ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 0
Yankam 8; Falcone 57
Birkirkara woke up from their ashes to produce a sublime performance and hand leaders Ħamrun Spartans their first defeat in the 2020-21 Premier League.
It was a deserved victory for Andre Paus’ team who were on top throughout and never let the Spartans settle in the match.
No doubt, this win will inject much-needed self-belief in the Stripes who will be looking to climb the standings after a poor start to the campaign.
Birkirkara looked a shadow of the side that struggled in the first four matches as they held the initiviative for much of the opening 45 minutes with the Spartans struggling to make any inroads to the Birkirkara defence.
In fact it was the Stripes who drew first blood with their first telling attack on eight minutes.
From an Alex Alves corner, Federico Falcone saw his header come off the bar but in came Yannick Yankam who headed home from the rebound.
The goal injected confidence in the Birkirkara players who continued to boss proceedings with the Spartans looking short of ideas upfront.
Alex Alves was a constant thorn in the Spartans defence and after having a legitimate penalty appeal turned down by the referee he came close on the half hour with a low shot that was saved by Pablo Sanchez.
The Spartans finally threatened on 35 minutes when Matthew Guillaumier picked Emerson Marcelina at the far post and the Brazilian saw his header saved by the Birkirkara goalkeeper.
A minute later, Guillaumier was again the provider when he picked Elkin Serrano Valero at the far post but the Colombian was anticipated by Claudio Bonanni.
Federico Falcone was unlucky not to double Birkirkara’s lead on 37 minutes when he unleashed a fierce drive that came off the upright.
Two minutes from the break, Adeshina played in Franklin Sasere and the Nigerian was denied by the onrushing Guarnero.
After the break, the Spartans tried to step up the tempo and on 56 minutes Guillaumier picked Joseph Mbong on the edge of the area and hit a thumping drive that finished just over.
But it was Ħamrun who doubled their lead when Paul Mbong forced his way past Marcelina and his cross-shot was met by Falcone who stabbed the ball home.
Juan Corbalan should have pulled a goal back on 76 minutes following a pass from substitute Darren Borg.