Stripes feast on goals
Birkirkara scored seven times to condemn Gzira United to a second damaging defeat in seven days – their third in four matches.
Gzira, for all their will to limit the damage in the first half, ended the afternoon well outclassed, as they could not match the vibrancy or potency of Srna Dimitrov or the intensity of Birkirkara’s overall performance. The final score reflected the gulf between the two sides.
Gzira, who let go their two Brazilians Roberto and Joceano during the week, had Moises Avila Perez and Juan Corbolan playing in attack. But it was always going to be laborious for them to breach the best defence in the Premier League. When Avila Perez did, it served only for statistical purposes.
Birkirkara opened the scoring after nine minutes. Dimitrov was the architect, provding a through pass to Temile who resisted the urge to shoot when faced by the onrushing goalkeeper and slided the ball instead to the unmarked Vito Plut to finish off with a routine tap in.
Keeper Azzopardi had to be treated for an eyebrow cut in the process and play was stopped for about four minutes.
Temile and Plut had already fluffed a couple of good chances as Gzira were giving away possession too cheaply, when the Gzira keeper rushed off his line to fist away a Dimitrov cross from the left, the ball fell to Vukanac who headed against the upright.
Gzira’s best move came into the half’s added time. Avila Perez advanced inside the Birkirkara area on a Conti pass, but shot over.
Whatever talk by coach Branco Nisevic at halftime, Gzira were briskly dismantled by three Birkirkara goals in as many minutes soon after the interval.
On 52 minutes right back Attard foraged down the flank. His cross was headed by Andelkovic towards Srdan Dimitrov who volleyed the ball past keeper Azzopardi.
Hardly a minute later, Ryan Scicluna took the ball in his stride and seeing the goalkeeper out of his line, beat him with a delicate lob from some 35 metres out.
Only two minutes later, Birkirkara scored their fourth. This time Plut played a short pass to captain Gareth Sciberras to finish off from close range.
Gzira looked demoralised. They effected all three substitutions but still collapsed to concede two more goals in a two-minute spell. On 73 minutes Temile had his effort turned into a corner by the Gzira keeper. From the resultant Bajada corner, Frank Temile headed in.
Two minutes later it was 6-0. Srdan Dimitrov picked Muscat’s low cross, turned away from his two opponents and scored with a drilling shot from outside the area.
Gzira at least got a consolation goal on 77 minutes. Susbtitute Nwoba advanced but was blocked inside the area. The short clearance fell to Moises Avila Perez who shot past keeper Kopric.
But Birkirkara were not finished yet. They even scored their seventh with six minutes remaining. Substitute Mathew Guillaumier’s cross shot from the right, beat keeper Azzopardi at the far post.
The Gzira keeper was harshly sent off in added time as the referee adjudged him to have handled the ball, after Dimitrov tried to lob it over, outside the penalty area, but television replays suggested it was inside.
Balzan Birkirkara Valletta Hibernians Floriana Sliema Hamrun Gzira Tarxien St. Andrews Mosta Pembroke P 9 9 9 8 9 8 9 9 9 8 9 8 W 7 6 5 4 4 4 3 2 2 3 2 1 D 1 1 2 2 2 0 2 3 3 0 1 1 L F A Pts 1 19 10 22 2 25 7 19 2 15 10 17 2 10 8 14 3 10 8 14 4 11 10 12 4 15 14 11 4 11 18 9 4 8 13 9 5 10 15 9 6 9 17 7 6 9 21 4