SANTA LUCIA 0
SLIEMA WANDERERS 1
M. Montfort-6, T. Tabone Desira-5, A. Prates-6.5, K. Correia-6.5, A. Magri Overand-5.5 (62 M. Camilleri), Alan da Silva Souza-5.5, K. Ante Rosero-6, V. Filho-7, J. Zerafa-6, A. Caseres-5, R. Tachikawa-6.
J. Galea-7, A. Satarino-6.5, K. Shaw-5.5, A. Milesi-5.5, J. Mintoff-, Gilmar-6, J. Cisotti-5, E. Agius-6, G. Aquilina-5 (82 M. Sansone ), JP. Farrugia (23 M. Beerman-6), D. Vukovic-5.5
Referee: Matthew Degabriele.
Yellow cards: Shaw, Tachikawa, Agius, Vukovic, Satariano, Zerafa, Prates, Filho.
Red card: Mintoff (S) 79.
BOV player of the match: Victor Luiz Filho (Santa Lucia).
Sliema put their off-field turmoil to one side to see off Santa Lucia and end their three-game losing streak.
It was just reward for Sliema on the back of a spirited and ambitious approach that belied their stricken position off the field.
For Santa Lucia, however it was a devastating defeat which ended their unbeaten run of seven matches. Yet judging by this display on the pitch, the Saints were quite unlucky to leave the Centenary Stadium empty-handed.
It is clear the Sliema players – who have regularly had to wait for their wages – will continue to fight as hard as possible.
And that is despite three changes from the loss against Sirens after Oscar Linton Bethancourt rescinded his contract with the Blues, Myles Beerman was relegated to the subs’ bench and Ruslan Kiril suspended.
Gilmar may have played his last match for Sliema as he is widely tipped to join either Hibernians or Valletta.
Miguel Montfort, formerly of Sirens, guarded the Santa Lucia posts for the first time.
Oliver Spiteri effected two other changes from his side’s 2-2 draw with Ħamrun while Timothy Tabone Desira came in for Michael Camilleri who was among the substitutes.
After overcoming the initial nervy 15 minutes, Sliema started to push forward. Jean Paul Farrugia was fed clear on goal by Gilmar but the striker was denied by a superb intercepting tackle from André Rodrigues Prates.
That proved to be his last contribution as Farrugia left the field moments later after picking up an injury. He was replaced by Beerman. Alex Satariano was moved from the wing to inside forward as Beerman replaced him on the left flank.
Santa Lucia’s main threat came from the lively Victor Filho who pegged back Sliema with his speed. Just before half-time, the Brazilian’s overlap on the left unsettled Sliema as the crafty defender advanced all the way to the by-line from where he directed a dangerous cross towards the centre of the box. Jamie Zerafa unleashed a powerful volley which finished just wide off the post.
Santa Lucia started the second half as they finished the first, with Sliema looking rattled by some uncompromising tackles. Filho then hit the top of the crossbar direct from a corner five minutes after the break.
Jake Galea, then reacted smartly to push away a shot by Kevin Ante Rosero as the Saints continued to dominate.
On 65 minutes, Filho seized possession near the Santa Lucia box and launched a spectacular long-range pass for Alan. The Brazilian came face-to-face with Galea only for the Sliema goalkeeper to paw away his effort.
John Mintoff’s dismissal on 79 minutes, complicated matters for Sliema. But there was to be no denying the Wanderers victory, though, as Gilmar chipped a ball into the area from free-kick. Tachikawa’s clearance rebounded off Satariano who did well to control the ball and hit a low drive into the bottom corner.