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Barbosa’s late strike keeps Spartans on top

Matthew Guillaumier tries to find a way through the Gudja defence. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina.

GUDJA UNITED             0

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS   1

Barbosa 88

Ħamrun Spartans needed a late goal by Marcelo Barbosa to see off a resilient Gudja United and preserve their perfect record in the BOV Premier League.

It was far from a comfortable evening for the Reds. They dominated play for much of the opening hour, creating the better chances and unlucky not to take the lead when hitting the woodwork twice.

However, Gudja kept themselves in the match and when the Spartans had defender Darko Gojkovic dismissed they took control of the match and were only denied of a winner by Spanish goalkeeper Pablo Sanchez who pulled off some fine stops.

The match again changed 20 minutes from time when Gudja had Patrick Mota red-carded and here the Spartans took control.

However, they had to wait until two minutes from time to claim the winner through Barbosa that kept them on top with a maximum 12 points. 

The Spartans made all the early running and after nine minutes Marcelo Barbosa raced into space and hit a firm drive that was pushed away by Glenn Zammit.

Four minutes later, Sasere connected to Karl Micallef’s cross but headed just over.

On 24 minutes Sasere was unlucky to give his side the lead when he controlled Mbong’s pass but his thumping drive hit the upright.

A minute later, Barbosa pounced on an error by a Gudja defender but was denied by the onrushing Zammit.

Seven minutes from the break, Mbong put Sasere in space but the towering striker fired wide.

Gudja’s best chance came on the stroke of half-time when Gabriel Mensah picked a short clearance but his volley flashed wide.

The woodwork denied the Spartans a second time eight minutes into the second half when Barbosa’s thumping drive came off the bar with Zammit beaten.

Ħamrun suffered a blow on 58 minutes when Gojkovic picked up his second yellow card and was dismissed.

On 62 minutes Pablo Sanchez dived to his right to push away Llewelyn Cremona’s shot and from the resultant free-kick the Spanish goalkeeper touched away Yuri Messias’ shot.

Gudja were now piling the pressure and on 65 minutes Mota connected to Messias’ corer but his header came off the bar.

But that turned out to Mota’s final contriubution as five minutes later he was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Still Gudja remained dangerous and Sanchez did well to keep out Friggieri’s deflected shot.

However, it was the Spartans who had the final say as on 88 minutes Guillaumier flashed inside the area and teed up Barbosa who hammered the ball home.

In time added on Sanchez again came to the Spartans’ rescue when he denied Cremona from close in.

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