ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 2
Ntow 20’, Sasere 28’
FLORIANA: G. Kitanov-6, A. Magri Overend-6 (65 A. Garzia), C. Rutjens-5.5, Z. Cassar-5.5, A. Caseres-6.5 (65 E. Rebenja), K. Keqi-6, U. Arias-6 (71 B. Paiber), M. Garcia-6.5, E. Callegari-5.5, J. Busuttil-5.5 (65 A. Ciolacu), R. Camenzuli-6.5 (80 D. Agius).
ĦAMRUN SPARTANS: H. Bonello-6, D. Gojkovic-5.5, J. Mbong-5.5, S. Lagzir-6 (67 F. El Bakhtaoui), A. Soares-6, A. Oyama-6, F. Sasere-6.5, L. Gambin-6.5, K. Micallef-6, I. Ntow-6, E. Marcelina-6.
Referee: Darryl Agius
Yellow Cards: Caseres, Callegari, Sasere, El Bakhtaoui
BOV Player of the Match: Franklin Sasere (Ħamrun Spartans)
Ħamrun Spartans bounced back from the narrow defeat to Balzan as they defeated Floriana 2-1 – A win that puts the Spartans on level points with the Greens, Valletta, and Balzan.
The Greens, therefore, suffered their first defeat after maintaining an unbeaten record in their first four matches.
Although Floriana held the initiative in the early stages, Ħamrun went two goals ahead. The Greens reduced the gap and tried hard to notch the equaliser but their forwards were kept under control and the Spartans took home the three points.
Ħamrun had two changes from the team which lost to Balzan as Arthur Oyama and Soufiane Lagzir replaced Claude Dielna and Predrag Djordjevic. Floriana coach Gianluca Atzori, on the other hand, named an unchanged line-up.
Floriana went close after just five minutes with an Adam Magri Overend conclusion, when served on the right by Ryan Camenzuli, but Henry Bonello neutralised his attempt. Six minutes later, Matias Garcia pounced on a short clearance by Joseph Mbong and served Augusto Caseres whose effort was turned into a corner by Bonello.
The Spartans hit back with a good run by Ailton Soares who served Franklin Sasere on the right but the latter’s angled shot was parried by Georgi Kitanov on 18 minutes.
Two minutes later, Ħamrun forged ahead. Isaac Ntow received an assist from Luke Gambin and surprised the Floriana custodian with a long-distance effort which ended in the bottom left corner.
The Spartans doubled the score on 28 minutes. Sasere was brought down inside the area by Emiliano Callegari and was therefore awarded a penalty by referee Darry Agius. From the penalty spot, Sasere duly converted.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, an overhead kick by Soares ended high and a minute later, Floriana tried their luck with a cross-shot by Magri Overend which was neutralised by Bonello.
The Spartans threatened with a Soufiane Lagzir freekick which was parried by Kitanov five minutes in the second half.
However, three minutes later, Floriana pulled one back. Camenzuli delivered a cross from the left, Darko Gojkovic failed to clear the ball into safety and Caseres slotted the ball past Bonello.
The Greens regained the initiative at this point and Atzori opted for three substitutions at one go, including Alejandro Garzia, Andrei Ciolacu, and Eugeniu Rebenja in his bid to introduce fresh legs.
However, the Spartans managed to keep their opponents under control. In contrast, twelve minutes from time, Ħamrun went close to increasing the lead with Sasere heading just over the bar from close range.