ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 2
Ailton Soares 75
STA LUCIA 2
Ante Rosero 45, 59
M. Bartolo-6.5, D. Gojkovic-5, M. Guillaumier-6, J. Mbong-6, J. Ailton Soares-7, F. Sasere-7, I. Adesina-5 (53 B. Cittadini-5), E. Serrano Valero-5, J. Corbalan-5.5, S. Lagzir (27 K. Micallef-6), E. Marcelina.
C. Farrugia-6, A. Prates-6.5, U. Edafe-6, K. Correia-7, A. Magri Overend-6,5, A. Da Silva Souza-7 (80 K. Xuereb), K. Ante Rosero-7.5, V.L. Filho-6, M. Camilleri-6 (69 T. Tabone Desira), A. Caseres-6.
Referee Emanuel Grech.
Yellow cards Marcelina, Gojkovic, Caseres, Bartolo.
Red card: Marcelina (Ħ) 90.
BOV Player of the match Kevin Ante Rosero (Sta Lucia).
Ten-man Ħamrun Spartans rescued a point at the death as Franklin Sasere grabbed a dramatic equaliser to earn his team a point against Sta Lucia.
It looked as though Sta Lucia were set to upset the Premier League leaders when two fine individual strikes by man-of-the-match Kevin Ante Rosero handed the southerners a two-goal lead.
But the Spartans showed great resilience and after Jorge Ailton Soares pulled them back into the match they managed to claw a point from the match at the death despite having Emerson Marcelina dismissed.
The final stalemate sees the Spartans restore their two-point lead over Hibernians while Sta Lucia remain seventh on 27 points.
Sta Lucia started very well and inside two minutes they should have taken the lead. Kevin Ante Rosero sped clear on the right and pulled the ball back towards the springintAlan Da Silva Souza but the Brazilian’s shot straight was pushed away by Manuel Bartolo.
At the other end, Soufiane Lagzir picked Jorge Ailton Soares in space but the Cape Verde striker was blocked by Adam Magri Overend as he was about to shoot.
Ħamrun bossed the proceedings but for all their possession they were struggling to create open chances as their final pass left much to be desired.
On 26 minutes, teh Spartans were unlucky when Ailton Soares unleashed a powerful volley that came off the bar.
Seven minutes later, Sasere connected to Karl Micallef’s cross but headed straight into the hands of Cassar.
Sta Lucia came close on 27 minutes when Kevin Correa connected to Da Silva Souza’s corner but was denied by a fine save from Bartolo.
When it looked as though both teams were heading for the break level, Sta Lucia stunned teh Spartans with an opener.
A miscued Marcelina pass was intercepted by Da Silva Souza who played in Ante Rosero and the Colombian slotted the ball past Bartolo.
As expected, the Spartans stepped up the pressure after the break and they thought they draw level when Joseph Mbong chipped the ball over Cassar, but the match officially controversially annulled the goal for an offside position of the Reds winger when TV replays showed he was onside.
Instead, it was Sta Lucia who struck again when in a quick raid Ante Rosero burst clear and fired the ball past Bartolo.
The match kept the same pattern with the Spartans dominating possession but they were struggling to breach the solid Saints defence.
The Reds were desperate from a moment of brilliance to get back into the match and that arrived on 76 minutes when Ailton Soares unleashed a powerful drive that flew past Cassar.
Ħamrun’s hopes were dealt a blow when Marcelina was dismissed for a second yellow card. Coach Buttigieg protested vehemently as he was too dismissed by the referee.
But deep in stoppage time, the Spartans grabbed a point when Sasere met Ailton Soares to head the ball into the net.