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10-man Santa Lucia hold Mosta to draw

Santa Lucija earned a late draw against Mosta. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

SANTA LUCIA 2

Plut 52, Xuereb 90

MOSTA 2

Morisco 22, Briffa 74

Santa Lucia: J. Archibald-6, A. Prates-6, J. Pisani, N. Pulis-6 (76 J. Tanti-6), G. Conti-6.5 (87 J. Carbone), P. Silva-6, V.Plut-6.5 (90 K Xuereb), Alan-6, V. Filho-6, J. Zerafa-5.5, D. Xuereb-7.

Mosta: M. Jovicic-6, R. Briffa-7, W. Donkin-5 (57 J. Nsumoh-), C. Failla-6, T. Farrugia-6, I. Doric-5.5, M. Hetemaj-5.5, R. Morisco-6, Z.Brincat-6.5, L. Igbineweka-7 (77 L. Riascos), R. Ekani-5 (79 G. Sciberras).

Referee: Alex Johnson

Yellow card: Filho, Plut, Briffa, Conti, Zerafa

Red Card: Jurgen Pisani (Santa Lucia) 72

Dexter Xuereb’s late equaliser earned Santa Lucia a draw in stormy encounter with Mosta.

The Blues looked on course for victory after they received fresh impetus when Jurgen Pisani was sent off following a clash with Tyrone Farrugia in the 52nd minute.

The dismissal gave Mario Muscat’s men renewed hope but Xuereb cheered a brave Santa Lucia side with a 90-minute leveller.

The game needed one side to take the initiative after a dour opening period and Mosta seized that advantage. They went in front after 22 minutes when Rafael Morisco got up well to get his head to a Clayton Failla corner and opened the score.

Mosta had a stranglehold of the game which Santa Lucia were trying to shake off but to a little avail.

But just seven minutes into the second half, that all changed as Santa Lucia got the equaliser with a finely crafted goal. Vito Plut got himself on the end of a through ball by Nicholas Pulis before he slotted the ball into the net after Alan da Silva Souza’s dummy fooled the Mosta backline.

Mario Muscat introduced Johnson Nsumoh in place of William Donkin, but it was Santa Lucia who took control.

Gianmarco Conti laid on a perfect opportunity for Plut with a square pass but Marko Jovicic blocked the Slovenian strike in time.

Luiz Igbineweka was running the show for Mosta and on 70 minutes he cut in from the right and forced Julani Archibald into a brilliant save, diving at full stretch to his right.

On 72 minutes, Santa Lucia were dealt an unexpected blow when they were reduced to 10 men after Jurgen Pisani was given a red card as a poor touch forced him to stretch to retrieve the ball, catching Tyrone Farrugia on the follow through.

Mosta made their numerical advantage count immediately as two minutes later, Zachary Brincat released Roderick Briffa, who had enough room to pick his sport and produced a classy finish past Jovicic.

They could even afford to substitute Igbineweka, bringing on the more defensive Luis Riascos. Still, Santa Lucia continued to pose greater threat with Vito Plut spurning further opportunities.

Jovicic got in a vital block on Plut’s point-blank header from Victor Filho’s cross. Santa Lucia threw men forward in the desperate search for an equaliser.

The Saint’s efforts were rewarded at death when they were back on level terms as substitute Jan Tanti’s corner was headed back across goal and former Mosta defender Dexter Xuereb was in the right place to add the finishing touch.

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