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First-half goals see Birkirkara through to FA Trophy quarter-finals

Birkirkara midfielder Yannik Yankam controls the ball ahead of Johnny Camilleri. Photo: Anthony Cassar

GĦAJNSIELEM   1

Nedeljkovic 53

BIRKIRKARA 4

Zammit 27; Pepe 36

Mbong 40; Caio 87

Għajnsielem

A. Parnis, K. Borg (85 K. Mercieca), Al. Xuereb, A. Agyeman, K. Farrugia, J. Alboreda Valencia, J.G. Vella (82 D. Bogdanovic), K. Grima (54 J. Camilleri), R. Buttigieg (85 M. Bezzina), S. Martine Turizo, I. Nedeljkovic.

Birkirkara

S. Guarnone, E. Pepe, Y. Yankam, L.  Montebello, P. Mbong, K. Zammit (83 I. Ntow), F. Verde (46 R. Alidor), C. Attard, C. Bonanni, C. Prado, O. Carniello,

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards: Zammit, Nedeljkovic, Vella, Yankam.

Missed penalty: Caio (B) 9.

Three goals inside the first 40 minutes put Birkirkara on their way to a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy at the expense of Għajnsielem at the Gozo Stadium.

The Stripes certainly underlined their status as one of the favourites to win the Cup competition with an efficient display in the first half and then easily administered their advantage after the interval to sail through.

Birkirkara made three changes from the team that beat Floriana in the Premier League last weekend as Kurt Zammit, Claudio Bonanni and Oscar Carniello were back in the starting formation at the expense of the injured Federico Falcone, Reginald Alidor and Isaac Ntow. 

The Gozitan side struggled during the first half to keep up with the pace imposed by Birkirkara but managed to fight back after the break when the visitors were mainly concerned to defend their advantage.

Birkirkara came out very aggressive and went close early on through efforts by Cain Attard and Luke Montebello. 

After nine minutes, Birkirkara were awarded a penalty when Kevin Farrugia fouled Caio inside the area but from the spot the Brazilian saw his shot saved by Għajnsielem goalkeeper Andre Parnis.

Birkirkara kept pushing and they finally found the breakthrough on 27 minutes. Caio delivered a cross from a corner and in came Kurt Zammit who fired home.

Ghajnsielem continued to suffer Birkirkara’s play and conceded two more goals before the break. 

Enrico Pepe doubled the score on 36 minutes with a fine header from a corner action and Paul Mbong made it 3-0 four minutes later with a low shot following a counter break.

The visitors seemed to take the foot off the pedal after the break, and Għajnsielem managed to pull a goal back on 53 minutes. Igor Nedeljkovic connected to Alberto Xuereb’s cross to head home.

Here, Għajnsielem continued to push forward for a second goal but midway through the second half they almost conceded a fourth goal as Luke Montebello’s shot just missed the target. 

The Blacks’ best opportunity to re-open the issue arrived on 77 minutes when Jhon Arboleda Valencia entered the area but concluded badly. 

Birkirkara sealed the win with a fourth goal three minutes from time when a strike by Montebello was partially saved by Parnis and from the rebound Caio Prado placed into an open goal.

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