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Five-star Spartans brush aside Rainbows to go top

Ħamrun Spartans' Jorge Ailton Soares fires at goal against Tarxien Rainbows. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina


Barbosa 7, 72

Ailton Soares 18, 68

Sasere 77


ĦAMRUN SPARTANS: E. Bartolo-6.5, D. Gojkovic-6, M. Guillaumier-6 (70 B. Cittadini), J. Mbong-6.5, J. Ailton Soares-8, F. Sasere-6.5, I. Adeshina-6, E. Serrano Valero-6, J. Corbalan-6 (74 D. Borg), P. Djordjevic-6.5 (74 C. Borg), M. Barbosa-6.5 (74 K. Micallef).

TARXIEN RAINBOWS: J. Borg-4, B. Muscat-5, E. Bilbao Zarate-5, D. Falzon-5, V. Plut-6, J. Debono-5 (85 C. Zahra), Vanger-5, E. Rosado-5, K. Gatt-5 (72 K. Pulo), M. Tabone-5, M. Gomez-5 (79 K. Attard)

Referee: Emanuel Grech.

Yellow card: Djordjevic.

BOV Player of the match: Jorge Ailton Soares (Ħamrun Spartans).

Ħamrun Spartans ended the year in some style as they further underlined their attacking prowess when they brushed aside Tarxien Rainbows to go top of the Premier League standings.

There was never any doubt on who would prevail in this final top-flight fixture for 2020 as the Reds were in control right from the outset and once Jorge Ailton Soares put them ahead after seven minutes, there was no way back for the Rainbows.

In fact, Mark Buttigieg’s men had too much firepower for the struggling Rainbows who struggled to contain the pace and power of the Spartans attacking trio of Ailton Soares, Franklin Sasere and Marcelo Barbosa as the Reds cruised to their third win in a row that lifted them top of the standings on 28 points, level with Sliema Wanderers.

Surely, this was another morale-boosting victory for the Spartans who head into the Christmas recess in the best possible scenario and will hope they can maintain the momentum on the turn of year when they return to action against old rivals Valletta on January 5.

Ħamrun Spartans coach Mark Buttigieg made two changes from the team that beat Floriana 3-1 last weekend as Ige Adeshina was roped in for Emerson Marcelina who was serving a one-match ban while Marcelo Barbosa was preferred to Karl Micallef who started on the bench.

On the other hand, Winston Muscat, the Tarxien coach, made one change from the team that lost to Sliema Wanderers last week as Jurgen Borg started in goal at the expense of Daniel Fernandes.

Ħamrun took the ground running and needed just seven minutes to surge ahead.

Jorge Ailton Soares dashed clear on the left and sent a low cross towards Barbosa who stabbed the ball past Borg.

The goal inevitably infused more confidence in the Spartans who came close to a second goal on 14 minutes.

Ailton Soares was at it again when he exchanged the ball with Franklin Sasere but his thumping drive flew over.

Ħamrun doubled their lead on 18 minutes as Mbong burst clear on the right and his low cross was deflected into the path of Ailton Soares. The Cape Verde forward unleashed a powerful low drive that had the better of Borg.

With two goals to the good, the Spartans somewhat took their foot off the accelerator and were soon punished minutes later when Vito Plut made space for himself inside the area but fired just wide.

Ħamrun soon regained the initiative and on 32 minutes, Mbong came close to put his name on the scoresheet when his shot was deflected just past the upright with Borg beaten.

The Rainbows had another huge chance to pull one back on 43 minutes when Plut found Daren Falzon in space but Bartolo showed great reflexes to deny the Tarxien midfielder.

Ħamrun kept up the pressure after the break in search of a third goal that would all but put the game beyond their opponents’ reach.

On 62 minutes, Borg had to be alert to push away Ailton Soares’ cross-shot.

The Spartans finally put the game to bed on 68 minutes when Ailton Soares sped into space and unleashed a powerful drive that had the better of Borg.

Four minutes later, Ħamrun added a fourth goal when Blas Cittadini, who had just replaced Matthew Guillaumier, picked Barbosa in space and the Brazilian arrowed a shot into the top corner of the net.

The Spartans were not finished yet and on 77 minutes, Ailton Soares picked Mbong whose diving header came off the bar but in came Franklin Sasere to fire home.

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