LIJA ATHLETIC 0
Lija A: J. Martinelli, N. Spiteri (C. Rios), P. Borg, D. Scerri, L. Muscat (A. Sammut), L. Schembri, R. Kooh Sohna, A. Galea (J. Campos), K. Hirose, E. Beu, M. Clinch
Referee: M. Spiteri
Asst.refs: E. Spiteri, T. Debono
4th official: P. Farrugia, S. Pace
Scorers: G. Virano 35, A. Caseres 86
Yellow cards: P. Borg, A. Galea, S. Uyi
Red card: P. Borg
Player of the match: G. Virano (Senglea FC)
TMI top 3: 1. G. Virano 2. P. Sammut 3. L. Muscat
Their goals, through Virano and substitute Caseres, coming before the end of both halves, were well-timed and, what is more, they were deserved as Senglea were the brighter side.
Senglea’s third win in their last four matches, gives Favaretto’s side some more breathing space as they now catch up with Mosta in ninth place.
This fifth consecutive defeat leaves Lija in deep relegation trouble although they showed character to try and come back into the contest after the interval, even though with a goal and a man down.
Following their heavy defeat against Mosta the previous weekend, Lija were yesterday hampered by the forced absence of the suspended central defender Ousmane Sidibe, but welcomed back captain Daniel Scerri. Predrag Babic and Aaron Sammut were also dropped, with Nigel Spiteri and Leejoe Schembri rewarded with starts. Jonathan Martinelli also replaced Bonnici in goal.
Senglea also had key players Ivan Paz suspended and Augusto Caseres starting on the bench. Gulio Cetrangolo was clebrating his 21st birthday as he made a return in the Senglea goal.
Senglea clearly showed their superiority and dominated the opening 45 minutes, but had only a one-goal advantage to show
An early chance through Palmieri, heading a high ball wide inside the area, was followed by a good block by keeper Martinelli on Virano’s powerful shot.
The chances kept coming as Senglea probed to take the lead. On 20 minutes Lija defender Galea failed to intercept a through ball inside area, allowing Sammut to put his low diagonal shot fractionally wide.
Palmieri ought to have done better when heading Vella’s perfect cross from the right off target.
Lija, who had been only pinned inside their half, almost broke the deadlock themselves midway through the half. Kooh Sohna got the better of Bonnici but was unlucky when his low drive hit the foot of the post.
Senglea regained control once again and managed to make the breakthrough before halftime. After a Gonzalo Virano long range free kick was turned into a corner by the stretched Lija keeper, the Argentine did better on 35 minutes, putting his direct free kick on target, following Borg’s foul on Sammut just outside the Lija area.
It was more than Senglea deserved.
Senglea came out in the second half on the front foot and were given an advantage when Lija defender Borg was sent off, for a second booking, within five minutes of the restart.
Senglea were expected to run rampant against depleted opponents.
But Lija introduced two new Mexicans defender, Juan Campos and midfielder Claudio Rios and, ironically, played with more confidence. Rios had a shot blocked. Campos put his effort wide. Scerri’s free kick towards the end was straight at keeper Cetrangolo.
But the game was put beyond them four minutes from time. A Caseres free kick was not cleared by the Lija defence and substitute Augusto Caseres finished off to secure victory.
Original article found on The Malta Independent