Stripes end First Phase on a high

Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 11:31

by Victor Ciangura, courtesy of The Malta Independent.

APS Bank Under 15 Section B


Birkirkara     4


Pembroke   0


Birkirkara completed the First Phase of the competition in top spot winning 19 points from 9 games while Pembroke ended on 12 points and now will compete in the Relegation Pool. The Stripes fully deserved the verdict as they are streets ahead of Pembroke.


The Stripes went straight on the offensive after only five minutes as Gilmour Sammut released Ayrton Attard on the right flank who after advancing a defender cleared the ball to a corner from his shot, while at the other end, Daniel Vella served Ronaldo Cassar with a through ball but Julian Camilleri foiled him with a timely tackle.


In the 10th minute Birkirkara opened the score. They won a corner kick on the left flank which was taken by Attard and after the ball was partly cleared outside the area, Kyle Mifsud took possession of the ball, entered the area and lost balance as he was legally tackled by a defender and Assistant Ryan Aquilina, to the surprise of all present flagged for a penalty. To no avail were the protests of the Pembroke players as the referee pointed to the dreaded spot. From the spot kick Attard sent Pembroke keeper James Ducker the wrong way of the ball.


Birkirkara doubled their lead in the 13th minute. Ducker handled the ball outside the area and after the ball was cleared to a corner from the free kick by Mifsud, Julian Camilleri netted with a header after the flag kick by Attard.


Ducker then saved a close-range shot by Isaac Ciranna after a square pass by Karl Caruana.


In an action by Pembroke, Vella was fouled outside the area and Stripes keeper Clyde Aquilina saved the free kick shot by Zachary Grech in two attempts.


The Stripes resumed with their pressing and mounted two further actions. Caruana dribbled past a defender on the right flank but there were no takers to apply the killer touch from his perfect cross in the area and Mifsud released Attard on the right flank who the served Gianluca Zammit with a cross in the area and following his shot the ball was cleared by a defender.


In the 30th minute Birkirkara were saved by the woodwork. Pembroke won a free kick in midfield and from the hard drive by Grech, Aquilina managed to tip the ball to a corner as he was helped by the bar.


In the last action before the break Ducker saved in two attempts a free kick shot by Attard after Ciranna was fouled outside the area.


The first two actions after the restart were created by Birkirkara. Mifsud released Attard in the area and Ducker foiled him with a timely sortie and Caruana served Attard with a through ball on the right flank but his perfect cross found no takers to apply the killer touch.


In an action by Pembroke Grech was fouled on the right flank and Aquilina had to dive and save the free kick shot by the same player.


The score became 3-0 in the 53rd minute when Zammit served Attard with a square pass in the area and he scored with a hard low drive.


The Stripes kept insisting. Caruana entered the area after dribbling past a defender and Ducker saved his close-range shot and Mifsud put Caruana through on the left flank who then crossed to Zammit in the area but he drove over the bar.


In the 63rd minute Birkirkara scored their fourth and final goal as Caruana served Zammit with a through ball in the area and he scored with a low diagonal shot.


A minute before the end of normal time Pembroke came very close a consolation goal as Zachary Portelli  served Ronaldo Cassar with a high through ball in the area, he tried his luck with a lobbed ball but the alert Aquilina managed to parry the high ball.


Referee: Tyrone Cardona                                                                                                                                                               Player of the match: Karl Caruana (Birkirkara) 


Birkirkara: C.Aquilina, J.Sciberras, J.Cardona, J.Camilleri, G.Spiteri (G.Grima 56), K.Caruana, G.Zammit, I.Ciranna (T.Cachia 65), A.Attard, K.Mifsud, G.Sammut


Pemnroke: J.Ducker, Z.Grech, M.Buhagiar, C.Catania, A.Camilleri, Z.Portelli, L.D’Angelo, Z.Grech, D.Vella, I.Buhagiar (A.Fathi 54) R.Cassar

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