Second half goals give Maroons second win
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