ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 4
Ailton Soares 24, 61
ŻEJTUN CORINTHIANS 0
E. Bartolo-6.5 (77 M. Debono), D. Gojkovic-6.5, M. Guillaumier-7, A. Oyama-6 (67 K. Micallef), J. Mbong-6.5, J. Soares Ailton-7.5, F. Sasere-6, E. Serrano Valero-6, J. Corbalan-6, P. Djordjevic-6-5 (77 D. Borg), E. Marcelina-6.5 (77 I. Adeshina).
C. Cassar-5, D, Albanese-5, Lucas-5, K. Reid-5 (68 A. Carabott), J. Suda-5 (46 C. Grech-5), M. Pereira-5 (77 G. Bugeja), Fernandinho, V. Vieira-5, E. Herrera-6 (67 D. Agius), N. Tabone-4, Anderson-5.
Referee Emanuel Grech.
Yellow cards Fernandinho, Herrera, Guillaumier, Albanese, Serrano Valero
Red card: Fernandinho (Ż) 33.
BOV Player of the match Jorge Ailton Soares (Ħamrun Spartans).
Ħamrun Spartans overcame a slow start to see off ten-man Żejtun Corinthians at the Centenary Stadium.
It was far from a comfortable victory for the Reds who survived a nervy start to the match which had seen Żejtun firmly on top and only some excellent saves from goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo denied the newly-promoted side from taking the lead.
But gradually Ħamrun improved and once Jorge Ailton Soares put them ahead there was no way back for the Corinthians who had Fernandinho dismissed midway through the first half.
From then on, the Spartans controlled proceedings and sealed the points with further goals from Ailton Soares, Predrag Djordjevic and Franklin Sasere to complete a win that lifted them second in the standings, one adrift of leaders Sliema.
There was little separating either side in the opening stages as both sides tried to gain the upperhand in midfield.
Żejtun were regaled an excellent opportunity to strike first when on eight minutes Elkin Serrano Valero’s poor pass was intercepted by Vitor Vieira who stormed inside the area but was denied by Manuel Bartolo.
Five minutes later, another defensive mix-up from the Spartans paved the way for Fernandinho to hit a thumping drive that was touched by Bartolo onto the bar.
From the ensuing flag-kick, taken by Fernandinho, Jurgen Suda fired wide from a central position.
It was all Żejtun and Bartolo was forced to make another instinctive save on a Kemar Reid shot on 12 minutes.
Ħamrun almost struck in their first attempt on goal on 19 minutes when Ailton Soares’s delivery was punched by goalkeeper Christian Cassar onto the upright.
The Spartans, however, struck in their next opportunity. Ailton Soares intercepted a backpass from Żejtun defender Neil Tabone to slot the ball past Cassar.
More woes followed for Żejtun as on 33 minutes Fernandinho was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Ailton Soares should have struck again on 40 minutes when he was well picked by Mbong but fired wide from close in.
After the break, the Spartans remained in control with Corbalan coming close with an inswinger that just missed the upright.
The Reds did eventually all but wrapped the points just past the hour mark when Ailton Soares did well to win possession on the edge of the area before hitting a firm low drive that rolled past the diving Cassar.
Ħamrun added a third goal on 73 minutes when Ailton Soares stormed inside the area and set up Djordjevic who fired home.
A minute later, Matthew Guillaumier stormed inside the area chipped the ball over Cassar with the ball pushed into the net by Sasere.