SLIEMA WANDERERS 0
ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 2
El Bakhtaoui 51; Sasere 71
D. Cassar-6, J. Morales-5.5, G. Aquilina-5.5, G. Inters-5 (64 C. Flores), M. Fernandes-5.5 (84 J. Mintoff), J. Engerer-5.5 (64 M. Scerri), Y. Uchida-5.5, J. Farrugia-5 (70 O. Elouni), M. Beerman-5.5, J. Bliek-5.5, D. Vukovic-5.5.
H. Bonello-6, M. Guillaumier-6.5, J. Mbong-6, S. Lagzir-6 (63 F. Sasere), A. Oyama-6 (88 D. Borg), L. Gambin-6 (78 P. Djordjevic), K. Micallef-6, I. Ntow-6 (63 C. Mercieca), C. Dielna-6, E. Marcelina-6, F. El Bakhtaoui-6.5 (88 S. Attard).
Referee: Darryl Agius.
Yellow cards: El Bakthaoui, M. Guillaumier, J. Bliek
BOV Player of the Match: Matthew Guillaumier (Ħamrun Spartans).
Ħamrun Spartans registered a second successive win as two goals in the second half handed them a 2-0 win over Sliema Wanderers.
The win lifted the Spartans to just two points behind second-placed Valletta. Sliema, on the other hand, remain anchored at the bottom of the table.
Sliema coach Andrea Pisanu named Jean Paul Farrugia and Joao Miguel Fernandes in the starting line-up in the absence of Edmond Agius and Valmir Berisha who were both serving a one-match ban.
The Spartans, on the other hand, had one change from the team which defeated Santa Lucia as the returning Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who had his three-match ban reduced to one following an appeal, replaced the suspended Darko Gojkovic.
El Bakhtaoui, along with Matthew Guillaumier, were in excellent form for Ħamrun.
Shots at goal were few and far in between during the first half as although Ħamrun held the initiative, the Wanderers controlled their opponents well.
El Bakhtaoui threatened the Sliema rearguard with a long-ranged shot which scraped past the post on nine minutes and on 28 minutes, the French striker had a shot from the edge of the area which was parried by goalkeeper David Cassar.
Sliema replied with a Jake Engerer attempt ending wide when served by Fernandes on the left eight minutes from the end of the first half.
Five minutes in the second half, El Bakhtaoui was unlucky to hit the upright, direct from a corner from the left, as Mark Buttigieg’s side started to push harder to break the deadlock.
One minute later, the Spartans took the lead. An El Bakhtaoui effort from inside the area was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, Matthew Guillaimier slammed the ball home in the top right corner.
Ħamrun were now clearly in command and substitute Franklin Sasere, who had just replaced Soufiane Lagzir, had a powerful drive which was blocked by Cassar and Guillaumier’s cross-shot was neutralised by the Sliema goalkeeper.
Franklin Sasere, however, was not to be denied on 71 minutes. The Nigerian forward received the ball in midfield and sped past a defender before hitting low past goalkeeper Cassar from just inside the area.