GŻIRA UNITED 4
Jefferson 52, 54, 59
ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 1
D. Zarkov-7; G. Bohrer-7, M. Cosic-6, L. Tabone-6, N. Muscat-7, S. Pisani-7 (84 C. Gauci), Z. Scerri-7, A. Pavic-6, Maxuell-7.5 (90 J. Attard), Jefferson-8 (90 M. Gauci), J. Mendoza-7.
H. Bonello-5; D. Gojkovic-4, J. Mbong-6, Dodo-6, A. Oyama-5, S. Borg-5, F. Sasere-6.5, M. Fedele-5, L. Gambin-5 (60 C. Ibarguen-5), P. Dordevic-5 (61 C. Mercieca), F. El Bakhtaoui-6.
Referee Malcolm Spiteri.
Yellow cards Pisani, Gojkovic, Borg.
BOV Player of the Match Jefferson (Gżira United).
A second-half hat-trick by Jefferson and a late Maxuell goal stunned Ħamrun Spartans as Gżira cancelled a one-goal deficit to chalk up a spectacular 4-1 victory.
After a pulsating first-half that ended in a stalemate, Ħamrun broke the deadlock through Franklin Sasere.
The goal seemed to put the Spartans in the driving seat for all three points which would maintain their title hopes alive.
Nonetheless, Jefferson’s treble in a space of seven minutes left a toothless Ħamrun stunned as Gżira went on to claim the three points and move into fifth with 24 points.
Gżira United almost surprised Ħamrun Spartans inside the first seven minutes when Maxuell latched onto a Jackson Mendoza well-weighted through ball but the Brazilian’s effort struck the crossbar.
Ħamrun’s reply was produced by Faisal El Bakhtaoui whose long-range effort was smothered by Darijan Zarkov.
Just before the half-hour mark, Zarkov came to Gżira’s rescue when he denied Franklin Sasere from inside the penalty area before El Bakhtaoui had a thumping volley that sailed wide over the bar.
Ħamrun’s newcomer Matteo Fedele tried his luck as well but his effort from the edge of the area was not enough to trouble Gżira’s goalkeeper.
In the closing stages of the first half, Predrag Dordevic almost curled an effort in the net just for the Gżira backline to deflect into a corner.
At the restart, Ħamrun forged ahead at the first time of asking when Dodo’s through ball was converted into goal by Sasere from the penalty box, for his fourth league goal of the season.
Nonetheless, Gżira immediately levelled terms when Darko Gojkovic’s miscued clearance dropped onto the feet of Jefferson who had the simplest of tasks in slotting into empty net for his 31st goal in 80 Premier League games.
Jefferson took only a minute to score his 32nd when Zack Scerri whipped in a low ball from the right-hand side and the Brazilian forward slotted from point-blank range once again.
While Ħamrun were trying to recover from this quick turnaround, Gżira remained lethal on the counterttacks and on the 59th minute Jefferson sealed his hat-trick when he capitalised from another well-engineered transition.
In an attempt to salvage a positive result from this game, Ħamrun coach handed Colombian forward Carlos Ibarguen his debut as he partnered Sasere upfront.
However, Ibarguen’s introduction was in vain as the next goal of the game was produced by Gżira with Maxuell’s low drive that beat Henry Bonello for a famous 4-1 victory over the Maltese champions.