ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS 0
PIETA’ HOTSPURS 1
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS J. Azzopardi-6; S. Bugeja-5, L. Almeida-6, Y. Tonna-5 (78 G. Mifsud), S. Jankovic-5, C. Lokoli-5, R. Sanchez-5 (39 T. Bartolo), R. Vella-5 (78 W. Santos), A. Maldonado-5 (78 G. Gesualdi), S. Miloskovic-5, K. Bondin-5 (59 A. Mizzi-5).
PIETA’ HOTSPURS S. Alampasu-6; S. Okoh-6, C. Bangura-6.5, T. Ojo-6, J. Ghio-6.5 (84 K. Leonardi), T. Agius-6, A. Latif-6 (67 A. Camara), A. Wismayer-6.5, Z. Leonardi-6, G. Ogungbe-6.5. T. Yamaguchi.
Referee Ezekiel Barbara.
Yellow cards Bugeja, Ogungbe, Maldonado, Bondin, Yamaguchi, Azzopardi, Vella.
Red card Takuma Yamaguchi (Pieta’ Hotspurs) 72.
BOV Player of the Match Temitope Ojo (Pieta’ Hotspurs).
A second-half winner from substitute Amadou Camara halted Pieta’ Hotspurs’ winless run to secure a precious 1-0 victory over Żebbuġ Rangers.
Three points separated the two newly-promoted sides before the game but while Żebbuġ had three points, the Hotspurs were at the back of six straight defeats.
In addition, the Hotspurs also managed to keep Żebbuġ at bay to record their maiden clean sheet in this championship.
A victory that will send encouraging signs to Pieta’s dressing room after a difficult start to their season.
Żebbuġ, on their part, never really imposed themselves into the game and although Pieta’ were a man down for the final 20 minutes of the game, Brian Spiteri’s side struggled to stage a late rally.
Pieta’ Hotspurs emerged stronger from the blocks, taking an offensive approach that might have caught Żebbuġ Rangers a bit off guard in the early stages.
Amadu Latif had a glorious opportunity to put Pieta’ ahead when he received a throughball from Abraham Ojo and rounded past Żebbuġ’s goalkeeper but his effort was cleared just in time by Shaun Bugeja on the goal line.
Takuma Yamaguchi tried his luck with a long-range freekick but Żebbuġ goalkeeper Jamie Azzopardi was alert to avert the danger.
Moments later, defender Clinton Bangura produced a brilliant strike from the edge of the area just to be inches wide.
Six minutes from half-time, Żebbuġ Rangers were forced to take off wingback Roberto Sanchez after picking up a knock. He was replaced by Travis Bartolo.
After the change of ends, Żebbuġ had the first chance when Charles Lokoli darted towards goal but his effort was blocked by Sunday Alampasu.
Żebbuġ’s goalkeeper Azzopardi was forced to deny Yamaguchi with a brilliant save after the Japanese tried his luck from a close-range freekick.
On minute 67, Pieta’ coach Rodney Bugeja swapped his attacking weapon as he put on Amadou Camara instead of Latif – a change that paid dividends four minutes later.
Ganiu Ogungbe headed a Wismayer freekick into the small area on which Camara pounced from point-blank range to draw first blood for Pieta’.
A previous scuffle between both sets of players resumed in the aftermath of the goal with Japanese Yamaguchi of Pieta’ being given the marching orders after a second yellow.