BIRKIRKARA                      1

Falcone 90

NADUR YOUNGSTERS     0

A 90th-minute goal from Federico Falcone rescued Birkirkara as they advanced into the fourth round of the FA Trophy at the expense of Gozitan side Nadur Youngsters.

Birkirkara struggled more than expected to earn this win as despite having more of the ball, Nadur’s backline proved to be a tough nut to crack.

The Stripes, who had Falcone and Edison Tarabai as their attacking pair, rarely threatened in the first half. Their best chances came late in the second half after coach Andre Paus had deployed experienced striker Michael Mifsud.

The Stripes will now take on Mosta when the competition resumes in January.

Nadur, on their part, played their heart out against one of the elite teams in Maltese football. Their starting formation included familiar faces with the BOV Premier League namely goalkeeper Steve Sultana, Predrag Dordevic, Stefan Cassar, Elkin Valero Serrano and Emerson Marcelina.

Birkirkara tried to impose their game in the opening stages but it was clear that Nadur’s backline was going to give the Stripes a hard time.

In fact, with two pressure lines deep inside their own half, Nadur were successful in disrupting Birkirkara’s flow when they tried to threaten.

Federico Falcone was acting as the Stripes target man but was constantly outnumbered and could not really flex his muscles.

Nadur, on their part, were playing on the break and on the 18th minute, the Gozitan side tried to knock on Birkirkara’s door but Marcelo Barbosa hesitated to try an effort as the Stripes cleared the danger.

On the 20th minute, Matthew Guillaumier tried his luck from outside the box but he skied his shot.

Moments later, Barbosa was dangerous for Nadur but failed to hit the target after a solo effort.

The final action of the first half dropped to Falcone but he could not direct his header towards goal.

After the restart, Nadur continued to frustrate Birkirkara and the latter came only close to score on just one occasion when past the hour mark, Caio Henrique saw his shot blocked by Sultana.

Sultana came to Nadur’s rescue on the 73rd minute when he blocked a Michael Mifsud’s thumping volley.

Moments later, Maurizio Vella was denied by the woodwork after letting fly a long-range shot.

Seven minutes from time, Nadur almost stunned Birkirkara when Barbosa darted into the box before attempting a shot just to be denied by inches.

However, it was Birkirkara who broke the deadlock at the death when Falcone came from behind the Nadur defenders and capitalised on a Ntow well-weighted cross.