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Women’s title hopefuls Swieqi held by Raiders Lija

Raiders Lija caused the major upset of Matchday 5 of the MFA Women’s League when they held title hopefuls Swieqi United to a 0-0 draw. Meanwhile, leaders Birkirkara bounced back to winning ways after securing a large victory over Mtarfa to cement their leadership in the league. 

Prior to the Raiders Lija encounter, Swieqi had won their previous three league games as they were on nine points, just one behind joint-leaders Birkirkara and Mġarr. A win would have kept them within touching distance of the Stripes as Mġarr were serving a bye.

However, their slip against Raiders has now put them three points behind Birkirkara, even though Swieqi have a game in hand. A game which they will play next week against fellow title challengers Mġarr, with whom they share second place on 10 points. 

Against Raiders, Swieqi coach Nenad Tomic kept faith with majority of the players that had earned the Oranges nine points so far. On the other hand, Denis Guerra – coach of Raiders and who is assisted by former Premier League player Antonio Monticelli – also deployed his strongest starting formation, with goalkeeper Justyne Caruana given the nod between the sticks. 

Despite Swieqi’s offensive prowess, their attacks were kept at bay as they failed to score for the first time this season after registering 24 goals in the opening three league fixtures. Raiders, on their part, recorded their second clean sheet of the season as they remain with an equal record of five goals scored and five conceded.

Birkirkara did not break sweat as they inflicted a 13-0 defeat to Mtarfa, who last week recorded their first point of the season. Ruth Steer Chetham and Raina Giusti scored a hat-trick each for a total of five different hat-tricks in this 2021/2022’s campaign so far. Captain Stephania Farrugia scored twice for her 20th brace in 2021. Alishia Sultana and Valentina Rapa also found the net twice while the remaining goal was a Shania Marie Spiteri’s own goal in the second half. 

In the other game, Kirkop United registered their first victory of the season after coming from behind to defeat San Ġwann 3-1. In fact, Yulya Carella had put San Ġwann ahead as they scored their first ever goal in the women’s league at senior level.

However, the Reds levelled terms just before half-time through Sarah Urpani before Alexandra Georgieva and Rodianne Zerafa wrapped up the 3-1 win for coach Jochen Lenders’ side. 

STANDINGS (after 5 Matchdays)

Birkirkara – 13
Swieqi United – 10 (4)
Mġarr United – 10 (4)
Raiders Lija – 4 (4)
Kirkop United – 3 (4)
San Ġwann – 1 (4)
Mtarfa – 1

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