04.02.19 Seniors: Professional display sees Orange beat Mqabba
Swieqi United put in a professional display in last night's game at the Centenary Stadium, beating relegation threatened Mqabba 2-0 to move ten points clear of the BOV First Division relegation zone, and put their opponents in further trouble towards the foot of the table.
The Owls started the stronger of the two teams. Following an early chance that fell kindly for Ibrahim Salis, which was well saved by the Mqabba goalkeeper, Salis made it 1-0 after 15 minutes. A beautiful through pass with the outside of Nicholas Schembri's boot found the Nigerian striker, who calmly slotted past the goalkeeper.
Salis was a constant menace in attack for the Orange, and won the team a penalty in the 33rd minute. Unfortunately, however, Alin Margarit's effort was central and saved comfortably by the Mqabba custodian. Swieqi United therefore went into the break 1-0 to the good.
The second half saw Mqabba up their game and indeed, play football that defied their league position. With Swieqi United content to defend and soak up the pressure, the Orange ended up playing counter-attacking football, relying heavily on Margarit's build up play and Salis' speed to create danger at the opposite end. With Mqabba committing several men forward, this tactic finally paid dividends two minutes from time, when Salis finished a fantastic one on one action.
This did not deter Mqabba, and, in an exciting finish to the match, they hit the crossbar and the post - the latter after a great save from Jean Claude Debattista - in injury time. Mqabba also had a penalty with the last kick of the game, but Debattista was equal to it, preserving the Owls' clean sheet and moving them up to joint-fourth with Zejtun and Naxxar in the standings.
Formation: J.C. Debattista, K. Sultana, V. Kayode, L. Cassar Jackson, D. Borg, M. Farrugia, L. Scicluna, M. Vella, A. Margarit, N. Schembri, I. Salis
Substitutes: E. Gatt, M. Attard, G. Bugeja, S. Grech, J. Scerri, L. Covic, H. Hansberg
Match report: Matthew Borg
Photo credit: Marin Babanov