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Spartans overcome Pietá's challenge

Triston Caruana (left) of Ħamrun Spartans tussles with Pietá Hotspurs' Neil Pace Cocks for the ball. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Triston Caruana (left) of Ħamrun Spartans tussles with Pietá Hotspurs' Neil Pace Cocks for the ball. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS           3         

Caruana 33, Tulimieri 35, Domoraud 44

PIETÁ HOTSPURS                 2         

Micallef 37og., Macedo Neto 41

Ħamrun Spartans collected another three precious points as they defeated neighbours Pietà Hotspurs by the odd goal in five.

It was an entertaining game which saw the Spartans go two goals ahead and the Hotspurs making a great comeback in a few minutes to level matters, only for Ħamrun to restore the lead just before the end of the first half.

The Hotspurs welcomed back goalkeeper Nicky Vella, Takaki Ose, Paul Chimezie and Gabriel Mensah after they were rested for the FA Trophy third round clash with Mdina. Ħamrun, on the other hand, had one change from the team which as Marco Criaco replaced Sebastian Nayar.

Ħamrun made their intentions clear right from the start but had to wait until the 18th minute to go close with a Kevin Tulimieri cross shot which was turned into a corner by the Pietà goalkeeper and from the resulting corner by Triston Caruana, Orestis Nikolopoulos hit wide.

Two minutes later, Ħamrun appealed for a penalty after Caetano Calil was tackled by Macedo Neto inside the area but the referee waved play on.

On 28 minutes, Paul Chimezie tested Manuel Bartolo with a shot from outside the area. The Ħamrun goalkeeper partially saved his attempt with Gabriel Mensah taking the rebound and having a conclusion blocked into a corner by a defender.

Ħamrun finally managed to break the deadlock on 33 minutes when off a cross by Matthew Gauci, Triston Caruana headed home past goalkeeper Nicky Vella.

Two minutes later, the Spartans doubled the score thanks to Kevin Tulimieri whose volley beat the helpless Pietà custodian.

However, the Hotspurs’ reaction was immediate and on the 37th minute, Pietà reduced the gap thanks to an unfortunate Karl Micallef own goal who headed the ball into his own net.

Four minutes later, Pietà levelled matters thanks to Antonio Macedo Neto who hit home from close range following a Neil Pace Cocks free kick from the right.

One minute from the end of the first half, the Spartans regained the lead. Following a Triston Caruana free kick, Enrico Pepe headed the ball into the direction of Wilfried Domoraud who managed to head the ball home past Vella.  

Eight minutes in the second half, Manuel Bartolo performed a good save on Gabriel Mensah but five minutes later, Wilfried Domoraud anticipated Nicky Vella who rushed out of the area in an attempt to clear the ball into safety; however, the French striker was unlucky to hit the upright.

Gabriel Mensah tried his luck once again with a fine curved shot from outside the area on 77 minutes, when served by Artiaga Roa, but the ball ended off target. A cross shot by Dylan Agius four minutes later was neutralised by Bartolo.

In added time, Orestis Nikolopoulos received a second yellow card, therefore leaving his side in ten men but the Hotspurs only managed to threaten with a Dylan Agius free kick from the right which was turned into a corner by Manuel Bartolo.

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore
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