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Marsaxlokk coach Degabriele optimistic for a good run

Pembroke's Joao Pedro attempts to escapes Marsaxlokk's pressure. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina


Edgar Degabriele, the coach of newly-promoted side Marsaxlokk, is focused on keeping his players’ feet on the ground after they started off their campaign in the Challenge League with a point following a 1-1 draw against Pembroke, even though some might even say they deserved the three points on their first outing. 

Marsaxlokk kicked off a week later than the rest, with the league having been increased in size to 15 teams but they appeared to be prepared, especially after adding a good number of new signings to an already competitive squad from last season.

“I’m very happy with the squad. I can’t really think about expectations just yet because it’s only the first match of the season but I’m confident we can do well,” Degabriele told the Times of Malta.

Despite the various additions and a strong attacking performance, the Blues were missing that final touch which could have got them their first three points.

“When you consider we were missing seven players, three or four from the starting 11, we still showed our ability and I think, in the first half we could have scored at least two goals,” Degabriele said.

“In the first half we had many more opportunities to close off the game but in football, if you don’t take those chances and score, you’ll probably concede yourself – which is what happened later on.”

The match was eventually decided by second half goals from Pembroke’s Abdul Temitope and Marsaxlokk’s Junior Cabral, and Degabriele admits it was a fair result in the end.

“(In the second half) we were lucky to make the change which brought us the draw. I think the second half was a fair draw.”

Pembroke had goalkeeper Philip Schranz to thank in the opening 45 minutes. The 24-year-old saw most of the action throughout the half as the Reds suffered defensive frailties which showed from the fifth minute as Cabral’s effort from close range was only stopped by Schranz. 

The shotstopper was at it again on 14 minutes as he stopped another Cabral shot from point blank range. Schranz was perfect from his line once more to stop the resultant header.

Marsaxlokk looked more and more confident but started to lack the final touch. This turned the half into monotony as play was stuck in the middle of the pitch with efforts at goal scarce.

The second half proved to be different as after just three minutes, Pembroke went ahead with only their third attempt at goal. Following a perfectly timed corner, Temitope headed straight at the bottom corner, leaving no option for goalkeeper Frederick Tabone.

Despite the Reds being one-up on the scoresheet, Marsaxlokk were out to get their equaliser. Russell Fenech was the greatest cause of trouble for Pembroke and was close just around the hour with two of his shots being deflected into a corner.

The side’s catalyst however, was the game’s first substitution where Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was brought on for Ryan Sammut after 65 minutes. While the veteran was on the books of Pembroke last season, he made his presence felt as just two minutes later, his quick feet to beat his marker into the area resulted in him being hacked and referee Slawomir Olucha pointing to the spot.

Cabral made no mistake to send Schranz the other way for a deserved equaliser.
Late in the game with play balanced, Pembroke could have been also awarded a penalty as players crowded Olucha after a collision during a Kyle Frendo header but the referee adjudged Frendo to have pushed his way upwards.

Marsaxlokk could not take advantage, however, as substitute Dennis Cartella missed a golden opportunity to put his team ahead when his free header went wide from in front of goal. 

MARSAXLOKK: F. Tabone, C. Degabriele, J. Morales, G. Barone, I. Paz (80 D. Cartella), J. Cabral, J. Spiteri, B. Sciberras, C. Brincat, R. Sammut (65 J.P. Mifsud Triganza), R. Fenech (89 M. Borg Bartolo).
PEMBROKE: P. Schranz, A. Marshall, K. Farrugia, D. Sant, K. Frendo, M. Zarb (71 K. Aquilina), J. Pedro, D. Camilleri, A. Temitope, P. Sammut, N. Grech.
Referee: Slawomir Olucha
Best Player: Russell Fenech (Marsaxlokk).



ST GEORGES: J. Azzopardi, M. Caruana (46 L. Agius), R. Mandic, L. Bonett (86 N. Camilleri), D. Caruana, B. Gomes (61 J. Rodriguez), S. Darmanin, A. Gili, D. Serna (73 M. Bartolo), O. Magro, F. Lufi (46 A. Hili).
MARSA: N. Vella, J. Bondin, M. Micallef, J. Lima (74 P. Lapira), C. Gatt Baldacchino, P. Teixeira, D. Grima, L. Grech, F. Gusman (45 G. McKay), L. Micallef (81 A. Monticelli), R. Coehlo (81 P. Santos).

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Scorers: Teixeira (M) 3; Micallef (M) 8; Caruana (S) 33; Coelho (M) 35.
Red card: Azzopardi (S) 71.


PIETÀ: J. Chircop St John, S. Okoh, L. Cassar Jackson, M. Portelli (66 Z. Leonardi), J. Ghio (46 N. Pace Cocks), D. Segura, N. Pisani, C. Ze Lucas (82 G. Borg), S. Mizzi, J. Irimiya, J. Scicluna (46 S. Pisani).
QORMI: J. Vella, O. Sidibe, D. Perassolli, L. Farrugia, L. Mallia, A. Da Silva, I. Micallef (25 A. Bonnici), J. Mizzi, N. Gauci, I. Zammit (46 R. Caruana), L. Azzopardi (79 C. Farrugia).

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.
Scorers: Perassolli (Q) 8, 64; Scicluna (P) 11; Farrugia (Q) 44; Pisani (P) 59.
Red cards: Irimiya (P) 63; Perassolli (Q) 90.


FGURA: B. Bartolo, J. Vella, C. Gandini, J. Stensen (71 J. Cassar), J. Barbara (71 R. Zammit), T. Grech (59 S. Borg), J. Attard, N. Ojuola, D. Quintero, G. Martin (37 G. Galea), S. Nanapere.
ŻEBBUĠ: M. Grech, T. Bartolo, G. Gesualdi, S. Bugeja, J. Micallef, A. Mizzi, M. Del Negro (86 F. Zammit), C. Vella, J. Silveira (89 L. Gatt), L. Mijic, S. Miloskovic.

Referee: Daniel Portelli.
Scorer: Zammit 90.


NAXXAR: O. Borg, J. Sciberras, A. Azzopardi, M. Fenech, M. Mifsud, G. Xuereb (68 N. Borg), R. Cassar, J. Ellul (79 B. Schembri), J. Tenorio, F. Zuniga, S. Meilak.
SWIEQI: E. Gatt, I. Micallef, J. Magri Overend, J. Micallef (59 M. Attard), J. Willy (75 F. Temile), I. Salis, A. Schembri Wismayer, M. Vella (67 C. Cutajar), M. Ivanovic, D. Borg, J. Azzopardi.

Referee: Matthew De Gabriele.
Scorers: Salis (S) 51 pen., 82, 84; Ellul (N) 58; Temile (S) 90.
Red cards: Borg (S) 57; Zuniga (N) 61; Schembri (N) 92.


QRENDI: D. Zarb, J. Busuttil, L. Martinelli, S. Schembri, E. Vella, A. Agius, C. Camilleri (90 N. Pabon), S. Perdomo, L. Schembri (78 M. Gatt), D. Bueno (75 D. Sammut), A. Nilsson (90 J. Cachia)
ST ANDREWS: D. Formosa, I. Azzopardi (83 Z. Muscat), J. Farrugia, M. D’Alessandro (63 R. Micallef Decesare), M. Bartolo (45 M. Muscat), W. Camilleri, A. Borg Olivier (83 M. Vella Vidal), N. Bradshaw (63 J. Sixsmith), D. Jackson, L. Borg, F. Fernandes.

Referee: Shaun Calleja
Scorers: Perdomo (Q) 34; Nilsson (Q) 49 pen; Borg (S) 81.


VITTORIOSA: R. Caruana, K. Pace, D. Sowatey, Q. Bregman, A. Galea, A. Cilia Mumford, J. Farrugia, D. Borg Castaldi (86 K. Caruana), G. Sultana, R. Farias, L. Melo.
SAN GWANN: C. Formosa, G. Pace, C. Gauci, O. Spiteri, J. Bowman (57 P. Kanzurov), C. Umeh, C. Gauci, C. Omoruanzoje, L. Mallia (87 A. Falzon), A. Chibueze, A. Zammit.

Referee: Andrea Sciriha
Scorers: A. Zammit (S) 42; R. Farias (V) 65. 
Red card: Pace (S) 34.


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