SENGLEA ATHLETIC 1
Yankam 40, Bonanni 49
M. Farrugia-6, N, Terzin-5, Z. Cassar-5, A. Abela-5 (56 L. Brincat-5), K. Atkinson-6, I. Misan-4, L. Riascos-5, A. Scicluna-, D. Kukic-5, D. Xuereb-5 (68 R. Martin-5), Wilkerson-6.
S. Guarnone-6, Y. Yankam-7, L. Montebello-6, R. Briffa-5, K. Zammit-5.5, F. Falcone-5 (70 F. Verde), C. Attard-6, C. Bonanni-6, Caio-6, O. Carniello-5, A. Alvez-5.5 (43 P. Mbong).
Referee: Fyodor Zammit.
Yellow cards: Wilkerson, Riascos, Abela, Scicluna, Terzin, Mbong, Farrugia.
Red cards: Scicluna (S) 85; Mbong (B) 85.
Birkirkara maintained their moment of grace when they registered their third win in a week to climb eighth in the standings on 13 points.
It’s quite a turnaround in fortunes for the Stripes but it was far from vintage stuff for André Paus’ troops yesterday. Birkirkara only had to summon their minimum to outsmart an overcautious Senglea team which rarely had a sniff of the opposing goal.
The same players in the same formation will deliver the same goods against Senglea Athletic, Paus must have thought as he put the same starting XI for the third game in a row.
Birkirkara were soon up and running and an early long-range strike from Caio Prado missed the target while Matthew Farrugia saved on Yannick Yankam.
On 33 minutes, Birkirkara had the ball in the net but Luke Montebello, who had pounced on a loose ball, was offside when he drove his shot past Farrugia.
Five minutes from half-time, Alves carried the ball on the right flank, but he still had a lot to do before shooting, carrying the ball inside the box before cutting inside and striking at goal. His effort was blocked by Alan Abela. From the rebound, Caio squared for Yankam who buried the ball behind Farrugia with powerful rising shot.
It was 2-0 shortly after the break.
Paul Mbong, who replaced the injured Alves just before half-time, won a free-kick near the edge of the area for a foul by Abela. Claudio Bonanni stepped up and whipped the ball past Farrugia.
On 56 minutes, Cain Attard’s diagonal pass found Falcone at the far post but the former Valletta striker shot straight at Farrugia.
Senglea’s display did not merit a goal, but they found the net 15 minutes from time when from a Wilkerson cross, Briffa collided with his onrushing Birkirkara goalkeeper Sandro Guarnone and the ball ran loose to the Kevaughn Atkinson who tapped it into an empty net.
Tempers flared in 85th minute when Mbong slid on André Scicluna from behind, the defender reacted angrily and the two squared up.
Both players were given a yellow card, consequently Scicluna was sent off for his second booking.
Mbong was dismissed soon after for remarks he passed towards the Senglea defender as he was leaving the pitch to end the match on a tense note.