Match Report: Birkirkara FC 2-1 Sliema Wanderers FC

by Ayrton Galea - 10th February 2018
Birkirkara FC
Premier League

National Stadium

10/02/2018 - 14:00
Sliema Wanderers FC

Birkirkara FC extended their impressive winning streak to eight matches in the BOV Premier League, as a brace by the BOV Player of the Match Jake Grech enabled them to defeat Sliema Wanderers FC with a 2-1 score.

The Stripes delivered another bold statement of their current brilliant form when they overcome the difficult challenge in form of Sliema Wanderers FC. A goal in each half by Jake Grech was enough for the Stripes to extend their winning streak, after Sliema had equalised early in the second half.

The goal conceded five minutes inside the second half was in fact the first one in eight matches. The goal ended the streak without conceding a goal, as the Stripes went on for no less than 728 minutes without conceding a goal.

The Stripes are now in the third place, five points behind Balzan as the latter dropped another two points in a 1-1 draw against Floriana. Valletta are laying one point ahead, but have a game in hand.

Forward Ognjen Rolovic, who joined our Club from Kercem Ajax FC on loan till the end of the season, made his debut as he replaced Waldemar Acosta in the only change by Coach Mr. Paul Zammit. Ryan Scicluna was back in the fray after missing the last match, but he started on the substitutes' bench.

The First Half

Birkirkara created the first scoring opportunity after fifteen minutes. Dimitrov controlled the ball well after a free-kick by Vukanac and served Grech, but the latter's low shot ended wide by inches. Four minutes later, Ricardo Calisto had a free-kick ending wide for Sliema Wanderers.

The Stripes broke the dead-lock on the twenty-fourth minute. Ognjen Rolovic made a dazzling run down the left wing, before his accurate cross inside the box found Jake Grech whose first-time shot hit hard past goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.

Defender Cain Attard almost gifted the Wanderers the equaliser on the thirty-sixth minute, when he failed to clear the ball off a cross from the right, but Matias Muchardi's shot failed to hit the target. Two minutes later, goalkeeper Naumovski made a great interception to deny Calisto.

The Stripes went close to double their lead. In fast break-away, Grech served Rolovic and the Montengrin forward struck a powerful shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Zammit, before defender Bianchardi cleared the ball into a corner kick.

The Second Half

Both teams affected their first substitution at the start of the second half. Ryan Scicluna replaced Terence Agius for the Stripes, while Michele Sansonse was replaced by Ayrton Azzopardi for Sliema Wanderers.

Sliema Wanderers made the score level ten minutes inside the second half. Muchardi's pass was deflected by Cain Attard and into the path of forward Nicolae Milinceanue whose powerful shot from close-range beat goalkeeper Naumovski.

The Stripes made an instant reaction and they had a penalty-shout turned down on the sixty-third minute. Forward Rolovic, who left a very good impression, was floored down inside the box but Referee Malcolm Spiteri waved play-on.

The Stripes continued to push forward, and they deservingly regained the lead on the seventy-first minute. Rolovic played an inch-perfect through-ball towards Jake Grech who had his first attempt blocked, but from the rebound he made no mistake.

The Wanderers put more men forward in the last ten minutes, but the Stripes held strong to chalk-up their eighth consecutive victory.

Scorer of a brace, Jake Grech was voted the BOV Player of the Match.

BIRKIRKARA: Kristijan Naumovski, Fernando Barbosa, Mislav Andelkovic, Jake Grech, Kurt Zammit, Ognjen Rolovic, Nikola Vukanac, Carlos Alberto (77' Edward Herrera), Srdjan Dimitrov (90' Ayrton Attard), Cain Attard, Terence Agius (46' Ryan Scicluna).

SLIEMA WANDERERS: Glenn Zammit, Stefano Bianchardi, Matias Muchardi (74' Kilan Ameli), Frank Temile, Nikolae Milincenau, Edmond Agius, Michele Sansone (46' Ayrton Azzopardi), Peter Xuereb (86' Ryan Spiteri), Ricardo Calisto, John Mintoff, Kurt Shaw.

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri.
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Thomas Debono.
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri.

Yellow Cards: 29' Stefano Bianchardi, 52' Luke Shaw (Sliema Wanderers), 90+2' Kristijan Naumovski (Birkirkara)

Scorers: 24', 71' Jake Grech (Birkirkara), 55' Nikolae Milincenau (Sliema Wanderers)

BOV Player of the Match: Jake Grech (Birkirkara).

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