Depleted Birkirkara lose Tivoli Cupby Ayrton Galea - 10th August 2012
A depleted Birkirkara side was defeated by Hamrun Spartans with a score of 2-1 in the Tivoli Cup, in a match that did not offer much entertainment.
Birkirkara had no less than eight players missing. Reuben Gauci, Ryan Scicluna, Ryan Camenzuli, Rowen Muscat, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech and the latest signing Zach Muscat were missing for Birkirkara due to the Under 21 and Senior National Teams commitments. On the other hand, Hamrun lacked Terence Vella who is part of the Under 21 National Team. Joseph Zerafa was ruled-out injured and substitute Joselito Dos Reis was not in the best condition, since he is still recovering from a light injury cause by a knock in the final of the AME Cup.
The match itself did not reach any particular level except for the three goals scored in the first half. Goal scoring opportunities in the second half were very rare and the match turned into a boring encounter. However it became rather intense in the last minutes with fouls committed by both sides. On a disappointing note, Nikola Vukanac was sent off for Birkirkara.
This was the first defeat after seven games which includes both games against Metalurg Skopje and the five games in the AME Cup.
The First Half
Hamrun Spartans took an early lead after just two minutes. A fast run on the wing followed by a low shot by Nicholai Bozhov was deflected by Nikola Vukanac and the ball went into the net.
Birkirkara appealed for a penalty on the 7th minute when Jhonnattann Da Conceicao was floored inside the area but the referee waved play on.
A volley by Fabian Zammit ended wide on the 21st minute. On the other side of the pitch, a shot for Hamrun ended wide.
Hamrun Spartans made them two on the 23rd minute when following a cross from the left, Terence Scerri hit home from close range.
Shola Shodiya reduced the gap for Birkirkara with a wonderful goal on the 28th minute when from a very tight angle he managed to dribble two players to beat Cassar.
Ini Atkpan made an easy save from a weak shot from outside the box on the 32nd minute.
A powerful shot by Hamrun on the 36th minute ended over.
Zoran Vuckovic fired a powerful long distance shot on the 43rd minute which was punched away in style by Cassar.
Shola Shodiya made a fine solo opportunity on the 45th minute when he fired a powerful shot which ended over.
The first half ended with Birkirkara in a goal disadvantage in a 2-1 score.
The Second Half
In the half time interval, Michael Camilleri replaced Fabian Zammit.
A cross shot by Michael Camilleri on the 54th minute ended over the bar.
Goalkeeper Ini Atkpan saved a shot without difficulty on the 58th minute.
In the first substitution for Hamrun Spartans, Ryan Spiteri replaced Terrence Scerri, on the hour mark.
Hamrun had a fine chance on the 73rd minute but the player hesitated to finish and his attempt was blocked by a defender and then cleared into safety.
A shot by Aiden Galea on the 78th minute was deflected into a corner kick.
Nikola Vukanac was shown a straight red card for hitting an opponent on the 79th minute.
Ini Atkpan made a fine save from a close range effort by Ryan Spiteri on the 81st minute.
Ini Atkpan made a fine outing on the 89th minute blocking a close range effort.
A header by Michael Camilleri ended over by inches in the first minute of added time.
Hamrun missed a great chance on the 93rd minute when two against one he sent the ball over.
The full time whistle saw Hamrun Spartans winning the Tivoli Cup with a score of 2-1.
BIRKIRKARA: Ini Atkpan, McAllisther Clinch, Aljeandro Mendoza (69' Joselito Dos Reis, Patrick Borg, Nikola Vukanac, Ian Schembri (69' David Spiteri), Zoran Vuckovic, Fabian Zammit (45' Michael Camilleri), Jhonnattann Da Conceicao, Shola Shodiya, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (57' Aiden Galea).
HAMRUN SPARTANS: Andrea Cassar, Ivanov Adrian, Yoshev Angel, Roderick Fenech, Massimo Grima, Vitahov Lyubomir, Daniel Zerafa, Brightwell Richard, Gianluca Calabretta, Terrence Scerri, Nikolay Bozhov.
Scorers:: 2' Nicholai Bozhov, 23' Terence Scerri (Hamrun Spartans), 28 Shola Shodiya (Birkirkara).
Red Card: Nikola Vukanac (Birkirkara).