SLIEMA WANDERERS 4
Gilmar 55; Farrugia 58 pen
LIJA ATHLETIC 1
Perez Jimenez 12
J. Galea-6, K. Shaw-6, Gilmar-6.5 (78 R. Kisil), J. Cisotti-7, E. Agius-6 (68 A. Milesi), G. Aquilina-6, R. Kakinuma-7 (78 A. Satariano), O. Linton-6, J.P. Farrugia-6 (82 J. Mintoff), M. Beerman-6.5 (77’M. Sansone), D. Vukovic-6.5.
L. Bonnici-6, C. Cassar-5.5, P. Soares Gusso-5.5 (76 M. Clinch), D. Scerri-6 (61 G. Zammit), E. Beu-6.5, F. Brandan-6, H. Wood-5.5, M. Perez Jimenez-6, J. Gill-6, C. Giordimaina-6, C. Flores-5.5 (46 R. Darmanin).
Referee: Philip Farrugia.
Yellow cards: O. Linton, D. Scerri, C. Giordimaina, J. Gill, Gilmar, Brandan
BOV Player of the Match: Juri Cisotti (Sliema Wanderers).
Sliema Wanderers bounced back from the defeat to Gżira United as they came from behind to beat Lija Athletic 4-1.
Despite going one goal down, the Blues soon regained composure and after levelling matters towards the end of the first half, they dictated matters on the restart, scoring three times to register a comfortable win to go top of the Premier League standings.
Sliema coach Andrea Pisanu made no less than four changes to the team which lost to Gżira last week as Dejan Vukovic, Oscar Linton, Edmond Agius and Jean Paul Farrugia were all named in the starting line-up.
On the other hand, Lija welcomed back Fernando Javier Brandan. Brandan and Clayton Giordimaina were preferred to Gonzalo Virano and Leon Muscat. For Joseph Galea’s side this was the sixth consecutive defeat to remain second from bottom.
Lija had the first attempt at goal with Erjon Beu testing goalkeeper Jake Galea with a corner from the right but Sliema replied with a cross by Dejan Vukovic from the right from which Juri Cisotti served Jean Paul Farrugia whose conclusion was blocked by Bonnici.
On 12 minutes, Lija managed to take the lead. Harry Wood delivered a corner from the right, Brandan headed the ball down for Miguel Perez Jimenez to slot the ball home.
This goal was a cold shower for the Blues but they were soon back in control.
In fact, Sliema equalised just before the end of the first half when off a cross by Myles Beerman, Riki Kakinuma beat goalkeeper Luke Bonnici with a fine header.
Ten minutes in the second half, the Wanderers gained the lead thanks to Gilmar following a free-kick from the right.
Three minutes later, Sliema went 3-1 ahead. Pedro Luiz Soares Gusso brought Gilmar down inside the area and Farrugia converted from the penalty spot.
The Blues kept piling on pressure on their opponents and they scored a fourth goal on 66 minutes. Vukovic delivered a cross from the right and Juri Cisotti’s header gave Bonnici no chance.
Sliema could have added another eight minutes later with a first time effort by Cisotti but the Lija goalkeeper performed a good save.
In the dying minutes, Lija could have reduced the arrears further but Beu’s fine effort just missed the target.