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BOV Division One

Żejtun Corinthians deserve to go up says coach Orosco Anonam

Żejtun’s Gilmore Attard (right) is challenged by Nicolai Attard. PHOTO: WALLY GALEA

Żejtun Corinthians made a case for their promotion ambitions over the weekend when they thrashed newly-promoted Rabat Ajax 4-0 on Saturday at the Centenary Stadium.

Speaking to the Times of Malta, Corinthians coach Orosco Anonam sounded his delight after his players had “done what we expected them to do”. He added that despite not having played badly in previous matches, the side had not been closing off games as they ‘were supposed to do’.

“We have a lot of ammunition to score goals,” Anonam said.

“Today, at least, we are pleased that we managed to score four goals which is what we expect from them (the players) in nearly every game.

“I don’t expect them to score four every game but I expect them to take the chances. That is football and at the end of the day, the boys are trying their best so we hope for more improvement from the team as a whole, both defensive and offensive. For today, I’m proud of them.”

Żejtun, previously one of the four teams relegated from the BOV Premier League last season, have been on top of their game as they fight to return to the top echelons of Maltese football – winning six of their 11 games played so far in Group A.

However, they face stiff competition from leaders Pembroke Athleta and second-placed Naxxar Lions, both of whom have had an incredible run so far, the latter also holding a five-point advantage over Żejtun in the standings at the moment.

Asked about how he will have to motivate his squad as clubs enter the business end of the season, Anonam explained that motivation is the least of his player’s problems as they compete with themselves on the daily.

“It’s not a problem for me to motivate the players – they (the players) know what we do everyday in training,” he explained.

“They know how competitive they are with each other so that, for me, makes it easy to manage to do it in a game.

“We are not throwing the towel, and we will fight to the end to see that we achieve what we deserve. I believe we deserve to go up and we will try as much as we can to do it.

The match against Rabat will be a convincing argument for this as Żejtun showed a gulf in class against the Ajax, who have struggled to find form in their first season back in the Challenge League. Vesko Petrovic’s clan stands at the penultimate spot of the standings on nine points after ten matches played.

There was no sign of a surprise on Saturday as Żejtun were up a goal after 16 minutes. The latter had been the only side taking shots in the first quarter of an hour and it paid dividends when former Sirens forward Samba Tounkara curled in a cross which Renan Farias headed into the net.

Gilbert Martin looked like a man on a mission on the night hitting two shots in the next four minutes as Rabat struggled to stop the oncoming crosses.

Martin got his reward on the half-hour when a long throughball from midway was met by Christian Degabriele, the latter putting in a low cross into the area and with no one around, the pacey midfielder sent it home for Żejtun’s second goal.

It took Rabat 35 minutes to get their first shot on target with Adam Smeir hitting a dipped shot which Christian Cassar stopped with difficulty.

After the break, it looked like a shift with Rabat’s Wayne Borg firing the first shot of the half and forcing a diving save from Żejtun’s shotstopper.

However, with the Corinthians having a goal annulled for offside, it began to look more of the same again, with Żejtun taking most of possession while Rabat waited to counter.

Corinthians skipper Christian Grech went close to increasing his side’s lead with a beautiful volley which went just wide, before Tounkara had another goal annulled for offside.

On 66 minutes, Żejtun added another goal when a throughball was met by Claudio Da Silva Barbosa close to the halfway line, who dashed towards goal. Rabat goalkeeper Jean Mattiase Vella attempted to hold him off but the winger dribbled past and with no one else to beat, fired from distance into the empty net.

With Rabat looking beaten, Żejtun made it four on 70 minutes after a counter-attack saw Tounkara heading the ball down from a cross, laying it off for David Xuereb to put past Vella.

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