Two goals in extra time put Birkirkara in the finalby Ayrton Galea - 2nd May 2012
Two goals in the extra time period saw Birkirkara eliminating Hibernians in the Women's Knock-out semi-final with a score of 3-1.
In another heart-throbbing match for the Women's Team, Birkirkara were the best team on the field especially in the first half but they failed to make the best out of their dominance.
After Hibernians took the lead against the run of the play, thanks to a penalty, Birkirkara were also awarded a penalty just five minutes later. The match went into the extra time period and Birkirkara scored two goals in the second half of the extra time to eliminate Hibernians.
Birkirkara were not in full strength as Alishia Sultana was missing, while Martina Cilia, Dorcas Debono and Charlene Schembri were not in their best condition but they were still called up. Rachel Cuschieri was back for Birkirkara.
In the last match there were some silly mistakes, but yesterday was a different story. Birkirkara's defence led by Stephania Farrugia and Yasmeen Vella was solid led. The side backs, that is, Isabelle Mazzitelli who scored the second goal, and Maryrose Cardona also had a very good match.
In the midfield department, Chantal Fenech and Gabriella Zahra had a satisfactory match and both defended and attacked well. In the attacking department, Kelly Agius Pace returned to the first eleven with a goal, and Raina Giusti once again had a fine match.
The First Half
Birkirkara were dominant right from the start, creating the best chances but they failed to turn their dominance into goals.
Right from the kick off, Kim Parnis had a long distance shot saved by goalkeeper Cremona.
Raina Giusti's cross shot was saved by Stephanie Cremona on the 6th minute.
Kim Parnis' long distance shot ended over on the 8th minute.
Birkirkara were unlucky on the 15th minute when a direct corner by Raina Giusti hit the crossbar and went out.
A shot by Kim Parnis from outside the box ended wide on the 17th minute.
On the 22nd minute, the referee gave a time-out for the players to have a drink due to the heat of the day which made it difficult to play fast and strong football.
A long distance free-kick for Hibernians was saved without problem by Janice Xuereb on the 25th minute.
Rachel Cuschieri was unlucky not to put Birkirkara in the lead when on the 29th minute when she had a very dangerous shot ending over by inches.
Stephanie Cremona made a fine save from a through ball to Kelly Agius Pace on the 31st minute.
Kim Parnis tried a long distance shot which ended wide on the 39th minute.
A long distance shot by Kathleen Zammit for Hibernians on the 43rd minute ended wide.
With the score still goal-less, the first half ended with both teams still searching for the first goal.
The Second Half
The Second Half produced more drama as in a balanced halve, both teams were awarded a penalty and Hibernians had a player sent off.
A direct long distance freekick by Rachel ended wide on the 46th minute.
A long shot by Gabriella Zahra was saved by goalkeeper Cremona on the 48th minute.
Hibernians almost opened the score on the 55th minute, following a fast counter attack with a low shot ending wide by inches.
Following a fine solo run by Gabriella Zahra on the 59th minute, she concluded with a shot which ended wide.
Hibernians were awarded a penalty on the 66th minute when the Hibernians striker was floored inside the box. Ylenia Carabott made no mistake to put Hibernians in the lead.
However, Hibernians' joy did not last much as Birkirkara were awarded a penalty on the 70th minute after Maria Azzopardi grabbed the ball to stop it from crossing the goal-line and was sent off. From the eleven metres, Stephania Farrugia converted and levelled matters for ‘The Stripes'.
Another time-out for was given on the 73rd minute.
The Birkirkara supporters had the illusion of goal when Raina Giusti lobbed the ball over Stephanie Cremona on the 80th minute which ended wide by inches.
Kelly Agius Pace almost put Birkirkara in the lead on the 86th minute when with the goalkeeper beaten, her shot ended wide by inches.
On the 88th minute, Kim Parnis had a long distance shot saved by Cremona.
With the score still level, the match had to go into the extra time period where the tension began.
Birkirkara sealed the match with two goals in the second half as they made the best of the situation of Hibernians' having a player being sent off.
Maryrose Cardona's long distance shot was easily saved by the goalkeeper on the 101th minute.
The First Half saw no changes in the 1-1 score.
Birkirkara continued to dominate and Rachel Cuschieri's diagonal shot ended wide on the 107th minute.
Birkirkara could easily have taken the lead on the 108th minute when from a perfect cross, Kelly Agius Pace missed a great chance from an ideal position with the Hibernians' clan protesting for an offside position of the Birkirkara striker.
Birkirkara took the lead on the 109th minute when Rachel Cuschieri's solo run saw her low cross not cleared properly and Isabelle Mazzitelli's powerful shot from inside the box gave the goalkeeper no chance. The numerous Birkirkara supporters erupted into celebration.
A long distance freekick for Hibernians was well saved by the Birkirkara goalkeeper, Janice Xuereb on the 113rd minute. On the other side of the pitch, Gabriella Zahra made a fine solo run and concluded with a low shot which was saved by Stephanie Cremona.
Birkirkara made it game over for Hibernians on the 116th minute as they scored another goal. From a deflected pass from Gabriella Zahra. Kelly Agius Pace advanced and her shot went past goalkeeper Cremona.
In the last action of the match, a long distance shot for Hibernians ended wide on the 118th minute.
The full time whistle found the Birkirkara players celebrating their deserved victory and applauded by the supporters who surely left the Centenary Stadium satisfied with team's performance.
Birkirkara will be involved in the Knock Out final against Mosta, next Tuesday at 19:00. The match will be played at the Centenary Stadium.
Birkirkara: Janice Xuereb, Isabelle Mazzitelli, Maryrose Cardona, Stephania Farrugia, Yasmeen Vella, Chantal Fenech (93' Rosanne Xerri), Gabriella Zahra, Kim Parnis, Rachel Cuschieri, (117' Jessica Farrugia) Raina Giusti (85' Simone Buttigieg), Kelly Agius Pace.
Hibernians: Stephanie Cremona, Maria Azzopardi, Claire Sciberras, Rosalie Cauchi, Sherianne Zammit, Charlene Zammit, Chantalle Grech, Kathleen Saliba, Ylenia Carabott, Grasciella Tonna, Donne Tonna.