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Clinical Mosta give Żebbuġ a reality check

Mosta got the best of Żebbuġ Rangers for a 2-0 win. Photo: Stephen Gatt

MOSTA 2

Farrugia 66, Ememe 90

ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS 0

MOSTA I. Akpan-6, R. Briffa-5.5, C. Ememe-6, C. Failla-5.5, J. Nsumoh-5 (58 V.Mbata), B. Diarra-7, T. Farrugia-6 E. Acheampong-6.5 (83 G. Sciberras), S. Kingue-6 (71 Z. Brincat-5 (71 J. Ibe), D. Bonniċi-6, R. Ekani-6.

ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS J. Azzopardi-4, S. Bugeja-5, L. Almeida-6, Wilker-6, A. Mizzi-5 (70 K, Bondin), S. Jankovic-6 (85 T. Bartolo), C. Ngoy Lokoli-6, E. Sanchez-5.5, R. Vella-5.5 (64 S. Miloskovic), J. Macedo-5 (70 A. Soto Maldonado), J. Sciberras-5.

Referee Fyodor Zammit

Yellow card Kingue

BOV player of the match Boubakary Diarra (Mosta)

After all the euphoria emanating from their 4-2 victory over Ħamrun last week, a sense of reality was knocked back into the Żebbuġ players on Sunday at the Centenary Stadium.

Taking on the resurgent Mosta, Brian Spiteri’s troops failed to maintain the upward trend as they finished on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline.

Mosta, themselves on a high after a 2-1 victory over Balzan, punished Żebbuġ for their inability to put away the chances that came their way.

The match began at a frenetic pace and that led to a scrappy opening phase, with Żebbuġ particularly guilting of squandering possession.

On 21 minutes, Roderick Briffa and Geoffrey Acheampong combined to put Christ Ememe clear of the Rangers’ defence. The talented midfielder ran down the right channel and used his speed to avoid his marker before hitting a shoot underneath the body of Jamie Azzopardi but the ball finished on the side-netting.

Żebbuġ’s closest scoring effort came through Stefan Jankovic who used his footwork to avoid several Mosta players but he was brilliantly foiled by Steve Kingue who blocked the ball into a corner.

Mosta were still doing the running after the break, and Zachary Brincat was guilty of a glaring missing on 55 minutes. The Maltese midfielder appeared to be set to head home from Acheampong’s crisp cross but he missed the ball completely.

Jankovic was turning in a high-energy performance in midfield and the Żebbuġ midfielder shot straight at Ini Akpan a few minutes later.

But a game short on any real quality saw the deadlock broken in the 66th minute when a free-kick from Roderick Briffa floated beyond the Żebbuġ goalkeeper Jamie Azzopardi before the ball glanced off the body of Tyrone Farrugia.

On 76 minutes, Charles Ngoy Lokoli’s pace took him through on the left flank as squared the ball for substitute Stanimir Miloskovic but Joseph Feargod Iba bravely smothered the ball with his body.

Three minutes later, Enrique Roberto Sanchez’s free-kick finished just out. Żebbuġ maintained their excellent work rate and frustrated Mosta.

After 80 minutes, Miloskovic accelerated through the middle channel and flicked the ball over Akpan but Farrugia was on hand to hook the ball off the line.

Mosta punished that miss by doubling their lead at the death. As Żebbuġ pushed out, Gianluca Sciberras crossed for Christ Ememe to slot past Azzopardi.

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