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First-half goals see Spartak oust Mosta

Twardzik 16 Yusuf 34


Takac; Curma, Kosa, Twardzik, Mikovic (46 D. Trajkovski), Prochazka, Savvidis, Bukata (60 Gric), Cabral (74 Ivan), Vlasko (88 Yao), Yusuf.

C. Mafoumbi; C. Failla, D. Debono (46 Z. Brincat), R. Morisco, T. Farrugia (84 R. Romau), J. Ekani, C. Ememe, L. Riascos (84 G. Sciberras), N. Doric, J. Nsumoh, M. Mifsud (66 W. Donkin).

Referee N. Kajtazovic (Slovenia FA).

Yellow cards Bukata, Nsumoh, Ememe, Ekani, Twardzik, Yao.

Mosta’s first appearance in European football came to an end after their 4-3 defeat on aggregate at the hands of Slovakian giants Spartak Trnava.

The Maltese side headed into this game with a 3-2 lead after their historic win at the Centenary Stadium, last week.

However, the Blues failed to preserve their advantage as two first-half goals from Spartak Trnava were enough for the Slovakians to book their place into a second-round meeting with Sepsi OSK, of Romania.

Spartak Trnava were looking to cancel their one goal deficit and restore parity in the tie but it was Mosta who enjoyed a better start, registering also a corner-kick in the early stages of the game.

However, as expected, the Slovak side started to dictate proceedings and had their first chance of the game after nine minutes through Savvidis’ header which Christoffer Mafoumbi blocked with ease.

Trnava started to inch their way up the field, boosted by the presence of 1,000 supporters which could attend this European tie.

Moments later, Prochazka tried his luck from inside the area just to see his effort sail over the bar.

The Mosta goalkeeper came to his side’s rescue with a close-range block on Cabral before Spartak managed to level terms on aggregate.

On 16 minutes, defender Twardzik let fly a long-range shot which Mafoumbi misjudged as the ball rolled into the net.

Spartak were galvanised and missed two chances in quick succession immediately after the goal as they were looking to profit from Mosta’s moment of lapse to take the lead for the first time in this tie against the Maltese representatives.

Despite Spartak’s domination, Mosta tried to reply through a Christ Ememe shot but failed to hit the target.

Spartak came close to double the score through Prochazka who hit the crossbar from a free-kick before the Mosta backline cleared the danger into corner.

Nonetheless, the hosts still managed to turn the aggregate to their favour when Cabral’s cross from the right-hand side was met by Yusuf who slotted into an empty net for 2-0.

At the restart, Mosta coach Joseph Grech omitted defender Dejan Debono for offensive player Zach Brincat as the Maltese side switched from their initial 5-3-2 to a 4-4-2 shape.

Brincat had a glorious chance to pull one back for Mosta when he met Jonas Ekani cross but could not direct his header into the net.

Spartak enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but they could not extend their lead whereas Mosta, on the other side, had an effort on goal through Johnson Nsumoh but was denied by Spartak’s custodian.

At the other end of the field, Prochazka forced Mafoumbi into action as the Mosta goalkeeper prevented Spartak from scoring a third with a comfortable save.

Ten minutes from time, Brincat squandered another important chance for Mosta when he missed the target from close-range.

In the closing stages, Yusuf could have wrapped up the game for Spartak when he darted into the box before firing wide from a tight angle.

Photo: Stephen Gatt.

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