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BOV Division One

Desira hopes Saints can preserve form

San Ġwann cruised past Fgura United last weekend. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli


San Ġwann cemented their place within the top four of the Challenge League on Sunday as they closed off their first-round commitments with a 3-0 victory over Fgura United at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.

San Ġwann coach Jean Paul Desira sounded his enthusiasm towards the positive run of games they’ve had since their promotion from the formerly known Second Division, which now sees them solely occupying fourth place on 24 points before the start of the business end of the season.

“We’ve ended this round on 24 points and hopefully we can have another positive round like this so we can remain in the division for next season,” Desira told The Times of Malta.

Asked about how the team plans to maintain this good run, Desira admitted it’s a dilemma.

“We know that the squad can lose players unknowingly – a player can call you midweek to tell you he’s in quarantine and it could be something external – and there isn’t much you can do,” he said.

“The squad is not as deep. We’ve added two players but lost one – Dion (Fava) who moved to Senglea. Keeping our momentum is something we are concerned about because apart from congested fixtures and COVID-19, we need to take care of our players.”

On Sunday, the side fielded players with an average age of 23 and Desira explained that this is part of the club’s project.

“This project started last year, and the nucleus of players have stayed with us. We only added players where we felt we needed more experience,” he said.

“Apart from the foreigners, the only player we added is Clifford (Gauci). The rest are from last year. Surely the project will continue to be focused on our youth players – they are bearing fruit and we are paying them back.”

On Sunday, San Ġwann were facing Fgura, another youthful side, but experience was the difference maker in the first half.

In an entertaining first half, it was Uchenna Calistus just before the half-hour who opened the score for San Ġwann.

During a counter, Luca Mallia went on a run along the flank and his cross found an unmarked Calistus who only needed to tap in the ball.

Fgura suffered another setback before the break as a mid-air collision with Courage Omoruanzoje saw goalkeeper Brandon Bartolo needing treatment and eventually substitution, with Lydon Moore replacing him.

After the change of ends, San Ġwann did not waste time in finding their second goal, this time from the spot.

A volley from Calistus destined for goal was blocked by Joshua Barbara but the latter was adjudged to have handled the ball during his attempt. Gauci made no mistake to send Moore the other way from the spot.

Fgura responded with a swift run from Gilbert Martin from a throughball by newly introduced Saturday Nanapere, but San Ġwann shotstopper Cain Formosa was on hand to win that battle off his line.

San Ġwann got their deserved third goal 15 minutes from time.

After a cross into the crowded area, captain Christian Gauci was found free to head the ball down towards the bottom corner, away from Moore’s reach.

The Saints had the opportunity to make it four towards the end of the match but Calistus fired well over after he had chased a long ball from the defence.

SAN ĠWANN: C. Formosa, L. Mallia (76 D. Mifsud), Christian Gauci, P. Kanzurov (76 N. Sultana), S. Kuyper, Z. Bowman (88 K. Grech), C. Omoruanzoje (85 J. Grech), Clifford Gauci, U. Calistus, G. Pace, A. Falzon (88 I. Colombo).
FGURA UNITED: B. Bartolo (37 L. Moore), J. Stensen, J. Barbara, S. Abela (80 R. Gove), JP. Attard, T. Grech, M. Gilbert, J. Vella, J. Cassar (57 S. Nanapere), S. Hili (80 M. Vella), N. Ojuola.
Referee: Emanuel Grech.
Scorers: Calistus 25; Clifford Gauci 56 pen.; Christian Gauci 75.
Best Player: Uchenna Calistus (San Ġwann).


M. Bartolo, M. Caruana, J. Briffa, L. Bonett, D. Caruana, L. Agius (85 A. Gili), R. Tanti (46 B. Gomes), A. Hili, C. Ekeh (73 G. Carabott), J. Grech, K. Abela.
PIETÀ HOTSPURS: M. Chetcuti, L. Cassar Jackson, M. Portelli (87 G. Borg Cardona), N. Pace Cocks, J. Ghio, L. Scicluna (85 B. Borg), D. Segura, S. Mizzi, Z. Leonardi, J. Scicluna (73 J. Scerri), L. Galea.
Referee: Shaun Calleja
Scorers: Leonardi 22; Segura 39; L. Scicluna 45; Scerri 89.


VITTORIOSA STARS: R. Marmara, C. Spiteri, I. Abela, G. Sultana (87 J. Pace), Q. Bregman, A. Cilia Mumford, A. Galea, R. Dalli (68 A. Sultana), A. Oularbi, R. Farias, D. Borg Castaldi (68 L. Gauci).
QORMI: J. Vella, O. Sidibe, A. Ayoub, L. Farrugia, N. Meli (70 M. Busuttil), M. Busuttil (46 R. Caruana), J. Mizzi, I. Mizzi, N. Gauci, A. Oliviera, I. Zammit.
Referee: Slawomir Olucha
Scorer: Farias 79 pen.
Red card: Zammit (Qormi) 78.


ST ANDREWS: D. Formosa, M. Muscat, I. Azzopardi, L. Grech, M. Bartolo, A. Borg Olivier (86 N. Bradshaw), J. Sixsmith (69 Z. Muscat), W. Camilleri, G. Stefansson (78 M. Vella Vidal), L. Borg, D. Jackson.
MQABBA: M. Buhagiar, O. Khatib (37 F. Zammit), N. Falzon, G. Mannino, J. Azzopardi, R. Spiteri, D. Micallef (66 C. Cutajar), B. Sciberras (86 B. Azzopardi), G. Micallef, G. Cesani, G. Azzopardi (66 G. Bugeja).
Referee: Etienne Mangion
Scorers: Azzopardi 3; Borg Olivier 19; Stefansson 22, 77.
Red card: Borg (S) 57.


ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS: M. Grech, J. Micallef, T. Bartolo, M. Del Negro (46 A. Mizzi), J. Silveria (87 K. Vella), C. Gauci, R. Vella (15 J. Carbone, 46 K. Tanti), K. Bondin, K. Atkinson (46 L. Mijic), S. Miloskovic, G. Gesualdi.
MARSAXLOKK: F. Tabone, C. Degabriele, J. Morales, N. Ghio, D. Cartella (72 JP. Mifsud Triganza) J. Spiteri, B. Sciberras (72 I. Paz), C. Brincat, P. Xuereb, R. Fenech (72 R. Sammut), R. Winchester.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Scorers: Degabriele (M) 41; Gauci (Z) 52; Mijic (Z) 63; Triganza (M) 89.


MARSA: N. Vella, P. Chircop, J. Bondin (60 M. Busuttil), M. Micallef (74 J. Galea), J. Lima, C. Gatt Baldacchino (82 M. Galea), P. Teixeira (60 R. Coelho), L. Grech (82 D. Mifsud), F. Gusman, P. Santos, D. Agius.
QRENDI: C. Abela, J. Busuttil, D. Zarb, B. Muscat, A. Nilsson, D. Sammut, A. Agius, S. Perdomo, L. Schembri, M. Gatt (78 N. Pabon), C. Camilleri.
Referee: Slawomir Olucha
Scorers: Teixeira (M) 4; Santos (M) 26; Nilsson (Q) 40; Gusman (M) 51; Bondin (M) 56.


PIETÀ HOTSPURS: J. Chircop St John, J. Cassar, M. Portelli, N. Pace Cocks, J. Ghio, L. Scicluna (71 B. Borg), D. Segura, S. Mizzi, Z. Leonardi, J. Scicluna (73 J. Scerri), L. Galea.
NAXXAR LIONS: O. Borg, A. Azzopardi, M. Fenech, M. Mifsud, E. Farias, W. Zamble (59 J. Tenorio), A. Azzopardi (78 J. Sciberras), R. Cassar, F. Zuniga, S. Meilak, B. Schembri (59 N. Borg).
Referee: Daniel Portelli.
Scorers: Segura 10, 86.


QORMI: J. Vella, O. Sidibe, M. Busuttil (86 S. Magri), A. Ayoub, L. Farrugia, L. Theuma (57 N. Meli), M. Busuttil, J. Mizzi, I. Mizzi, N. Gauci, A. Oliveira.
ST GEORGE’S: J. Azzopardi, M. Caruana, D. Caruana, B. Gomes dos Reis, L.J. Agius, A. Gili, R. Tanti, O. Magro, K. Ekeh (35 L. Bonett), J. Grech (87 G. Carabott), K. Abela (77 C. Agius).
Scorers: Busuttil (Q) 41; Tanti (SG) 90.
Red card: Bonett (SG) 90.


SWIEQI UNITED: J.C. Debattista, M. Attard, J. Micallef, J. Willy (66 T. Ayorinde), I. Salis, A. Schembri Wismayer, M. Vella, C. Cutajar, F. Temile, J. Azzopardi (76 L. Zammit), D. Borg (53 I. Micallef).
VITTORIOSA STARS: R. Marmara, C. Spiteri, I. Abela, G. Sultana, J. Farrugia, A. Cilia Mumford, A. Galea (20 J. Pace) (78 Q. Bregman), R. Dalli, A. Oularbi, S. Rojas, Denilson Borg Castaldi (85 L. Gauci).
Scorers: Salis (S) 24; Dalli (V) 42 pen, 47 pen.; Ayorinde (S) 83.
Red card: Sultana (V) 69.


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