye-catch­ing and de­served win for St An­drews, their sec­ond of the sea­son, over a dis­ap­point­ing Sliema Wan­der­ers side

St An­drews were par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive af­ter the restart as they scored three goals, one from a penalty, that left Sliema reel­ing.

Sliema Wan­der­ers failed to im­prove upon their win against Birkirkara three days be­fore. Yes­ter­day they looked like a bunch of dis­jointed men, dis­mal in their de­fend­ing and de­void of ideas up front. Bar the first 25 min­utes, John But­tigieg’s side was never in it.

Both sides were keen to force the pace and although the first 45 min­utes lacked any qual­ity foot­ball there were open­ings and scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at both ends.

Sliema’s first and best chance came af­ter 11 min­utes. On a Scerri cross, Galin’s goal­bound header was well saved by the Saints keeper Jake Galea.

The Saints were try­ing to beat Sliema’s off­side trap. Ryan Dar­manin, who was handed a start ahead of Dale Camil­leri, was through but keeper Glen Zam­mit, in place of the in­jured Giuseppe Sarao, rushed off his line to smother the dan­ger.

Sliema’s best patch came mid­way through the half. Muir shot went slightly over the bar. Scerri tested keeper Galea with a fierce shot that was turned into a cor­ner.

St An­drews set­tled into the con­test past the half hour. Paz ran from mid pitch and sent a low invit­ing cross. Dar­manin ar­rived frac­tion­ally late.

Then Udoh went past Sliema de­fender Beppe Mus­cat in­side the area but was blocked at the point of shoot­ing.

But the Saints should have gone in front four min­utes be­fore the break. Paz sent a per­fect cross as Dar­manin was al­lowed a free header but he in­cred­i­bly missed the tar­get.

Dar­manin though atoned for that miss five min­utes into the sec­ond half, head­ing St An­drews in the lead from a Paz cor­ner from the right.

The goal made the Saints de­fend with some re­newed en­ergy. Sliema’s prospects of an equaliser al­ways seemed re­mote with Galin too iso­lated up front. They were ex­tin­guished to­wards the hour when the Saints won a penalty af­ter Salomon felled Bran­dle in­side the area and Joseph Far­ru­gia dou­bled their lead from the spot kick.

Bran­dle and Paz turned on the style as they tor­mented the Sliema rear­guard with their runs and drib­bles. No won­der on 68 min­utes Enmy Bel­tre started and fin­ished the move that made the score­line 3-0. And what an ex­e­cu­tion. Col­lect­ing the ball in­side his own half, St An­drews’ num­ber 2 ran past three op­po­nents and then rolled the ball be­yond the reach of on­rush­ing keeper Zam­mit.

With the game vir­tu­ally over, St An­drews con­tin­ued to toy with their op­po­nents, who rea­mained only by­standers. Even af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of Jean Paul Far­ru­gia, Ryan Spi­teri and Peter Xuereb, their en­ergy went suf­fo­cated un­til the con­test had all but been sur­ren­dered.

The penalty ac­tion that led to the Saints’ sec­ond goal on the hour - Photo:Michael Camil­leri

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