Fair re­sult in a di­rect clash

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

A good re­ac­tion by Val­letta in the last half an hour of a game saved a point in a di­rect clash against Birkirkara. All in all it was a bal­anced game with Birkirkara hav­ing the ini­tia­tive in the first hour, but they weren’t su­pe­rior.

With this re­sult, both teams failed to re­turn to win­ning ways as Birkirkara lost to Pem­broke in their pre­vi­ous game while Val­letta lost to Hiber­ni­ans, as league lead­ers Balzan now are in a more com­fort­able spot on top.

Both teams stud­ied each other in the first half an hour of the game as both goal­keep­ers had a quiet first half. The first threat came af­ter 33 min­utes from a good run by Jonathan Caru­ana who crossed to Fal­cone. The striker con­trolled the ball and tried with a shot from dis­tance but his ef­fort fin­ished well over the bar.

Two min­utes later, Birkirkara thought that have opened the score from Frank Temile af­ter scor­ing from close range but the flag had risen for off­side. Temile tried again on the 39th minute but his vol­ley fin­ished off tar­get.

Birkirkara con­scious of the fact that they were slightly bet­ter, started the sec­ond half search­ing for the goal and three min­utes into the sec­ond half Gareth Sciber­ras laid Sr­dan Dim­itrov who tried with a pow­er­ful shot but Bonello blocked the shot.

The Stripes took the lead on the 50th minute when from a cor­ner by Dim­itrov, Cain At­tard beat Henry Bonello with a first­time shot that hit the up­right be­fore en­ter­ing the net.

Romeu Ro­mao tried with a shot five min­utes later that was de­flected to a cor­ner and four min­utes later Dim­itrov wasted a good op­por­tu­nity af­ter re­ceiv­ing a good pass be­hind the de­fence. A minute later on the other end, Jhon­nat­tann tried with an ac­ro­batic shot that fin­ished over the bar.

The Ci­ti­zens equalised on the 66th minute when Jhon­nat­tann Ben­ites beat Ko­pric with a tricky free-kick. Birkirkara were sur­prised by this goal and two min­utes later they had to con­tinue with a 10 men as Pre­drag Jovic was shown march­ing or­ders.

Val­letta in­creased their ef­forts and on the 73rd minute Fal­cone tried with a low shot that was saved by Ko­pric. Three min­utes later Ko­pric de­nied Fal­cone again this time with a bril­liant header af­ter a cross by Mif­sud. Jhon­nat­tann Ben­ites had two ac­tions on the 79th with a shot on tar­get that Ko­pric saved and three min­utes later an ef­fort hit the cross­bar as Birkirkara held on in the fi­nal min­utes.

Nikola Vukanac of Birkirkara (left) clears his lines ahead of Fed­erico Fal­cone of Val­letta (right) Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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