BOV Premier League | Gzira United 1 – Tarxien Rainbows 1

Inspired by a strong performance from their goalkeeper, Tarxien produced an excellent defensive performance to hold Gzira in a 1-1 draw.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Conscious that Hibernians won, Gzira needed to win in order to keep the pace with the Paolites. Darren Abdilla’s side were coming from a 2-1 win over St Andrews prior to the Christmas break.

On the other end, Tarxien Rainbows started the match sitting tenth and although they are currently not in danger of relegation, the Rainbows were looking to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Floriana.

The Maroons threatened Tarxien after six minutes. Nikolai Muscat’s volley from outside the penalty area sailed slightly wide.

Tarxien hit back and nearly opened the score two minutes later. Stefan Radovanovic’s volley from the left stamped off the post with Justin Haber beaten.

The post denied Gzira as well on the 14th minute. Justin Junior Mengolo served Juan Carlos Corbalan and the latter saw his thumping effort hitting the upright.

Gzira created another chance on the 27th minute. Following a long ball from the back, Haruna Garba’s shot from inside the penalty area was neutralised by Andrea Cassar.

Cassar was on the alert to deny Gzira again on the 32nd minute. Sacha Borg’s cross was met by Corbalan whose effort forced a great save from Tarxien’s custodian.

Three minutes later, Garba fired a shot from inside the penalty area, but found Cassar in his way once more.

During the remaining minutes, Gzira remained in control, but Tarxien defended bravely as the first half ended in a goalless draw.

Gzira started the second half where they left off the first, but were kept away by Cassar again. Mengolo received the ball inside the penalty area and hit a close range shot that was parried by Tarxien’s goalkeeper.

On the 63rd minute, Garba fired another shot from inside the penalty area, but once again, Cassar denied him.

Tarxien goalkeeper was the one keeping his side in the game as he produced another saved on the 65th minute. Debutant Sofian Domoroud sent a shot from the left that was blocked by Cassar.

Gzira went close again on the 76th minute. Andrew Cohen’s effort from a free-kick was saved by Cassar.

Eventually it was Cohen who managed to find a way past Tarxien’s goalkeeper. Following a cross by Corbolan, the veteran headed the ball home.

However, Tarxien hit back and equalised on the 90th minute. Following a corner, the ball went into the path of Darren Falzon who slotted the ball home.

This result means that Hibernians are the sole leaders of the BOV Premier League as Gzira failed to join them on level points.

Gzira United starting line-up: Justin Haber, Nikolai Muscat, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Roderick Briffa, Sacha Borg, Justin Junior Mengolo, Fernando Pereira Barbosa, Haruna Zambuk Garba

Tarxien Rainbows starting line-up: Andrea Cassar, Marco Botta, Daniel Zerafa, Matthew Spiteri, Michele Paolucci, Gabriel Aquilina, Darren Falzon, Stefan Radovanovic, Anderson De Barros, Ricardo Silva Faria, Jacson De Paixao

Referee: Etienne Mangion

Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Duncan Sultana

Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann

BOV Player of the Match: Andrea Cassar (Tarxien)

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