Hotspurs halt Għajnsielem's stride
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Hotspurs halt Għajnsielem's stride

Sannat Lions one point away from title

Martin Hanus (left), of Victoria Hotspurs, supplies a pass despite the marking of Sarkis Goncalves. Photo: Charlene Spiteri.

Martin Hanus (left), of Victoria Hotspurs, supplies a pass despite the marking of Sarkis Goncalves. Photo: Charlene Spiteri.

Għajnsielem 2
Attard 13; K. Mercieca 85
Victoria Hotspurs 4
Portelli 34; Hanus 45, 71, 77

Title contenders Għajnsielem suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Victoria Hotspurs in the last match of the championship for the two teams.

The Blacks had won their previous seven games, a run that saw them catch Sannat Lions at the top of the standings. The Blacks needed another victory against the Hotspurs to stay in contention and force a possible decider but after this result, the Lions only need a draw from their match against SK Victoria Wanderers on Saturday to secure the title.

Għajnsielem were overwhelmed by Victoria's aggressive start and by the second minute, Frank Buttigieg had cleared off the line a Martin Hanus shot from a corner.

But, after overcoming their initial difficulties, the Blacks opened the scoring.

A Kenneth Mercieca shot was partially saved by keeper Grima and from the rebound, Joseph Attard placed in goal.

Għajnsielem tried to administer their lead but the Hotspurs regained territorial supremacy and on 34 minutes levelled the score when a free-kick by Jason Portelli surprised keeper Joseph Grech.

The Citizens went on to turn the result in their favour in first-half stoppage time, Hanus hitting home from close distance.

The Hotspurs were now on top as the Blacks relied mostly on set-pieces by Brian Meilak and Alex Viana to find a way through.

Għajnsielem's hopes to salvage a draw were dashed midway through the second half when Hanus completed his hat-trick. After scoring with a fine header, the Czech forward fired home at the end of a fine solo move to make it 4-1 with 13 minutes left.

The Blacks pulled one back five minutes from time with a Mercieca header but by then it was too late for them. Their hopes now rest on the Wanderers upsetting Sannat on Saturday to force a decider.

Thanks to his hat-trick against Għajnsielem, Hanus moved top of the scorers' list with 15 goals, two more than Sannat's Fernando de Andrade. He missed Sannat's last match due to injury but may return this weekend to challenge Hanus for the top scorer's accolade.

Għajnsielem
J. Grech, D. Debattista (F. Apap), F. Buttigieg, C. Mercieca, J. Buttigieg, B. Meilak, K. Mercieca, J. Attard, S. Goncalves, A. Viana, F.L. Galea.

Victoria Hotspurs
M. Grima, J.P. Grima (R. Mercieca), J. Mizzi, J. Portelli, M. Hanus, M. Buttigieg (R. Grech), M. Vella, D. Farrugia, A. Tramboo, N. Borg (J. Xerri), A. Zammit.

Referee: Andrea Sciriha.

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