Ħamrun are now in sight of the calmer waters, having navigated through high and unwelcome winds in the past weeks. A goal in the dying moments of the match, netted by substitute Lagzir Soufiane brought broad smiles on their supporters' faces.
That 'salvo' by the Moroccon striker  may have been a hard pill for Senglea to swallow not only as it came at death, but also for being conceded after holding the upperhand for long stretches.

Anderson Carneiro do Nascimento and Elvis Sakyi were absent through suspension for Senglea as Matthew Gauci, reappearing for Ħamrun after a three-week absence, was drafted back into the first team with the Portuguese midfielder Alhinho dropped to centre-back alongside Mattia Cinquini. 

Senglea had the first notable shot at goal, Gonzalo Nicolas Virano poking over the target on a free-kick.

On eight minutes, Carlos Flows ran onto a short free-kick played by Clayton Failla, squared the ball for Jorge Ailton to hit it wide.

Senglea's Josè Texeira was deployed as the most advanced cog, slightly infront of Ricardo Theodoro. Junior Cabral and Nicolas Gonzalo Virano were detailed to supply the midfield graft.

Gradually, they took control of the midfield with balls being sprayed towards their front-runners.

A perfect pass from Nicola Braunovic set up Justin Micallef who swept past the onrushing goalkeeper but Emanuel Bartolo recovered his position to block his attempt at goal. 

Ħamrun's approach was rational as their  4-1-4-1 formation had Cape Verde striker Jorge Ailton as its attacking spearhead but the likes of Carlos Flores, Conor Borg and Darren Borg who replaced Piotr Branicki after just  22 minutes, were encouraged to push forward in support of their lone striker.

Ailton was again in action for Ħamrun but he hit the ball wide from inside Senglea's box.

But Senglea kept up the attacking tempo after the break. On 54 minutes, they were unlucky not to open the score. Theodoro de Almeida's cross from the left had Cabral running in, but his header bounced off the bar and eventually to safety.

Lagzir Soufiane had come on as a replacement for Ħarmun, while Senglea had all their attacking forces on the field with Wilfried Zamble instead of Theodoro on the left flank.

With time running short, Ħamrun increased their efforts. 

There were only seven minutes of normal time left when an angled drive from Clayton Failla was stopped by the diving Matthew Farrugia but from the rebound Lagzir slotted in. 

The Spartans still had one last effort but Ailton's effort crashed against the bar.
That was that and the Spartans went home in the knowledge that their position in the top half of table is much better.

Senglea, on their part, would consider themselves hard done by.

 

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us