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BOV Premier League

Hibernians on the brink as Floriana held by Ħamrun Spartans

Floriana's Ulises Arias tries to move past Steve Borg. Photo: Stephen Gatt

FLORIANA         0

ĦAMRUN S.      0

FLORIANA

G. Kitanov-7, A. Magri Overend-6, C. Rutjens-6, Z. Cassar-6, R. Hovsepyan-6 (62’ A. Ciolacu), K. Reid-6, U. Arias-6.5, M. Garcia-6, M. Veselji-6 (62’ A. Garzia), E. Callegari-6, J. Busuttil-6.5 (88 D. Agius).

ĦAMRUN

H. Bonello-6.5, D. Gojkovic-6, J. Mbong-6 (55’ F. Sasere), A. Soares-6.5, A. Oyama-6, S. Borg-6, M. Fedele-6.5 (72’ I. Ntow), L. Gambin-5.5 (84’ S. Attard), J. Corbalan-6.5, P. Djordjevic-5.5 (55’ F. El Bakhtaoui), E. Marcelina-6.5

Referee: Slobodan Petrovic.

Yellow cards: Corbalan, Arias, Garcia.

Missed penalty: Sasere (Ħ) 90.

BOV Player of the Match: Ailton Jorge Soares (Ħamrun)

Floriana were spared from a defeat by goalkeeper Georgi Kitanov who saved a Franklin Sasere penalty deep into stoppage time as the Greens had to settle for a third successive goalless draw in the match with Ħamrun Spartans.

The result puts the Greens three points behind leaders Hibernians who now need just one point from today’s match against Birkirkara to win the title.

Ħamrun, on the other hand, maintain the challenge for third place and a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League this summer as they lie one point ahead of Birkirkara.

Coach Branko Nisevic named an unchanged side for Ħamrun while Floriana mentor Gianluca Atzori opted for three changes, handing Mattia Veselji a start along with Rumyan Hovsepyan and Kemar Reid. Ryan Camenzuli, on the other hand, was missing from the Floriana line-up.

Floriana threatened with a cross shot by Zachary Cassar after just three minutes but Ħamrun had an excellent opportunity to take the lead on 18 minutes when off a cross by Corbalan, Mbong left the ball for Predrag Djordjevic who hit wide from an ideal position.

Veselji concluded a great run on the left flank with a shot from inside the area which missed the target on 20 minutes.

Four minutes later, Djordjevic missed another good chance for Ħamrun with a header which was saved without particular difficulty by Kitanov following a cross by Soares.

On 28 minutes, Reid served Arias on the right and off the latter’s cross, Veselji headed just wide.

Seven minutes from the end of the first half, the Spartans were unlucky not to take the lead. Juan Corbalan delivered a cross from the right and Matteo Fedele hit the upright with a fine header. 

Ħamrun had an edge over their opponents in the early stages of the second half and on 70 minutes, they went close once again when off a cross by Ailton Soares, Sasere headed the ball in the direction of Faissal El Bakhtaoui whose first-time effort was neutralised by Kitanov.

However, eight minutes later, substitute Aleandro Garzia missed a good opportunity for Floriana heading just wide off a Magri Overend cross from the left.

Three minutes later, a Jan Busuttil effort from outside the area was blocked by Bonello.

Five minutes in added time, Darko Gojkovic was brought down inside the area by Matias Garcia.

Referee Slobodan Petrovic had no doubts and indicated the penalty spot but Sasere’s effort was neutralised by Georgi Kitanov.

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