ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 0
GŻIRA UNITED 1
P. Sanchez, D. Gojkovic, J. Mbong, J. Soares-5 (45 A. Oyama), F. Sasere-5 (81 S. Lagzir), L. Gambin, J. Corbalan, K. Micallef, I. Ntow, E. Marcelina-5 (55 M. Guillaumier), F. El Bakhtaoui.
A. Currmi, G. Bohrer, L. Tabone, N. Muscat-6 (62 C. Gauci), S. Pisani-5.5 (79 Z. Scerri), Y. Messias, M. Davis, N. Portelli, T. Espindola, Jefferson, J. Mendoza.
Referee Slobodan Petrovic.
Yellow cards Gojkovic, Mendoza.
Gżira United gave a real major statement of intent when they edged past Ħamrun Spartans to continue their recent revival in the BOV Premier League.
It was a gritty display from the Maroons who after holding the edge for much of the first half they were put under the cosh by the Spartans but managed to withstand their opponents pressure. Then they finally applied the killer blow with seven minutes to go through Yuri Messias to clinch a vital victory that lifted them to third place in the standings on nine points and stretch their unbeaten run to three matches.
Ħamrun coach Mark Buttigieg handed a start to Pablo Sanchez at the expense of the injured Henry Bonello while Juan Corbalan replaced Claude Dielna.
Gżira, on the other hand, brought on Luke Tabone to fill the void left by the injured Steve Borg.
Gżira came close to take the lead after two minutes of play when Nikolai Muscat picked up a short clearance and he saw his thumping drive coming off the bar.
Ħamrun were looking increasingly sluggish in these opening stages as they looked disjointed throughout with the Maroons pace causing a lot of problems.
Gżira had a great chance to forge ahead when they set off on a quick transition with Martin Davis putting Yuri Messias in space but the Brazilian incredibly fired over with only Pablo Sanchez to beat.
Scoring chances remained few and far between with Gżira holding the edge and the Spartans struggling to create any serious chances.
Ħamrun’s hopes suffered a blow two minutes from the break when Jorge Ailton Soares picked up an ankle injury and was replaced by Arthur Oyama.
Floriana showed signs of improvement after the break and on 51 minutes Ntow was denied by a one-handed save from Anthony Curmi.
On 55 minutes, Matthew Guillaumier made his first appearance of the season for the Spartans when he returned from injury to replace Marcelina.
On 64 minutes, Anthony Curmi did well to tip over Karl Micallef’s dipping header following a Luke Gambin corner kick.
Eight minutes later, the Gżira no.1 against distinguished himself when he dived full stretch to push away Oyama’s curling shot from a free-kick.
Ħamrun should have scored on 77 minutes when Mbong headed the ball into the path of El Bakhtaoui who sped clear and chipped the ball over Curmi but Espindola sprinted back to clear the ball away.
However, it was Gżira United who struck the winner six minutes from time when from an Espindola free-kick the ball fell to Messias at the far post and the Brazilian nodded home from close in.