ŻEJTUN CORINTHIANS 0
Caio 57, 82
I. Kone-6.5, L. Moreira-6, K. Reid-5, J. Suda-5, T. Bonfim-5 (73 A. Carabott), C. Grech-6, H. Motta-5.5, S. Barboza Da Silva-5, V. Vieira-5, E. Herrera-5, N. Tabone-5.
A. Sylla-6, E. Pepe-6.5, Y. Yankam-7 (85 G. Farrugia),, P. Mbong-6.5, K. Zammit, F. Falcone, F. Verde C. Bonanni, Caio-7 (90 O. Sciberras), O. Carniello, A. Da Paixao-7 (77 I. Ntow).
Referee Daniel Portelli
Yellow cards Pepe, Marcelino, Carniello, Falcone, Tabone, Reid, Vieira Verde.
Missed penalty: Alves (V) 12.
BOV Player of the match Alex Alves (Birkirkara).
Birkirkara stepped up their chase of a top-four spot when they coasted past Żejtun Corinthians at the Centenary Stadium.
It was far from a straightforward victory for the Stripes who had to fend off the robust challenge of Żejtun Corinthians. However, the Stripes made the most of their superior firepower as they produced an efficient display that earned them three vital points that lifted them to fourth place in the standings on 34 points, one adrift of Gżira United and two ahead of Sliema Wanderers.
Birkirkara could not have had a better start as after 12 minutes of play they were a goal ahead. Paul Mbong was pushed just inside the area by Kemar Reid with the referee pointing to the spot. Alex Alves stepped up and saw his effort partially blocked by Ibrahim Kone, but the Brazilian was quick to react to fire home the rebound.
Żejtun responded two minutes later when Lucas Moreira connected to Vitor Vieira’s delivery from a corner-kick but his header just missed the upright.
From then on, the match turned into a scrappy affair with play continuously disrupted with foul play with the result that scoring chances were few and far between.
Five minutes from the break, Yannick Yankam should have added a second goal when the Malta midfielder was found in space by Paul Mbong but was denied by the onrushing Kone.
The last chance of the half fell to Żejtun who in stoppage time saw Sergio Barboza’s inswinger finishing just past the upright.
After the break, Żejtun tried to step up the pressure but it was Birkirkara who all but killed off the match with a second goal.
Alex Alves beat the Żejtun offside trap and sped into the area before squaring the ball to the unmarked Caio who pushed the ball into an empty net.
Kone denied Birkirkara a third goal on 73 minutes when he dived full stretch to keep out Yankam’s header.
Birkirkara did add a third goal seven minutes from time when Caio embarked on a surging run before firing the ball into the far corner of the net.
Oscar Carniello was unlucky not to put his name on the scoresheet when on 87 minutes his header hit the upright.