Shaw 45 o.g
BIRKIRKARA: A. Guarnone-7; P. Mbong-6 (74 K. Zammit); R. Briffa-5; Y. Yankam-6; Reginald-6; F. Falcone-6; F. Verde; C. Attard-6; C. Bonanni-4; A. Alves-6 (66 L. Montebello); I. Ntow-5.
SLIEMA: J. Galea-6; K. Shaw-6; J. Cisotti-7; D. Holla (20 E. Agius); G. Aquilina-6.5; R. Kakinuma; O. Bethancourt-6.5; J. Farrugia-7.5; M. Beerman-6; D. Vukovic-6.5; S. Comvalius-6.5 (80 Denilson).
Referee Matthe De Gabriele.
Yellow cards Verde, Briffa, Agius.
Red cards Riki (S) 14; Verde (B) 36.
BOV Player of the match Juri Cisotti (Sliema Wanderers).
Two goals after the break were enough for Sliema Wanderers to cancel a one-goal deficit and defeat Birkirkara 2-1.
The Blues bounced back from the Gudja United defeat to join Ħamrun Spartans, Hibernians and Gżira United on top at 13 points.
Birkirkara, on their part, have succumbed to their fourth defeat in six matches as they lie in 13th place, the top spot of the relegation places, with just 4 points to show.
An early crossbar hit by Sylvano Comvalius was the show of intent by Sliema Wanderers to search for a lead in this game.
However, their game plan was immediately disrupted when Riki Kakinuma was given the marching orders after just 14 minutes of play.
Adding insult to injury for Sliema was Danny Holla’s injury who was replaced by Edmond Agius as coach Andrea Pisanu continued to rotate his plan in this game.
Sliema created more chances with Italian player Juri Cisotti forcing fellow countryman Alessandro Guarnone into a stunning save to preserve the clean sheet.
Past the half-hour mark, Birkirkara’s numerical advantage was cancelled when Francesco Verde was sent off as well.
Birkirkara threatened with a Cain Attard drive from inside the box that was lifted over the bar before Sliema continued to pile pressure on their opponents with furthermore possession in the final third.
However, while Sliema’s conclusions were sterile, Birkirkara were fortunate in theirs as just before half-time, a Federico Falcone’s effort was blocked by Jake Galea before the goal ricocheted on Kurt Shaw and into his own net to give the Stripes the lead.
After the break, Sliema staged an immediate reaction and they made their pressure count with a Sylvano Comvalius towering header that went straight past Guarnone.
Sliema’s next chance of the game dropped onto the feet of Jean Paul Farrugia who after controlling with his chest, fired a volley straight into the hands of Birkirkara’s custodian.
Guarnone was drawn into action by Sliema as Edmond Agius let fly a long-range strike but could not give his side the lead.
Yet, Sliema’s second goal was just a matter of time and clinical forward Farrugia managed to put the Blues ahead after capitalising on a set-piece ten minutes from time.
In the closing stages of the game, Pisanu handed a Sliema debut to their marquee summer signing, Denilson in an attempt to give his midfield department more compactness.
Sliema were able to marshal their one-goal lead until the final whistle, to defeat Birkirkara and take victory home.