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Players are enjoying themselves on pitch – Swieqi coach

Fgura United captain Gilbert Martin attempts to head the ball towards the Swieqi United goal. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli


Swieqi United confirmed their top three spot in the BOV Challenge League until the end of the year, with a 3-1 win over Fgura United at the Centenary Stadium.

This win puts Swieqi on 23 points, only behind to Pembroke Athleta and Marsa, and are unbeaten in the last four games.

Swieqi coach Rodney Bugeja says his players look happy on the pitch and it is one of the reasons his team is where it is.

“To be honest, we knew when the league ended in March what was going to happen, and we had to start working immediately. We began analysing which players were going to stay with us,” Bugeja told the Times of Malta.

“Basically, we kept everyone except two, who left us for other clubs, and we promoted a few minors as well. Then we got Frank Temile who has given us a huge boost, not only on the pitch but with the experience he boasts.

“With that said, we’re taking things game by game. The players are having fun playing their matches and we’re giving our 100%. We’re high up in the standings, so we hope to keep this up and see what happens.”

The win over Fgura could be considered a comeback because it was Kevin Vella’s side which went ahead on the half-hour and Bugeja shouldered the blame for the defensive issues. However, he said the second half was another story.

“In the first half, we were late in many of our challenges,” Bugeja admitted.

“I must admit it was partly my fault because I had decided to change some things around, and the change did not really work. But luckily, we scored just before half time.

“We were lucky to a certain extent, but the second half was ours. (Fgura) pressed a bit in the final 10 minutes but I think we controlled the game.”

Fgura’s opening goal came against the run of play as Swieqi had the first two opportunities of the game before Fgura won a free-kick on the half-hour and Gilbert Martin was on hand to fire in after goalkeeper Jean Claude Debattista had parried away the initial shot.

Despite the lead, it was still Swieqi who persisted and they got their reward from a free-kick of their own in the final action of the first half. It was Mirco Vella who fired in a low free-kick into the area and confusion in front of Fgura goalkeeper Brandon

Bartolo had the better of him as the ball bounced under his
attempted stop.

After the break, Swieqi continued with their dangerous attacks and Ibrahim Salis showed off his offensive prowess as he got the lead for his side after just six minutes with a fantastic shot from way outside the area.

Salis then got another less than 10 minutes later. Captain Alan Schembri Wismayer set on a run on the flank, beat his marker and let fly a low cross into the area and the Nigerian got himself unmarked and tapped in the easy goal to put the game out of Fgura’s reach.

The forward nearly got his hat-trick on 70 minutes when a controversial call for a freekick saw the resultant shot hit the upright but Salis’s bicycle kick attempt on the rebound was not successful.

SWIEQI UNITED: J.C Debattisa, M. Attard, J. Azzopardi, T. Bonello (45 C. Cutajar), M. Ivanovic, J. Magri Overend, J. Micallef (89 L. Zammit), I. Salis, M. Vella, J. Willy, A. Schembri Wismayer.
FGURA UNITED: B. Bartolo, S. Abela (69 C. Ciantar), JP. Attard, J. Barbara (69 G. Galea), C. Gandini, T. Grech, S. Hili, G. Martin, N. Ojuola, J. Stensen, J. Vella.
Referee: Alex Johnson.
Best Player: Ibrahim Salis (Swieqi United).



MARSA: N. Vella, P. Chircop 90 (M. Busuttil); J. Bondin, A. Monticelli, M. Micallef, J. Lima (68 R. Coelho), D. Grima, P. Teixeira (79 P. Santos), L. Grech, F. Gusman, L. Micallef (68 S. Diacono, 90 I. Zammit).
MQABBA: J. Grech, N. Falzon, G. Mannino, J. Castano, K. Cutajar (41 R. Cauchi), R. Spiteri, D. Micallef (77 O. Khatib), G. Cesani (86 C. Cutajar), B. Sciberras, G. Bugeja (41 J. Azzopardi), G. Micallef.
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Scorer: Teixeira 32.
Red cards: Grech (MR) 19; Falzon (MQ) 72.


PEMBROKE ATHLETA: P. Schranz, K. Farrugia, D. Sant, K. Frendo, J. Ogunuppe (63 P. Santos), M. Zarb (63 K. Aquilina), A. Temitope (80 A. Marshall), T. Fenech, N. Grech (20 K. Sciberras Balbi), M. Borg, J. Etim (80 L. Chiedozie).
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS: M. Grech, K. Vella (46 L. Mijic), S. Bugeja, J. Micallef, T. Bartolo, J. Silveira, C. Gauci, G. Azzopardi (75 R. Vella), K. Bondin (64 J. Carbone), S. Miloskovic, G. Gesualdi.
Referee: Daniel Casha
Scorers: Temitope (P) 23; Frendo (P) 25; Micallef (Ż) 47 Santos (P) 74; Aquilina (P) 93.


NAXXAR LIONS: O. Borg, A. Azzopardi, M. Fenech, M. Mifsud (75 J. Sciberras), E. Farias, A. Azzopardi, R. Cassar, F. Zuniga, S. Meilak, N. Borg (70 R. Mercieca), E. Ferreira (81 T. Battalgia).
ST GEORGE’S: M. Bartolo, M. Caruana (77 K. Abela), L. Bonett, D. Caruana, B. Gomes, L. Agius, D. Serna, R. Tanti, O. Magro, C. Kelechi, J. Briffa.
Referee: Darryl Agius
Scorers: Ferreira (N) 10, 38, 80; Farias (N) 16; Gomes (S) 62; Fenech (N) 90.


PIETA HOTSPURS: M. Chetcuti, L. Cassar Jackson, M. Portelli (34 N. Pisani), N. Pace Cocks, J. Ghio, D. Segura, C. Bouvet, C. Ze Lucas, Z. Leonardi, J. Irimiya, J. Scicluna (86 G. Borg).
VITTORIOSA STARS: R. Caruana, C. Spiteri (80 J. Pace), I. Abela (80 R. Previ), G. Sultana (60 B. Debrincat), J. Farrugia, Q. Bregman (80 L. Gauci), A. Sultana, D. Sowatey, A. Galea, A. Oularbi, D. Borg Castaldi.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri.
Scorers: Scicluna (P) 17 pen.; Oularbi (V) 33 pen.; Ze Lucas (P) 67.
Red card: Farrugia (V) 77.


QORMI: M. Falzon, O. Sidibe, L. Mallia, R. Caruana, N. Meli, M. Busuttil (46 D. Camilleri), I. Mizzi, J. Mizzi, N. Gauci, A. Oliviera, I. Zammit (89 L. Azzopardi).
QRENDI: C. Abdilla, J. Busuttil, S. Schembri, D. Zarb, D. Sammut, A. Agius, D. Bueno (83 D. Vassallo), E. Vella, S. Perdomo, D. Azzopardi (73 B. Muscat), L. Schembri.
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Scorer: Bueno 51.


SAN ĠWANN: C. Formosa, J. Bowman (90 K. Bartolo), L. Mallia (93 N. Abouaisha), C. Gauci, O. Spiteri, Z. Bowman, A. Zammit (88 P. Kanzurov), C. Omoruanzoje, C. Gauci, C. Umeh, A. Falzon.
MARSAXLOKK: F. Tabone, C. Degabriele, J. Morales, G. Barone (83 R. Sammut), D. Cartella (81 I. Paz), P. Doffo, JP. Mifsud Triganza, B. Sciberras, C. Brincat, P. Xuereb, R. Fenech.
Referee: Ezekiel Barbara
Red card: Degabriele (M) 76.


PEMBROKE ATHLETA: P. Schranz, K. Farrugia, D. Sant, K. Frendo, P. Santos (68 A. Marshall), A. Temitope (L. Chiedozie), T. Fenech, J. Bajada, J. Etim (46 J. Ogunuppe), M. Zarb (73 M. Brincat), M. Borg.
MARSA: N. Vella, P. Chircop, J. Bondin, I. Zammit (62 M. Busuttil), A. Monticelli (62 P. Teixeira), M. Micallef, J. Lima, D. Grima (87 K. Zammit), F. Gusman, L. Micallef (62 S. Diacono), R. Coehlo (62 P. Santos).
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Scorers: Temitope (P) 56; Bondin (M) 75


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