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Żebbuġ Rangers hand Ħamrun Spartans first defeat of the season

Żebbuġ Rangers players celebrate their victory over Ħamrun Spartans. Photo: Walter Sargent

ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS       4         

Bugeja 3; Bonello 11og; Lokoli Ngoy 89, 90

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS    2        

Jonny 14; Mashike 90

ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS

J. Azzopardi-6.5, S. Bugeja-6.5, L. Almeida-6.5, T. Bartolo-6 (90+1’ G. Gesualdi), W. Santos-6, A. Mizzi-6, S. Jankovic-6.5, C. Lokoli Ngoy-6.5, G. Mifsud-6, J. Sciberras-6, S. Miloskovic-6 (84’ K. Bondin).

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS

H. Bonello-5.5, E. Domingos-5.5 (80 J. Corbalan), S. Borg-5.5, M. Guillaumier-6, L. Montebello-5.5, E. Mashike-5.5, R. Prsa-6, R. Callegari-6, Jonny-5.5 (75 Dodo), E. Marcelina-6, R. Camenzuli-6 (80 V. Ribeiro).

Referee: Ezekiel Barbara.

Yellow cards: Jankovic.

BOV Player of the Match: Shaun Bugeja (Żebbuġ Rangers).

Żebbuġ Rangers interrupted Ħamrun Spartans’ unbeaten run at the top the BOV Premier League table as they defeated them 4-2 as the second half of the match which was originally scheduled for November 12 but which was interrupted at half-time, was resumed on Sunday.

The weather did not change much with strong winds and rain hitting the Centenary Stadium.

At the end of the first 45 minutes before referee Ezekiel Barbara had decided not to start the second half due to torrential rain, the Rangers were leading 2-1.

Captain Shaun Bugeja had nodded the ball in off a cross by Stefan Jankovic after just three minutes to put Żebbuġ ahead.

They had doubled the score as a freekick by Jankovic was not held by Bonello on 11 minutes to end at the back of the net for an own goal and Ħamrun had reduced the gap courtesy of a Jonny header off a cross by Elvis Mashike.

Ħamrun were, therefore, determined to go out in search of goals to turn the game in their favour but the weather conditions did not help.

Żebbuġ played their plan to perfection to take home the three points and move third from bottom, two points ahead of Santa Lucia and three ahead of Pieta’ Hotspurs.

As the second half, got underway Charles Lokoli Ngoy entered the area from the right but his angled shot was turned into a corner by Bonello.

Ħamrun, however, were soon on the offensive and on 56 minutes, Matthew Guillaumier sent Jonny through but the latter concluded wide.

A minute later, Jonny headed wide off a cross from the left and on 62 minutes, a cross shot from the left by Rodrigo Callegari was saved by goalkeeper Jamie Azzopardi.

The Spartans threatened once again on 72 minutes when Guillaumier served Steve Borg on the right and the latter sent Jonny through and off the Brazilian’s cross from the right, Guillaumier’s fine header scraped past the post.

With time running out, Nisevic replaced Jonny with Dodo and five minutes later, Juan Corbalan and Vinicius stepped in for Camenzuli and Emerson.

Ħamrun went close once again on 84 minutes when off a corner by Dodo, a header by Marcelina was parried by Azzopardi and four minutes later, a  Callegari effort from inside the area was partially saved and Mashike’s close-range effort was parried by Azzopardi.

One minute from time, Żebbuġ extended the lead.

Lokoli Ngoy concluded a good run on the left flank and rounded Steve Borg before beating Bonello with a shot which hit the posts twice before ending into the back of the net.

The situation was now desperate for the Spartans but two minutes in added time, they reduced the gap.

Emerson Marcelina headed the ball from the edge of the area in the direction of Dodo on the left and the latter served Mashike who headed the ball home from close range.

Ħamrun were now pushing for a possible equaliser and five minutes in added time, Guillaumier ended on the ground when challenged by a defender but the referee waved play on.

Leandro Almeida sent Lokoli Ngoy through on the left and the Australian forward beat Vinicius on the run and entered the area before slotting the ball past Bonello. 

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