Sec­ond half goals give Ma­roons sec­ond win

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Newly pro­moted Gzira United con­tin­ued with their some­what im­pres­sive start to the sea­son among the elite when yes­ter­day they beat luck­less Pem­broke 3-0 to regis­ter their sec­ond win.

While Pem­broke re­main an­chored to the bot­tom with no points from their first five matches, the Ma­roons have lifted them­selves to 6th place in the stand­ings on eight points.

It was a de­served win for the Ma­roons who, af­ter a quiet first half, showed more de­ter­mi­na­tion and flair in the sec­ond pe­riod con­cretis­ing their su­pe­ri­or­ity by scor­ing three goals with­out re­ply.

In the first half, play was more or less bal­anced with Pem­broke, per­haps, hav­ing a slight edge in mid­field thanks to the con­tin­u­ous roam­ing of Bar­betti and Mi­callef.

For Gzira, Pulo and Tonna worked hard in mid­field, while An­dre White and Machedo Neto con­trolled pro­ceed­ings well at the back. Both sides had a good chance each to open the scor­ing, but oth­er­wise, nei­ther goal­keeper was se­ri­ously tested.

It was in the sec­ond half that Gzira showed su­pe­ri­or­ity. Thanks to the non-stop Gian­marco Conti, they took con­trol of mid­field and pressed Pem­broke into their own half for long stretches. Af­ter tak­ing the lead, they never looked back and they went on to ham­mer an­other two goals past Mus­cat to make it a re­sound­ing win.

In the 8th minute, Pem­broke missed a good op­por­tu­nity to open the score when Mi­callef ad­vanced into the area, but he hes­i­tated and when he passed to Manevski, the lat­ter’s ef­fort was cleared to a cor­ner by a Gzira de­fender. Gzira replied four min­utes later with a shot from Karl Pulo go­ing well over the bar.

In the 27th minute, Pem­broke had a good 30-me­tre ef­fort from Bran­don Mus­cat go­ing just over. At the other end, five min­utes later, it was Cor­bolan, set by Conti, who lifted the ball over the bar from the edge of the area.

Mo­ments later, Gzira missed a clearcut op­por­tu­nity when af­ter a fine com­bi­na­tion be­tween at least three play­ers, it was Pulo who set the un­marked Avila Perez in the area, but with an open goal­mouth, he hit wide to the de­spair of the Ma­roons’ clan.

In the 39th minute, Machedo Neto missed his clear­ance giv­ing Arab a free path to­wards goal, but the Pem­broke striker hit wide with only the goalie to beat. A minute later, the same player missed an­other good chance as he blasted the ball over the bar from an ideal po­si­tion.

Five min­utes into the sec­ond half, Gzira threat­ened through an Avila Perez header off a Cor­bolan cross, with the ball go­ing just wide. Soon af­ter, Bondin hit the side net­ting as the United ap­peared to be more ad­ven­tur­ous at the start of the sec­ond half.

Gzira de­servedly opened the scor­ing in the 61st minute when from a cross from the left, Ya­nis Tonna won the ball in a tackle with a Pem­broke de­fender, ad­vanced into the area and beat Mus­cat with a hard shot.

Four min­utes later, Mus­cat had to dive side­ways to palm to cor­ner a Conti long dis­tance ef­fort.

Gzira added a sec­ond goal on the 77th minute. From an Avila Perez cross, the ball went to sub­sti­tute Costa Mo­rais who hit home past a beaten Mus­cat.

In the 84th minute the Ma­roons were very close to scor­ing a third goal when in a swift counter at­tack, Conti set the un­marked Avila Perez whose first time ef­fort hit the un­der­part of the cross­bar and re­bounded out.

The Ma­roons did not look back and the third ar­rived soon af­ter fol­low­ing some good work by Conti which ended with Mus­cat par­tially par­ry­ing a first ef­fort and then Cor­bolan hit­ting home from close in.

Gzira goal­keeper Jur­gen Borg in an at­tempt to grab the ball Photo: Matthew Tabone

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