Doumbia opens account with late goal
ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 3
Ailton Soares 44, 77
GUDJA UNITED 1
M. Bartolo-6, D. Gojkovic-6.5 (82 D. Borg), M. Guillaumier-7 (82 I. Adeshina), J. Mbong-7 (86 X. Portelli), J. Ailton Soares-8, F. Sasere-6, E. Serrano Valero-6, J. Corbalan-6.5 (85 C. Galea), P. Djordjevic-6, K. Micallef-6, E. Marcelina-5.4 (77 S. Doumbia).
G. Zammit-6.5, A. Friggieri-5, F. Pankarican-5, I. Gonzalez-5, N. Micallef-6, E. Da Silva-5 (77 J. Brincat), H. Vella-5 (46 G. Mensah-6.5), T. Veronese, J. Bolanos-6, J. Grioli-5 (66 T. Vella), P. Mota-5.
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri.
Yellow cards: Grioli, Gojkovic, Marcelina, Guillaumier.
Red card: Veronese (G) 68.
BOV Player of the match Jorge Ailton Soares (Ħamrun Spartans)
Ħamrun Spartans preserved their two-point lead at the top of the standings when they overcame the challenge of Gudja United.
The Spartans fully deserved their victory as they dominated their opponents for long stretches and once Jorge Ailton Soares, aka Dodo, put them ahead there was no way for Gudja who had Thomas Veronese dismissed midway through the second half.
Late goals from Dodo and substitute Seydou Doumbia sealed the points as the Reds preserved their leadership in the standings.
Ħamrun Spartans bossed proceedings right from the outset.
On 13 minutes, Gudja goalkeeper Glenn Zammit was almost punished for poor positioning but he recovered in time to push away Matthew Guillaumier’s inswinger.
The Reds came even closer six minutes later when Emerson Marcelina’s shot was controlled by Franklin Sasere who saw his shot pushed away by Zammit. Elkin Serrano Valero was first to react but his effort was cleared off the line by Neil Micallef.
Despite their superior possession, the Spartans were struggling to create any chances.
In fact they had to wait till 31 minutes to come close when Serrano Valero’s header was tipped over the bar by Zammit.
Joseph Mbong should have put Ħamrun ahead five minutes from the break when Guillaumier found the Reds winger who dived full stretch but headed just wide from close in.
Gudja’s first chance came on 44 minutes but Elton fired wide afterbeing set up by Justin Grioli.
But it was the Spartans who struck on the stroke of half-time when Corbalan dashed inside the area and pulled the ball back towards Dodo who rifled his shot into the top corner.
The match remained one-way traffic with Ħamrun denied a second goal by a fantastic one-hand save from Zammit on Predrag Djordjevic’s inswinger.
Gudja’s task became tougher on 68 minutes when referee Malcolm Spiteri showed a straight red card on Tommy Veronese for a high challenge on Djordjevic.
Ħamrun Spartans sealed the points 13 minutes from time when Mbong found Dodo at the far post and the Cape Verde forward stabbed home.
Doumbia was brought on for the final 20 minutes of the match and the former Roma striker managed to open his account when did well to turn past two Gudja players to slot the ball past Zammit.
Gudja pulled a goal back a minute from time when Mensah sped into the area and beat Bartolo with an angled shot.