Pem­broke left reel­ing at the bot­tom

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

St An­drews were back in the groove af­ter two con­sec­u­tive de­feats, to leave the rel­e­ga­tion zone and leapfrog Mosta af­ter beat­ing ten-man Pem­broke.

St An­drews were un­der the guid­ance of new coach Danilo Don­cic af­ter they let go Jose’ Borg dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional break.

Pem­broke are well or­gan­ised, in­dus­tri­ous and whole-hearted, but short of pen­e­tra­tion. They con­ceded two penal­ties and had de­fender Djeljilj sent off in the first half and they never re­cov­ered af­ter con­ced­ing a third goal early in the sec­ond half. This sixth de­feat leaves them an­chored at the bot­tom of the stand­ings with only four points from eight matches.

With Luke Mon­te­bello and Adrian Borg in­jured, Pem­broke coach Win­ston Mus­cat was forced to make changes af­ter the 2-2 draw against Tarx­ien Rain­bows. The tall Jhonatan Mar­i­ano started in­stead in at­tack while Mat­teus Regis re­placed Borg. Clif­ford Gauci was also in­cluded in the start­ing line up in­stead of Maksy­mov.

And when play­ing with ten men for the en­tire sec­ond half, they had nei­ther the craft nor the pace to threaten.

Although al­ways bot­tom-of-the ta­ble stuff in terms of qual­ity, the sides played an event­ful first half. Within the first half hour St An­drews were awarded two penal­ties to take a 2-1 lead at half­time.

The first, af­ter 17 min­utes, came when Paz de­liv­ered a cor­ner from the right and the ref­eree from North­ern Ire­land no­ticed a han­dling by Si­raj Arab. Joseph Far­ru­gia stepped up to score from the spot kick.

Joseph Far­ru­gia also con­verted the sec­ond penalty on the half hour, again for a Lev­naic hands ball in­side the area af­ter Nwoko shot at goal off a Bel­tre cross.

In be­tween, Pem­broke also scored and could have lev­elled mat­ters were it not for a wasted good op­por­tu­nity. They can­celled out the Saints’ lead af­ter two min­utes. Bar­betti played Jhonatan Mar­i­ano through in­side the St An­drews area to lob the ball over the on­rush­ing keeper Galea.

On 23 min­utes, with the score at 11, Gauci missed a glar­ing op­por­tu­nity. Put clear by Mi­callef in­side the area he lobbed the ball over with only the keeper to beat.

There was to be fur­ther de­ri­sion for Pem­broke when their de­fender Asani Djeljilj was sent off for a sec­ond cau­tion on the stroke of half­time.

At half­time, Pem­broke’s coach Mus­cat was also banned from the bench for pass­ing some re­marks to the ref­eree.

St An­drews im­me­di­at­ley took ad­van­tage of their nu­mer­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity and five min­utes into the sec­ond half they in­creased their lead. A Far­ru­gia free kick from the left was headed in by Ziga Kas­trevec.

The Saints looked home and dry, even be­cause Pem­broke could not sum­mon enough ef­fort to trou­ble Jake Galea in the Saints’ goal ex­cept for a John­son header, off a Far­ru­gia free kick on 78 min­utes, that Galea looked ca­pa­bale of sav­ing.

St An­drews put some ex­ces­sive gloss on their win on 90 min­utes. Bel­tre ad­vanced un­hin­dered down the left, played the ball square to the un­marked Jaq­cob Walker for the sub­sti­tute to tap the ball in with rel­a­tive ease. Balzan Birkirkara Val­letta Hiber­ni­ans Sliema Ham­run Flo­ri­ana Gzira Tarx­ien St. An­drews Mosta Pem­broke P 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 W 6 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 3 2 1 D 1 1 2 2 0 2 2 3 3 0 1 1 LF A Pts 116 9 19 2 18 6 16 2 14 10 14 2 10 8 14 4 11 10 12 3 15 13 11 3 9 8 11 3 10 11 9 3 8 12 9 5 10 15 9 5 9 16 7 6 9 21 4

Ac­tion dur­ing the St An­drews-Pem­broke match Photo: Jonathan Borg

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