Unlucky Birkirkara eliminated but not defeatedby Ivan Mizzi - 12th July 2012
Luck was not on Birkirkara's side for the second time in a week's time when despite having an edge over their opponents, the match ended in a goal less draw with FK Metalurg Skopje advancing thanks to the 2-2 draw at the Hibernians Stadium.
Once again Birkirkara had more of the game but it was not enough as they failed to score. Metalurg's performance was an improvement on the first leg and they gave their all with the aim to avoid conceding any goals.
This was the third match unbeaten in the Europa League following the 1-1 draw registered last year against FK Vllaznia of Albania where Birkirkara were eliminated with a an 2-1 aggregate.
The First Half
In the first action of the match, on the 10th minute, Rodrigo took a free-kick and Ryan Scicluna connected but the ball was going out. Nikola Vukanac slid in to correct the path of the ball, which ended wide just the same.
On the 13th minute, Ilija Nestorovski had a shot blocked by Rodrigo Pereira.
Metalurg showed a lack of fair play on the 15th minute. Rowen Muscat threw the ball out as a sign of fair play to stop the action so that a Metalurg player could receive medical action. Metalurg kicked the ball deep into the Birkirkara defence. As soon as Reuben Gauci served Nikola Vukanac inside the box, Ilija Nestorovski stole the ball and his shot was saved by Reuben Gauci.
Metalurg had a fine chance on the 17th minute when following a cross, Ilija Nestorovski's close range header was saved by Gauci.
In the first yellow card of the game on the 17th minute, Metalurg's Igor Kralevski was cautioned following a harsh foul on Shola Shodiya.
Jorge Santos Silva tried his luck with a shot which ended over and caused no problem on the 20th minute.
Referee Alexander Harkam ordered the first water break on the 22nd minute with both coaches making the best out of it and giving fresh instructions to their players.
Metalurg appealed for a penalty on the 28th minute after Paul Fenech seemed to have handled the ball but the referee waved play on.
Birkirkara had a fine opportunity on the 30th minute when Jorge Santos Silva had a fine shot from inside the box which was blocked by the goalkeeper and off the rebound Ryan's effort ended wide.
On the 32nd minute Metalurg almost took the lead as they hit the cross bar thanks to Mile Krstev, following a corner kick. Just One minute later, Dimoski served Curlinov whose header ended wide.
Birkirkara were also denied from the first goal as on the 35th minute when following a good solo action Shola Shodiya's hit the top corner of the woodwork.
Joselito Dos Reis Santos had a shot from outside the box which was saved by the goalkeeper Pavlovic without any difficulty on the 41st minute.
In the last action of the first half, Rodrigo Pereira had a freekick blocked, on the second minute of added time for the first half.
The balanced first half ended in a goal less draw.
The Second Half
Metalurg opened the second half well having two consecutive opportunities on the 48th and 49th minute when Hristjan Dimoski and Ilija Nestorovski both missing the target.
In another opportunity for Metalurg, Reuben Gauci made a fine save on the 54th minute following an attempt by Kemal Alomerovic.
Metalurg's Head Coach Mr. Gjorgii Hristov also utilized their first substitution on the 59th minute when he replaced Ilija Nestorovski with Blagoja Naumovski.
Metalurg tried their luck thanks to Igor Kralevski but his shot ended over by some distance on the 66th minute.
On the 67th minute, a shot by Rowen Muscat was saved by Igor Pavlovic. Birkirkara continued to heap pressure on Metalurg and Joselito Dos Reis Santos had a low shot saved by Pavlovic on the 70th minute.
Referee Alexander Harkam gave the second water break on the 70th minute where tension began to be felt much more between the respective teams.
In another good opportunity for Birkirkara, Jorge Santos Silva missed the target on the 76th minute.
Mr. Zammit utilized the second substitution making it clear that he want to put the Metalurg's defence under even more pressure when on the 77th minute he replaced defender Nikola Vukanac with striker Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza.
Mr. Gjorgii Hristov made the second change on the 80th minute replacing Kemal Alomerovic with Agron Memedi.
In the last substitution for Metalurg on the 86th minute, Hristijan Dimoski was replaced with Ninoslav Dodevski.
Mr. Zammit continued to include even more offensive players as on the 87th minute Michael Camilleri replaced Ryan Scicluna.
Paul Fenech served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza on the 91st minute whose shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Birkirkara kept searching for the goal and Shola Shodiya's header was saved by Pavlovic on the 93rd minute.
Birkirkara's effort were not enough as the full time whistle following no less than six added minute saw them being eliminated due to away goals which paid the sourest price for the fatal mistakes made in the first leg.
Despite saying this, one should mention and praise the players' performance in both legs as they showed real character and attitude which all the clan hopes that these performances will continue in the upcoming Premier League.
BIRKIRKARA: Reuben Gauci, Nikola Vukanac (77' Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Rodrigo Pereira, Joseph Zerafa, Ryan Camenzuli (56' Gareth Sciberras), Ryan Scicluna (87' Michael Camilleri), Rowen Muscat, Joselito Dos Reis Santos, Jorge Santos Silva, Shola Shodiya.
METALURG: Igor Pavlovic, Goran Dragovnic, Kemal Alomerovic, Igor Kralevski, Petar Ljamčevski, Blagojče Ljamčevski, Ilija Nestorovski (59' Blagoja Naumovski) Hristijan Dimoski, Mile Krstev, Mile Petkovski, Cvetan Curlinov,
Yellow Cards: Igor Kralevski, Goran Dragavonic, Kemal Alomerovic, Cvetan Curlinov, Mile Krstev (Metalurg), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara)