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Watch: Brave Ħamrun Spartans bow out of Conference League with strong display

Hamrun defender Rodrigo Callegari boots the ball away against FK Partizan. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS    3

Prsa 28; Vinicius 82 pen.; Fedele 90 pen.

FK PARTIZAN                   3

Gomes 34; Urosevic 72; Gomes 78

(Partizan win 7-4 on aggregate)

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS

H. Bonello; M. Guillaumier (79 M. Fedele), L. Montebello (63 L. Montebello), E. Mashike (73 I. Nedeljkovic), Dodo (73 Ederson), R. Prsa, R. Callegari, M. Sowe, Emerson, R. Camenzuli (79 Vinicius).

FK PARTIZAN

A.Popovic; S. Sanicanin, I. Vujacic, S, Markovic, P. Andrade, Q. Menig (69 K. Belic), Ricardo, L. Fejsa, M. Zivkovic, F. Diabate (75 B. Natcho), S. Urosevic (80 Z. Sehovic).

Referee Jakob Kehlet (Denmark FA).

Yellow cards Sowe, Zivkovic, Nedeljkovic, Callegari, Belic, Natcho.

Ħamrun Spartans ended their European commitments with a 3-3 draw against Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade.

Despite starting the second leg with a three-goal deficit, the Spartans staged a strong showing in front of their numerous fans at the National Stadium.

For all the chances the Maltese side created, the draw does not make justice to their performance with the Spartans creating eight chances only in the first half – Partizan had only two, with only one on target which eventually resulted in Ricardo’s goal.

Spartans’ coach Branko Nisevic deployed an offensive starting formation with the inclusion of Moussa Sowe, replacing Juan Corbalan, Luke Montebello, Elvis Mashike and Dodo.

At the back, Ricardo Callegari replaced the suspended Steve Borg with Emerson captaining the side.

Ħamrun’s historic run in the European competition comes to an end after eight games with the Spartans recording our wins to surpass three qualifying round for the first time in their club history.

An encouraging run which bodes well for the future of the club as they will strive to go one step better in the coming years.

On the other hand, 27-time Serbia champions Partizan Belgrade named an unchanged line-up from last week’s first leg tie as they were defending a comfortable 4-1 lead.

Ħamrun Spartans’ brave approach saw them force Partizan Belgrade’s goalkeeper into action with an effort from Matthew Guillaumier that was diverted into corner.

Roko Prsa followed with a delightful curling effort just to be inches wide as the Spartans continued to exert pressure on their Serbian opponents.

Partizan Belgrade’s first effort came through Ricardo but the Brazilian forward’s header was of no threat to Henry Bonello.

Guillaumier had another attempt on goal but when meeting a Ryan Camenzuli cross, he could not volley the ball into the net.

Moments later, Dodo struck a long-range effort but Aleksandar Popovic halted his chance as the Spartans were still looking to take the lead.

On the 25th minute, just after the cooling break, it was Moussa Sowe’s turn to test Popovic but once again the Partizan Belgrade custodian was alert to avert the danger.

Three minutes later, the Reds managed to make their pressure count when Guillaumier served a clever pass to Prsa who fired home from inside the penalty area for his second European goal.

The Serbians did level terms with Ricardo capitalising on a half chance after a Bonello block from a corner kick situation dropped onto the feet of the Brazilian who struck into an empty net.

Ħamrun replied through Guillaumier who once again tried his luck but could not hit the target with his first timer.

After the change of ends, Ħamrun continued to dominate proceedings but it was Partizan who came close to go ahead through Ricardo but his effort was cleared by a Ħamrun player on the goal line.

Dodo replied with a positive transition before firing over the bar from the edge of the area.

Nonetheless, it was Partizan who found the net with just their second chance of the game when Slobodan Urosevic beat Bonello at the far post with a low drive.

Partizan extended their lead when Patrik Andrade whipped in a cross which was met by Ricardo who slotted into the net for his second goal of the game.

The hosts pulled one back when Vinicius converted from the spot after his cross was handled by a Partizan Belgrade defender in the penalty area.

Ħamrun managed to wrap up their European appointment with a late goal, from another penalty, this time buried by Fedele as the Spartans secured a 3-3 draw.

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