Senglea overcome Lija's challenge

Hubert Vella of Senglea Athletic shields the ball from Lija Athletic's Kei Hirose. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Hubert Vella of Senglea Athletic shields the ball from Lija Athletic's Kei Hirose. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina


Virano 36, Casares 87


Senglea Athletic had to fight harder than expected to beat Lija Athletic who were reduced to 10-men six minutes into the second half.

Despite dominating for long stretched, they could not find a way past their battling opponents before a late goal by Rene Caseres put the game beyond their opponents’ reach.

Very little was seen in the opening minutes not so much for lack of ambition by the attackers, but for the slippery surface and difficult conditions of the pitch.

Senglea tried to surge into an early lead and they managed a good move after 12 minutes when Gonzalo Virano surged powerfully into the box and produced a good save from Jonathan Martinelli.

At the other end, a rare move by the Lija had Raphael Kooh Sohna causing some anxiety for the Senglea’s rearguard. The Nigerian forward dispossessed the hesitant Steve Bonnici but saw his low shot hit the foot of the post before bouncing out.

Virano’s foraging runs down the right were causing problems to Lija as they repeatedly resorted to fouls to tame the Argentine winger. On 36 minutes, Borg conceded another free-kick just outside the box.  Virano delivered a calibrated effort under the Lija barrier that flew past the hapless Martinelli.

Things got worse after the break for Lija when Borg was shown a straight red card for blocking again Virano as the Argentine roared forward after collecting a perfect Vella through-ball.

Senglea were struggling to make their extra man count but created three scoring chances in quick succession.

Five minutes from time, Erjon Beu curled a shot past the Senglea defensive wall but his free-kick was too central to unsettle Giulio Cetrangolo.

Yet, moments later Lija could only watch in frustration as Vella served Caseres who made no mistake from close-range for Senglea to establish a comfortable lead.


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