Qormi expose Tarxien defensive frailties

Jorge Pereira da Silva heads the ball against Tarxien, yesterday. Photo: Alan Carville

Jorge Pereira da Silva heads the ball against Tarxien, yesterday. Photo: Alan Carville

Qormi 4
Bello Osagie 36; Pereira 39, 59; Bartolo 65;
Tarxien Rainbows 1
Ricardo 2;

When Tarxien midfielder Ricardo Costa found the ball caught under his feet with an open goal at his mercy after just 90 seconds, he might have thought that matters would have been plain-sailing for his side’s first win of the season.

The problem was that after the Brazilian had turned the shot past Qormi goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia, there were still 88 minutes to play for and it was then that everything started to go horribly wrong for Tarxien.

Aboubaker Bello Osagie’s equaliser put Tarxien under pressure and Qormi scored three more times without reply to record their second win of the season that lifted them away from the bottom places in the standings.

Tarxien took less than two minutes to break the deadlock.

Roberto Saraiva, who was included in the starting formation ahead of fellow Brazilian Rodrigo, was sent crashing to the ground by Roderick Sammut just outside the Qormi box.

Justin Grioli’s free-kick hit the bar but in came Ricardo who blasted the ball into the net.

That goal should have signalled a straight Tarxien success but within four minutes, the woodwork denied Qormi an equaliser.

Skipper Joseph Farrugia hit the underside of the bar from a calibrated free-kick but this time, the ball bounced to safety with Tarxien keeper David Cassar beaten.

Tarxien had countless chances to take a commanding lead in the match.

After 22 minutes, Luke Vella Critien surged forward on a solo run that took him past Stephen Wellman and Kenneth Scicluna but saw his goalbound shot hooked away by Qormi goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.

Earlier, things seemed to be taking a twist for the worst for Qormi when they lost defender Jonathan Bondin who limped off injured.

Bondin’s withdrawal forced Qormi to reshuffle their pack and coach Stephen Azzopardi shed his preferred 4-4-1-1 formation to a more offensive 3-4-3 module. Scicluna dropped between Sammut and Wellman to form a back three, allowing veteran Jeffrey Chetcuti to push up the pitch.

And such tactics worked to perfection as Qormi started moving upfield and Bello-Osagie’s trademark runs were now causing havoc in the Tarxien defence.

The Rainbows’ initial positive intent was marred by their defensive frailties and Qormi twice profited in the space of three minutes to move 2-1 up.

In fact, there was no escape in the 36th minute when Matthew Bartolo’s pass released Bello Osagie who beat his marker before lifting the ball over the advancing Cassar.

Three minutes later, Jorge Pereira beat the offside trap to latch on to Bello Osagie’s defence-splitting pass before hitting home with a superb finish.

Tarxien staged an initial reaction after the break with Farrugia pushing away Orosco Anonam’s effort. But Noel Coleiro’s side were living on the edge and tumbled over the precipice when Pereira stole the ball from Everton and set off on yet another of his dazzling runs before unleashing a low drive past Cassar.

The goal deflated Tarxien completely and in the 65th minute Pereira showed a great deal of altruism when squaring the ball for Bartolo who tapped the ball home.

Qormi then played out for time to conserve energy for the battles ahead, safe in the knowledge that they had sent out a clear warning.

M. Farrugia-6.5, J. Chetcuti-6.5, R. Sammut-6, M. Bartolo-7, J. Farrugia-7, L. Sciberras-6.5 (77 S. Agius), K. Scicluna-6, J. Bondin (12 D. Cachia-6), J. Pereira da Silva-8.5, S. Wellman-6, A. Bello Osagie-6.5 (66 G. Chircop-6).

Tarxien Rainbows
D. Cassar-5, C. Sammut-5 (66 K. Pulo-5), M. Caruana-5, Everton-4.5, Ricardo-6, R. Saraiva-4.5 (74 A. Galvao), D. Bueno-5, L. Vella Critien-6.5, O. Anonam-5, L. Galea-5, J. Grioli-6 (50’ A. Carabott-4).

Referee: Trustan Farrugia Cann.

Yellow cards: Grioli, Galea, Sammut.

BOV player of the match: Jorge Pereira da Silva (Qormi).

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