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Gżira United see off Santa Lucia

Gzira United's Jefferson holds off his marker to move towards the Sta Lucia goal. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Santa Lucia 0

Gżira United 1

Pisani 45

Santa Lucia M. Calleja Cremona-6, Y. Soares Fonesca-6, N. Pulis-6.5, R. Bairam-6, L. Bah-5 (68 J. Tanti), D. Francarolli-6, D. Xuereb-5 (80 E. Serna), J. Pisani-5, F. Farias-5, J. Carbone-5 (58 D. Valpoort-6), A. Alba-4 (80 J. Zerafa).

Gżira United

D. Zarkov-6.5, G. Bohrer-6, N. Muscat-6, S. Pisani-6 (80 B. Borg), Z. Scerri-6, M. Dias-7, C. Riascos-6.5, T. Kolega-6 (79 R. Correa), M. Cosic-5.5, M. Maia-6 (88 L. Tabone), Jefferson-5.5 (66 C. Gauci)

Referee Alex Johnson

Yellow cards Pulis, Bairam

BOV player of the match Marcelo Dias (Gżira United)

Steve Pisani’s fluke goal just before the break, was enough to secure a valuable win for Gżira United on Thursday and heap more misery on beleaguered Santa Lucia.

Santa Lucia were atrocious in the opening half and, despite improving after the break, there was little to suggest that they are on the verge of a much-needed improvement.

Gżira dominated the opening stages as Pisani and Luis Carlos Riascos forged an impressive and oppressive combination in the centre of midfield.

On 20 minutes, Pisani struck a stinging volley but Mattew Calleja Cremona’s positioning was spot-on and the effort was blocked by the Saints goalkeeper.

Jefferson had been a constant threat down the Saints’ left flank in the opening period and the Brazilian striker blazed just wide of Calleja Cremona’s goal with a shot from the edge of the area after 37 minutes.

A few minutes later, Pisani’s cross-shot caused panic in the Saints box but it found no takers at the back post to nip the ball in.

However, Santa Lucia could do nothing to stop the Maroons from taking the lead just before half-time.

Three Santa Lucia defenders missed Pisani’s cross from the left as the ball cannoned into the net at the far post without deflection.

The goal was no more than Gżira deserved, but their hard work nearly went to waste as Santa Lucia answered back just after the break.

Yoel Fonseca Soares’s free-kick took a deflection and finished just wide of Darijan Zarkov’s far post.

Santa Lucia showed better invention in the second half and continued to trouble the Maroons.

As the game opened up, Zachary Scerri went close after good work from Marcelo Dias but his shot was blocked by Nicholas Pulis.

In the 73 minutes, Zarkov saved well, blocking on substitute Davidy Valpoort who raced through.

On 80 minutes, Calleja Cremona also proved up to the task, coming out of his box to block a Maxuell Maia effort.

As the game wore on – and following Gżira’s failure to convert their dominance into goals – Vincenzo Potenza’s troops did grow in confidence.

But the Maroons retained possession superbly, condemning Santa Lucia to their fifth successive premier league defeat.

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