Alves 20, 45
ŻEJTUN CORINTHIANS 3
Gomes 19, 84
Żejtun Corinthians yesterday arguably achieved their biggest victory in their history when a late goal by Josè Gomes handed them a 3-2 success over Birkirkara.
It was a shock result but richly deserved, if anything for their hard work as well as their inclination to produce flowing football whenever in possession.
Birkirkara are a far cry from the team admired last season, despite a team oozing with experience and talent are still sweating to gel together as a cohesive side, finding themselves at the wrong side of the table with just one point out of four matches.
Their 4-3-3 formation with Federico Falcone getting the support of the rapid insertions on the flanks by Paul Mbong and Alex Alves. Birkirkara paraded their new goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone who made his debut between the Birkirkara goalposts.
The early probing came from the Stripes but in a sudden foray, Żejtun broke the ice. This came from an 18-minute brilliant solo effort from Josè Gomes who sold the dummy to Claudio Bonanni through some exquisite footwork, as he veered to the centre to slide the ball behind Guarnone.
Birkikara’s reaction was spontaneous. Alves deftly controlled the ball on the right flank before hitting an outrageous lob that dipped over the leaping Christian Cassar and dropped into the far corner of the net.
But it took only three minutes for Żejtun to regain the upperhand, when Ricardo Faria headed in Gomes’s left-wing cross.
On the half-hour mark, referee Philip Farrugia awarded a penalty to Birkirkara when Alves appeared to be dragged by Żejtun defender Neil Tabone but Yankam incredibly shot straight at Cassar.
The Corinthians were buoyant – but were hit by a stunning counter-punch. Yankam supplied a clear back heel to send Alves clear to beat Cassar for the second time.
The Stripes redoubled their efforts in the second half and it was not long before Roderick Briffa had seen his looping free-kick deflected to safety. The pressure on the Żejtun’s fort was gradually mounting even if confidence at the back did not desert them. A menacing inswinger for a corner by substitute Reginald Mbu flashed across the face of goal.
The Corinthians’ menace on the counter was not to be ignored. Andrè Paus, desperate to get the first win of the season, threw caution to the wind by bringing on first Caio Prado, and then Luke Montebello to change his formation to 4-1-2-3.
Instead, Birkirkara were shocked six minutes from time. Substitute Edward Herrera’s through came in Gomes’ wat and the latter thumped home after Birkirkara defence was caught at sixes and sevens.