Vi­rano hands Sen­glea a late win­ner

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - SPORT -

win­ner, to in­crease Birkirkara’s woes as now Sen­glea are three points in front of the stripes.

The per­for­mance of Birkirkara in Paul Zam­mit’s re­turn last game wasn’t five-star, and a con­fir­ma­tion was ex­pected in this game. But the per­for­mance was sim­i­lar to last week and Zam­mit has a lot of work to do in or­der to pre­pare a team to fight in the up­per po­si­tion of the ta­ble.

Paul Zam­mit made two changes from the game against Mosta, as Matthew Guil­lau­mier started in­stead of Lly­we­lyn Cre­mona, while Mulemo Landry had a solid de­but in de­fence. On the other side, Steve D’Amato kept faith in the same team that de­feated Lija Ath­letic last week.

Birkirkara held the ini­tia­tive in the first half but failed to cre­ate any se­ri­ous dan­ger to­wards Ti­mothy Aquilina. In fact they only had one shot on tar­get near the end of the first half from Matthew Guil­lau­mier, but his ef­fort from out­side the box was saved with no dif­fi­culty.

Sen­glea didn’t cre­ate any real trou­ble for Philip Schranz, but had some in­sid­i­ous at­tacks that failed to be cap­i­talised due to bad passes in the third zone of the pitch.

The sec­ond half kept the same rhythm and Birkirkara had the best chance in the 64th minute, as Matthew Guil­lau­mier re­ceived a good through ball from Mislav An­delkovic, drib­bled past Steve Bon­nici but his shot fin­ished over the bar. The Stripes had an­other chance a minute later, with a low di­ag­o­nal shot from Jake Grech that fin­ished inches off tar­get.

Sen­glea could have opened the score fif­teen min­utes from the end of the game but Rene Caseres failed to tap in from the small box af­ter a cross from the left side. Birkirkara kept press­ing to find the goal, and six min­utes later, Ryan Ca­men­zuli tried with a shot from out­side the penalty area, but Aquilina was con­cen­trated to save.

Birkirkara were pun­ished in the least mo­ment that they ex­pected it.

Four min­utes from time, Ivan Paz crossed from the left side to Ni­co­las Vi­rano who fired past his op­po­nents and goal­keeper Philip Schranz in the bot­tom right cor­ner. Paul Zam­mit’s team con­tin­ued to at­tack in or­der to save at least a point, but didn’t have much time left, as Sen­glea de­fended bravely, kick­ing every ball at the far end to claim a pre­cious win.

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