VITTORIOSA STARS 1
ST ANDREWS 1
Vittoriosa Stars mentor Ivan Zammit expressed his satisfaction after a compact performance by his team, which featured five new January acquisitions, enabled them to hold an in-form St Andrew’s side.
The final stalemate did little to help the Stars’ cause as they remain second from bottom on nine points while St Andrews remained third on 21 points, level with Naxxar Lions and six adrift of leaders Żejtun Corinthians.
Still coach Zammit was happy to give his new signings time to settle down.
“We’re fitting in well into the system defensively, now we need to look at going forward and have more possession. But you can’t do everything at once,” Zammit said.
“When you start (with new players) in summer it’s easier because you can try things out in friendlies. After the break, you go straight into matches so there’s not a lot of time to analyse your improvements.
“But the team was compact and is working hard. Today we played against St. Andrews who technically are very good so I’m happy with the progress we’ve made so far.”
The former Mosta and Balzan coach praised notable addition Dylan Grima, who joined the side from Premier League team Gudja United over the break. Grima put in a mature performance in midfield against the Saints.
“We all know Dylan Grima’s potential. Game after game, he’s a player who I’m sure will be raising his level,” Zammit said.
Fellow former Malta international and now St Andrews coach Brian Said felt very differently after his side maintained most of possession but could not take all the spoils.
“We’re disappointed with the result because the most important thing, dominant or not, is the result,” Said admitted.
“We knew Vittoriosa were going to be a bit defensive and in fact – they were, and despite having most possession we failed to create enough chances to close off the game.
“We might have been unlucky but these are things we have to work on and improve. We’ve got a young team so there’s a lot of room for improvement.
“We prepare for every game in the same way, irrespective of where the team is in the standings but these are games you have to win in order to stay on top so that when you’re facing other top teams, you play your game and whatever comes, comes. This is where our team grows so we need to be able to close games off.”
The Saints coach explained that his side is adamant on pushing forward their promising players, quality foreigners and experienced players first as he said they already have “the right mix”. However, with squad depth, which he says is lacking, being a major concern, the side will be looking to make further additions to create competition for their players.
“We’ll be trying to boost our squad with players who can come in and complement the good group we have already,” he said.
In a clash between two sides on opposite sides of the Division One table at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, the majority of proceedings took place in the final 45 minutes as opportunities were a few and far between during an uneventful first half which saw St Andrews having most of the ball but lacking the final touch.
It was only a matter of time until the Saints found their opening after the break.
From the first corner of the second half on 50 minutes, Kemar Reid benefitted from the slippery ground as he pounced on a poor clearance to slide the ball into the net and put his team ahead.
However, this lead did not last long as confidence began to grow across the Reds camp and their fighting spirit paid off on the hour when a long ball from defence eluded the St Andrews defenders to reach Renan Farias who hit the ball past an onrushing Nicholas Grima.
Debutant Leonardo De Oliveira had the opportunity to make it two for the Cottonera side from another long ball ten minutes from time but he fired well over in front of goal.
The Stars were almost made to pay for it at the death as St Andrews had their best chance to go ahead again but substitute Malcolm Vella Vidal’s effort hit the post much to the relief of Vittoriosa custodian Martin Moyano.
VITTORIOSA: M. Moyano, C. Spiteri (44 I. Abela), J. Briffa, K. Vella, A. Galea, S. Grech (65 L. Casha), D. Grima, D. Tabone, G. Sultana, L. De Oliveira, R. Farias (74 N. Mclaren).
ST ANDREWS: N. Grima, M. D’Alessandro, M. Bartolo, M. Muscat, A. Chibueze, N. Bradshaw (83 M. Vella Vidal), J. Farrugia, L. Borg (82 J. Sixsmith), A. Borg Olivier, D. Jackson, K. Reid.
Referee: Darryl Agius.
Best Player: Keith Vella (Vittoriosa Stars).
PEMBROKE ATHLETA 2
PIETÀ HOTSPURS 0
PEMBROKE: P. Schranz, Y. Shaba, G. Azzopardi, D. Isakovic, N. Frendo, T. Fenech, M. Buhagiar, Y. Tonna, M. Zarb, P. Santos, J.P. Mifsud Triganza.
PIETÀ: J. Chircop St John (82 M. Chetcuti), T. Bartolo, D. Vukovic, S. Mizzi, J. Irimiya, C. Gauci, N. Pace Cocks, N. Pisani, C. Ze Lucas (46 C. Bouvet), J. Ghio, K. Amehi (68 Q. Bregman).
Referee: Slobodan Petrovic
Scorers: Isakovic 54; Mifsud Triganza 90.
Red card: Irimiya (PH) 90.
ST GEORGE’S 2
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS 1
ST GEORGE’S: J. Azzopardi, A. Gili, J. Grech, A. Hili, A. Marshall, R. Villada, M. Mentosa, C. Cassar, M. Uritani (76 S. Perdomo), L. Bonett, D. Caruana.
ŻEBBUĠ: M. Grech, C. Brincat, G. Gesualdi, R. Vella, D. Fava, R. Zammit (70 J. Farrugia), N. Ojuola, S. Buhagiar, A. Azzopardi, M. Fagbeja, S. Nanapere.
Referee: Aleksandar Jovanovic.
Scorers: Caruana (SG) 14; Bonett (SG) 38; Brincat (Ż) 88.
ŻEJTUN CORINTHIANS 2
SWIEQI UNITED 1
ŻEJTUN: C. Cassar, L. Cassar Jackson, D. Sowatey (67 R. Nascimento), C. Grech, K. Farrugia, D. Agius, M. Pereira, A. Mizzi, J. Ogunuppe, J. Suda (84 R. Spiteri), A. Carabott (67 J. Busuttil).
SWIEQI: C. Abdilla, J. Azzopardi, S. Bugeja, K. Sultana (55 D. Borg), M. Ivanovic, K. Muscat, M. Farrugia, A. Schembri Wismayer, R. Taliana (83 L. Taliana), B. Albuquerque (63 T. Ayorinde), I. Salis.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Scorers: Suda (Ż) 3; Ivanovic (S) 60; Nascimento (Ż) 72.
FGURA UNITED 1
NAXXAR LIONS 1
FGURA: L. Moore, P. Chircop, C. Gandini, J. Vella, J. Stensen, S. Borg, D. Quintero (72 D. Cartella), S. Hili (55 J. Barbara), G. Martin (64 S. Abela), A. Toncheff, G. Galea.
NAXXAR: O. Borg, J. Sciberras, B. Essel, M. Fenech, R. Cassar, J. Debono, M. Mifsud (71 A. Azzopardi), J. Ellul (61 D. Falzon), S. Meilak (91 J. Camilleri), G. Carrara, E. Farias.
Referee: Slawomir Olucha
Scorers: Galea (F) 43; Mifsud (N) 57.
Red card: Chircop (F) 53.
LIJA ATHLETIC 4
LIJA: L. Bonnici, A. White, C. Giordimaina, L. Muscat, M. Clinch, C. Gauci, R. Fenech, A. Galea (72 L. Pisani), K. Seakanyeng, F. Temile (88 E. Beu), J. Wells (79 H. Wood).
QORMI: J. Azzopardi, A. Abela, A. Cassar, C. Farrugia (46 L. Farrugia), M. Bustos, N. Ghio, I. Mizzi (46 D. Camilleri), R. Santos Silva, M. Borg (76 G. Sammut), T. Gusman, N. Borg.
Referee: Philip Farrugia.
Scorers: Temile (L) 9, 65; Bustos (Q) 11 pen.; Seakanyeng (L) 24 pen., 30; Ghio (Q) 62.
MQABBA: F. Tabone, M. Caruana, J. Micallef, N. Micallef, K. Xuereb (61 G. Micallef), D. Micallef, B. Grech, Y. Omuro (87 N. Dia), A. Ferreira (93 C. Zahra), F. Zammit, P. Chimezie.
QRENDI: D. Zarb, D. Micallef, S. Radovanovic (54 J. Silveira), B. Muscat, S. Schembri, E. Vella, C. Camilleri, A. Agius, A. Nilsson, D. Santos da Hora, L. Schembri (54 D. Sammut).
Referee: Ezekiel Barbara
Scorers: Ferreira (M) 29; Chimezie (M) 34; Micallef (Q) 77.
Red card: Schembri (Q) 89.