Sliema su­press Spar­tans

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Ham­run’s volatile start to the sea­son was su­pressed by Sliema Wan­der­ers, who played with bet­ter de­ter­mi­na­tion and more ag­gres­sion yes­ter­day, go­ing on to win the match 3-0.

This was Sliema’s third victory on the trot that lifted them fur­ther up the stand­ings to con­firm their present bright patch.

Of more se­ri­ous con­cern was the over­all dis­con­nect in­her­ent in the Spar­tans’ per­for­mance and es­pe­cially their de­fender Chris­tian Mal­dini, re­turn­ing to the side, who was in­volved in all three of Sliema’s goals.

He pro­cured a penalty in the first half, was out­played by Jean Paul Far­ru­gia in the sec­ond and then com­mit­ted an own goal.

In the ab­sence of the sus­pended Potez­ica, Alex Mus­cat played as cen­tral de­fender and Denni Dos San­tos made a start fror Sliema.

On their part Ham­run gave a de­but start to Luis Ver­gara in de­fence, play­ing along­side Mal­dini as the two cen­tre backs. In the ab­sence of the sus­pended Rafael, Luke Grech played as left back.

Sliema made the more as­sertive start and pinned Ham­run in­side their own half. How­ever they failed to over­work the Ham­run keeper as they were found want­ing in the fi­nal third, with Wis­dom and Denni miss­ing the de­ci­sive pass.

Af­ter seven min­utes, Scerri forced the Ham­run keeper Cas­sar to stretch him­self and hold out his fierce grounder. Muchardi’s cross shot on the loose ball was cleared into safety.

An­other tame header by Denni went wide and mid­way through the half keeper Cas­sar was forced to leave the pitch with a groin in­jury.

On 32 min­utes the Sliema were awarded a penalty, on the as­sis­tant re­freee’s in­istance, as Mal­dini pulled down Muchardi in­side the area. Cap­tain Alex Mus­cat beat re­serve keeper Matthew Far­ru­gia from the spot to give the Wan­der­ers a first half lead.

Ham­run showed more ur­gency af­ter the restart and Nanapere had two good chances, first with a ris­ing shot that missed the tar­get and then with a firm header well saved by keeper Zam­mit.

But it was Sliema who in­creased their lead on 54 min­utes. Jean Paul Far­ru­gia was al­lowed too much space as he chased a long ball down the right flank. He went past Mal­dini with some neat foot­work and beat keeper Far­ru­gia with a low curl­ing shot at the far post.

Hard as they tried to pull them­selves back into the match, Ham­run re­mained shabby and poor, lack­ing bite or pur­pose.

Their mis­ery was com­plete ten min­utes from time when Denni’s free kick re­bounded off the bar and Chris­tian Mal­dini de­flected the ball into his own goal.

When late in the match, keeper Zam­mit saved well on sub­sti­tute Dar­ren Fal­zon’s shot, it clearly showed that it was not Ham­run’s day. Balzan Val­letta Hiber­ni­ans Birkirkara Sliema Ham­run Flo­ri­ana Gzira Tarx­ien Mosta St. An­drews Pem­broke P 7 8 8 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 7 W 6 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 D 1 2 2 1 0 2 2 3 3 1 0 1 L F A Pts 0 16 6 19 2 14 10 14 2 10 8 14 2 15 6 13 4 11 10 12 3 15 13 11 3 9 8 11 3 10 11 9 3 8 12 9 5 9 16 7 5 6 14 6 5 8 17 4

Ham­run’s Garba shield­ing the ball from Sliema’s Scerri Photo: Michael Camil­leri

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