ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 3
Ailton Soares 9
ĦAMRUN SPARTANS: E. Bartolo-7, D. Gojkovic-6, M. Guillaumier-7.5, J. Mbong-6.5, J. Ailton Soares-7 (90 D. Borg), F. Sasere-7, E. Serrano Valero-7, J. Corbalan-6.5, P. Djordjevic-6.5, K. Micallef-6 (70 M. Barbosa), E. Marcelina-7 (90 I. Adeshina).
FLORIANA: I. Akpan-6, E. Ruiz-6, N. Leone-5 (63 B Paiber-6), K. Keqi-5, U. Arias-5 (86 S. Arab), J. Pisani-6, M. Garcia-6, A. Cini-6, J. Busuttil-6, R. Camenzuli-6, T. Fonseca-5 (63 F. Cheveresan-5).
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri.
Yellow cards: Sasere, Corbalan, Arias, Pisani, Micallef, Marcelina.
BOV Player of the match: Matthew Guillaumier (Ħamrun Spartans).
Ħamrun Spartans made another real statement of intent when they came from a goal down to overcome Floriana at the National Stadium.
It was a real test of character from the Spartans who found themselves a goal behind after just three minutes of play when Mathias Garcia blasted the ball home.
But the Spartans hit back and strongly and managed to drew level through Ailton Soares and went on to turn the match on its head with a beauty from Matthew Guillaumier and a late Franklin Sasere strike.
The win lifted the Spartans to second place in the standings, three points adrift of Sliema Wanderers, albeit having a game in hand.
Floriana took the ground and inside the first 60 seconds Ħamrun goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo was forced to dive full stretch to keep out Kristian Keqi’s flick.
But it was a temporary repreive for the Spartans as two minutes later Ulisses Arias’ cross was deviated into the path of Mathias Garcia who blasted the ball into the net.
But the Spartans fought back strongly and levelled matters on eight minutes. Franklin Sasere flicked the ball into the path Joseph Mbong who quickly played in Ailton Soares. The Cape Verde forward kept his cool to slide the ball past Ini Akpan.
The match remained evenly balanced with both sides trying to assert their dominance in midfield with scoring chances few and far between.
On the half hour, the Spartans took the lead with a real moment of brilliance.
Ailton Soares chipped the ball into the path of Guillaumier and the Malta midfielder showed great skill to flick the ball over the onrushing Akpan and into the net. For Guillaumier this was his first goal with the colours of Ħamrun Spartans.
Ħamrun were now on top and six minutes from the break, Guillaumier fed Ailton Soares who moved past Alex Cini and his shot just missed the upright.
After the break, Floriana tried to get back into the match but were showing lack of lucidity in front of goal.
Potenza roped in Brandon Paiber and Flavio Cheveresan in a bid to bolster his attack and the former almost left an instant mark when his inswinger was deflected just wide.
On 73 minutes Keqi shoud have done better when he picked a short rebound but blasted wide from close in.
Bartolo denied Floriana an equaliser when he palmed over Paiber’s inswinger.
But it was the Spartans who sealed the points a minute from time when Sasere dispossesed Cini and served the unmarked Barbosa who was blocked by Akpan, the ball fell to Sasere whose first attempt was cleared by Ruiz but the Nigerian made no mistake at the second time of asking as he headed home.