SLIEMA WANDERERS 2
Fernandes 24, Berisha 43
GUDJA UNITED 3
Abdul 20, Dias 51, Kisil 57
T. Aquilina-4, K. Shaw-5, G. Aquilina-6, I. Gui-6, M. Fernandes-6 (80 R. Kooh Sohna), E. Agius-5 (46 S. Grech-), D. Holla-5 (65 P. Morales), M. Beerman-5 (65 Elouni), J. Bilek-4, D. Vukovic-6 (88 J. Engerer), V. Berisha-5.5
G. Zammit-6, L. Beland-Goyette-5, R. Soares-6, G. Mensah-5, R. Kisil-6, H. Vella-6, L. Cremona-5 (58 F. Pankarican), I. Dudarev-5, N. Micallef-6, T. Abdul-6.5 (58 T. Gusman), M. Dias-7.
Referee A. Sciriha.
Yellow card: Agius, Berisha, Gui, Shaw, Fernandes, Zammit.
BOV player of the match: Marcelo Dias (Gudja United).
Gudja United came on top of a topsy-turvy match when they staged a second-half comeback to overwhelm Sliema Wanderers.
Two goals in six minutes in the second half turned the game in Gudja’s favour after Sliema had been 2-1 up at halftime after outplaying their opponents.
Gudja’s coach Thane Micallef will have been happy with the victory, but he will question his team’s defence after an astonishing game.
And for Sliema, it was a bitter blow who looked on course to pick up their first three points, which would have lifted them to sixth place in the table.
Micallef’s side took the lead early in the match through Temitope Abdul. But back came Sliema and got their reward when Miguel Fernandes and Valmir Berisha turned the match upside down.
Andrea Pisanu might have thought his side had done enough to secure a first victory but 45 minutes later he would have been under no such illusion.
The Wanderers almost broke the deadlock immediately albeit in fortuitous circumstances when Gudja was about to be undone by a fluke shot by Valmir Berisha but his looping effort was blocked by Glenn Zammit.
But minutes later Gudja broke with pace and opened the scoring through Abdul. The former Pembroke striker raced clear and thumped his shot into the net.
But Sliema drew level quickly. A tame clearance by Igor Dudarev found Miguel Fernandes and he shot first time past Zammit.
The Wanderers dominated from that moment, Berisha scoring after a brilliant touch and finish as Gabriel Aquilina’s excellent cross got the finish it deserved from the Swedish striker.
Sliema coach Andrea Pisanu introduced youngster Sebastian Grech for the start of the second half.
His counterpart, Micallef must have been hoping for something special from his players to provide a breakthrough after the change of ends.
Influential winger Marcelo Dias provided it. A sweetly struck shot from the edge of the area after a solo run brought Gudja level.
Gudja’s second-half renaissance continued when Dias this time provider, delivered a sublime right-wing cross that Rusan Kisil hit it home. Yet, Gudja had Sliema goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina to thank when he let the ball slip from his grasp and under his body into the net.
On his part, the former Sliema midfielder Kisil appeared to raise his hands by means of apology to his former club and did not celebrate his goal.
Aquilina redeemed himself for that error when Gabriel Mensah had a close-range shot blocked by the Sliema goalkeeper.
Even if Sliema refused to lie down, Gudja held on for a first win of the season.