(Birkirkara won 3-1 on penalties)
Julani Archibald was the hero for Birkirkara as the towering goalkeeper came off the bench at the end of extra time to help the Stripes overcome Mosta 3-1 on penalties to reach the FA Trophy quarter-finals.
It was a deserved victory for the Stripes who held the upper hand for much of the match but were denied by Mosta goalkeeper Ini Akpan who produced a string of fine saves as the match finished in a goalless draw after 120 minutes.
But then Archibald took centre stage when he saved two penalties to help his team fend off Mosta’s resistance.
Birkirkara created the first chance after ten minutes when Paul Mbong picked Jeferson Macedo on the edge of the area and the Brazilian saw his shot pushed over by Ini Akpan.
Three minutes later, Venancio went close but his effort just missed the upright.
The Mosta goalkeeper produced his best save on 22 minutes when he dived full stretch to keep out Mbong’s effort from close in following a Claudio Bonanni cross.
Just before the half-time interval, Bonanni played in Mbong who was again denied by Akpan.
Five minutes into the second half, Mosta almost stunned Birkirkara when Chris Ememe broke through but was denied by the onrushing Daniel Fernandes.
The Portuguese goalkeeper then thwarted Akinbule from close in as Mosta started brightly.
On the hour mark, Fernandes made a hash in his attempt to block Loen’s cross and in came Zachary Brincat who was denied by the sliding Pepe.
A minute later Fernandes was alert to tip over Roderick Briffa’s lob.
Birkirkara finally threatened ten minutes from time when Akpan was alert to push away Aguirre’s shot.
Substitute William Donkin almost won it on 87 minutes but his shot ended just wide as the match went into extra-time.
Akpan continue to thwart Birkirkara in extra-time when on 101 minutes he somehow kept out Ruiz’s towering header.
Mosta responded two minutes later when Dennis Antwi was found in space but was denied by Fernandes.
Birkirkara suffered a blow five minutes from time, when Kurt Zammit was red-carded after flooring the goal-bound Michael Mifsud.
A minute from time, Donkin came to Mosta’s rescue when he cleared off the line Ryan Scicluna’s effort as the match went to penalties.
Julani Archibald, who came on a minute from time, was Birkirkara hero as he saved Rafael Morisco and Will Donkin’s penalties after Johann Bezzina fired wide as the Stripes won 3-1 in the shoot-out.
BIRKIRKARA: D. Fernandes (119 J. Archibald), E. Ruiz, E. Pepe, C. Bonanni (103 J. Nsumoh), P. Mbong (103 R. Scicluna), K. Zammit, F. Falcone (78 J. Valletta), C. Attard, L. Aguirre, J. Macedo, D. Venancio.
MOSTA: I. Akpan, R. Briffa (112 R. Briffa), C. Ememe (70 W. Donkin), G. Acheampong (103 D. Antwi), T. Farrugia, Y. Loen, L. Riascos (112 M. Mifsud), R. Morisco, Z. Brincat (84 J. Bezzina), S. Akinbule, R. Ekani.
Referee: Philip Farrugia.
Penalty sequence: Venancio (B) scores 1-0; Bezzina (M) misses 1-0; Aguirre (B) scores 2-0; Morisco (M) saved 2-0; Attard (B) misses; Loen (M) 2-1; Pepe (B) scores 3-1; Donkin (M) saved 3-1.