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Four-goal Ohawuchi foils Rainbows’ rally

Sliema’s Stanley Ohawuchi (right) speeds past Branislav Timotic, of Tarxien. Photo: Chris Sant FournierSliema’s Stanley Ohawuchi (right) speeds past Branislav Timotic, of Tarxien. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Tarxien Rainbows 3
Andrezinho 1; Bueno 70, 75;
Sliema Wanderers 4
Ohawuchi 2, 23, 58, 83;

Stanley Ohawuchi’s remarkable four-goal haul gave Sliema Wan-derers a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Tarxien Rainbows who produced a brave recovery attempt to save the match after trailing 3-1, yesterday.

But the Nigerian provided a lethal spearhead for Alfonso Greco’s Blues as he demostrated a stunning ability to strike on the counter.

It was hard for the Rainbows to accept the result at the end of the match as an in-form Daniel Mariano Bueno could not save them from defeat after having clawed their way back into the game. But this match had a sting in its tail as Ohawuchi scored the winner seven minutes from time to give Sliema the points.

The Wanderers had four key players missing. Skipper Alex Muscat and Ian Zammit were both forced to sit out to serve sus-pension and the side was also deprived of injured duo Ivan Woods and Miguel Ciantar.

The Rainbows made a few changes from the team that lost to Valletta in their previous match as Steven Sadowski, Mark Tanti, Gianluca Calabretta and Orosco Anonam were all in the starting formation.

The Rainbows roared into action and scored their quickest goal ever in the Premier League less than half-a-minute from kick-off.

In fact, Andrezinho beat Bueno’s record (vs Ħamrun Spartans – Dec. 11, 2010) by a full three seconds when he conjured up a great shot that whizzed past the Sliema defence and into the far corner of the net after just 20 seconds.

But the Wanderers were un-ruffled and Andrezinho’s effort was immediately cancelled by Ohawuchi when the agile Nigerian darted inside from the right, skipped past Branislav Timotic and goalkeeper Nicky Vella before placing a shot into the net.

There was a lull in play after those two early goals.

Sliema enjoyed more of the ball though and on 23 minutes the lively Ohawuchi worked some space on the right and left himself almost no margin of error in slicing his shot between the keeper and the upright to make it 2-1 from an angled position.

Sliema began the second half on the front foot and went close through Ohawuchi when he outpaced Orosco Anonam but skied his shot over the bar.

Three minutes later, Luca Martinelli found space on the left flank and slid a perfect throughball to Ohawuchi who came up with a more ruthless finishing this time, firing a rising shot that lifted the net.

After that Sliema moved a couple of gears down and that lapse almost cost them victory in the end.

Bueno pulled one back on 70 minutes and prior to that Leandro had wasted a good chance for Tarxien when he headed over from a good position.

Tarxien drew level 15 minutes from time, this time Brazilian Bueno firing an angled shot past Zammit to even the score at three-all.

With Sliema now defending deep inside their own half, the Rainbows looked on course for a shock win as the game entered the final minutes.

But then, as they pressed forward, Tarxien were hit by a sucker punch as Ohawuchi grab-bed his fourth of the afternoon.

The Rainbows were caught napping from their own corner as Stefan Bianciardi swept forward to set up Ohawuchi who placed the ball beyond Vella’s reach.

Sliema tightened up their defence in the last few minutes to avoid another final twist in this remarkable tale of seven goals.

Tarxien Rainbows
N. Vella-4, S. Sadowski-5, M. Caruana-5, A. Agius-5, Andrezinho-6, J. Grioli-5, M. Tanti-6, D. M. Bueno-7, B. Timotic-5 (73 R. Sammut), G. Calabretta-5 (46 Leandro-6), O. Anonam-4.

Sliema Wanderers
G. Zammit-5, L. Martinelli-6.5, S. Ohawuchi-8, P. Barbetti-5, J. Mintoff-5 (76 A. Decesare), M. Scerri-6 (79 R. Dalli), C. Gatt Baldacchino-5, S. Bajada-5.5 (70 B. Muscat-4), J. Mifsud-5, M. Muchardi-6, S. Bianciardi-6.

Referee: Esther Azzopardi.

Yellow cards: Calabretta; Anonam; Agius.

BoV Player of the match: Stanley Ohawuchi (Sliema Wanderers).

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