SLIEMA WANDERERS 0
R. Al Tumi-6.5; J. Morales-6, R. Schiavi-6, G. Aquilina-6, J. Mintoff-6 (80 O. Elouni), M. Scerri-6, D. Holla-5 (73 I. Gui), M. Piciollo-6, O. Bethancourt-6, J. Goncalves-5 (74 J. Farrugia), M. Davis-6 (80 J. Engerer).
A.Sylla-6; Y. Yankam-6 (81 P. Mbong), L. Montebello-6, C. Bonanni-6, K. Zammit-6, F. Falcone- (72 J. Valletta), R. Scicluna-6, O. Carniello-6, L. Aguirre-6, Jeferson-6 (72 K. Bevis), D.Venancio-6.5.
Referee Emanuel Grech.
Yellow cards Juan Morales, Aquilina, Scerri, Scicluna, Goncalves, Bethancourt, Elouni.
BOV Player of the Match Rashed Al Tumi (Sliema Wanderers).
Sliema Wanderers and Birkirkara cancelled each other in a drab stalemate at the National Stadium.
An encounter which did not produce a lot of goalscoring opportunities, with Birkirkara having more chances thanks to their shooting options whereas Sliema Wanderers opted for a prudent approach.
The Stripes remain third on 35 points while on the other hand Sliema remain anchored at the bottom.
With 11 points away from safety and six games left for the end of the season, Sliema’s chances of avoiding relegation have diminished a lot.
For this game, Sliema handed a debut to goalkeeper Rashed Al Tumi who joined the club from Nocerina during the winter transfer window and the Maltese goalkeeper produced a man-of-the-match performance to help his team gain a point.
Sliema’s Jean Goncalves had an immediate opportunity to send the Blues ahead but after latching onto a neat through ball, he fired his close-range effort wide.
Birkirkara replied with a Jeferson effort that was pushed away by Al Tumi.
On the half-hour mark, Diego Venancio tried his luck from a trademark freekick but failed to hit target.
At the start of the second half, Birkirkara tried to threaten through a Leandro Aguirre freekick on which Oscar Carniello did not connect well.
Al Tumi came to Sliema’s rescue with a brilliant save on Aguirre’s long-range effort before a Luke Montebello header sailed over, in a flurry of quick chances in what had been a drab second half until the 70th minute.
As the half wore on, chances continued to be at a premium with Birkirkara roping in Kylian Bevis and Jed Valletta upfront to bolster their chances of breaking the deadlock.
Sliema, on their part, were happy to sit at the back and try to catch their opponents on the break.
Birkirkara squandered two chances to take the lead in the closing stages when Ryan Scicluna fired his close-range volley over the bar and Bevis struck a curling effort which went wide from goal.