Spartans Face Defeat Again

It seemed as if we were witnessing a repeat of last week’s match. Dubious penalty decisions, Hamrun hitting the crossbar, the Spartans dominating the game for long stretches of time without really offering a threat to the opposing goalkeeper, going in front, and ultimately succumbing to our opponents and losing 2-1.

Although a hard pill to swallow, there is a lot that can be learned from this game. First and foremost, you can be technically superior but this can be easily outdone through tactical discipline. The Euro 2020 played this summer is a clear example of this. Unfortunately, that brisk passing and one touch fast football that saw us break through defences last year was somewhat inexistent in the first 120 minutes of league football this year. The international break can be a blessing in disguise for us to sharpen our blades as they are somewhat blunt.

Similar to last week, the Spartans took the upper hand of proceedings dominating possession and pressing forward in the early minutes. In the 8th minute we witnessed a scandalous decision not to award Hamrun a penalty for a clear handball. Unfortunately, this was the 2nd unfair penalty decision that goes against us in as many games. Nevertheless, Hamrun continued going forward and El Bakhtaoui, who was replacing Lagzir in the starting line-up, was unlucky to hit the crossbar in the 19th minute following a well-taken long range shot which Fernandes managed to deviate onto the crossbar. However, the Spartans were awarded for their efforts when Joseph Mbong provided an inch perfect assist to Soares who hit low past Fernandes to throw the Spartan fans into euphoria. This happiness only lasted eight minutes though as Birkirkara managed to equalise through Montebello, whose header gave no chance to Bonello. At the end of the 1st half we could easily conclude that although Hamrun had the majority of the ball, Birkirkara were much more threatening in front of goal considering that had created three 1v1 situations of which only one was converted.

The plot in the 2 nd half did not change. Hamrun kept possession but found it difficult to penetrate and be of any threat while Birkirkara scored the all-important goal in the 58th minute. Diego Venancio took a powerful low freekick which Bonello partially parried but Falcone was quick to pounce on the loose ball and easily converted to put Birkirkara ahead. The rest of the 2nd half was again a constant attempt by Hamrun to create threats though the flanks with Djordjevic and Sasere going closest through a parried header and a shot that went wide respectively. However, Birkirkara were tactically disciplined to take home the three points.

As fans we want our boys to fight like Spartans, but as fans we also need to show that we are true Spartans. Those of us who have been to the stadia even at the worst of times in the 3rd tier of Maltese football know well enough the heartbreak of losing matches. Those fans will be behind the team no matter what. Those are the 300 Spartans. For others who have approached in the past few years it is now time to be true Spartans and never surrender. Heartbreaks are a part of football, but so are comebacks and a 6-point deficit with 25 games to go is not unsurmountable. Remember that the Spartans bow down to nobody.

Line-Up
Bonello
Corbalan
Gojkovic
Dielna
Micallef (74’ Mercieca)
Marcelina (86’ Lagzir)
Djordjevic (80’ Oyama)
Mbong
Soares
El Bakhtaoui
Sasere

Hamrun S – Valletta (1-2) Match Report

Moments of inattention prove costly.

It was the first time in over 17 months that fans were allowed into the stadium. The atmosphere was full of enthusiasm and expectation, especially when considering that this was our first official game as reigning champions.

The game started off as a rather balanced affair and it seemed that both teams were trying to get accustomed to competitive football, bearing in mind that both teams did not partake in a competitive match for over 5 months. However, the Spartans started edging forward more convincingly after the initial period and went close on various occasions. As fans, we were sure that the opening goal was to be witnessed shortly. After missing a handful of goal scoring opportunities, the time for us to roar with excitement came in the 42nd minute, when Gojkovic headed the ball into the net following a well taken free-kick by Soares. The scenes of jubilation on and off the field were incredible. The first half ended shortly afterwards with the Spartan advantage being a true reflection of what was witnessed on the field of play.

The second half started in the same way as the first half had ended; with evident Spartan superiority. The game was played in the half-pitch defended by Valletta. Nevertheless, some slow decision making and lack of brisk team passing meant that the Spartans were not making the best of their territorial superiority. However, in the 58th minute, Soares was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a long-range shot. The territorial advantage continued although Valletta started coming out from their half more prominently. In the 69th minute, a very generous and dubious penalty was awarded to our opponents and after considerable protests from our players, Fontanella converted to equalise the proceedings. This seems to destabilise our team members as the Spartans suddenly seemed to lose the plot and Valletta were taking the upper hand. However, it was Hamrun who squandered an incredible goal scoring opportunity. Mbong won a contrast in midfield and immediately passed the ball to Soares, who advanced by dribbling through two defenders before chipping the ball narrowly wide from very close range with Guarnone visibly beaten. Evidently, this was not going to be the Spartans’ day as Fontanella scored once again in the 74th minute. Micallef committed a foul and our opponents took a quick free-kick which caught our entire rear guard off balance and distracted. Curjuric quickly delivered to Caio Prado who advanced and gave a low cross to Fontanella who put the ball at the back of the net. This was a 5-minute spell that turned the match on its head.

 

The remaining 15 minutes were a constant attack by the Spartans with the Valletta players trying to minimise the pressure and quickly clearing the ball up-field when given the slightest opportunity. However, the Spartans were never really dangerous in the closing stages as most of the play was confused and direct towards the opponent’s penalty area without much creativity in midfield.

 

People learn from mistakes and the Spartans are no different. Let us take what we can from this defeat and move forward with courage and determination. After all, the Spartans never ask who or how many the enemies are, but where they are.

 

Line-Up

Bonello

Corbalan

Gojkovic

Dielna

Micallef

Marcelina           (85’ Oyama)

Djordjevic

Mbong

Soares

Lagzir                  (70’ El Bakhtaoui)

Sasere

 

Photo Credit – Mark Mangion

Spartans, let’s 𝙩𝙞𝙠 𝙩𝙤𝙠

Hamrun Spartans launch TikTok account

Hamrun Spartans have today announced the launch of a brand-new TikTok account, thereby expanding its presence on the social media space.

TikTok is a video-sharing focused social networking service which has massively grown in popularity in the past couple of years particularly among the younger generation.

The Club is already present on a multitude of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

TikTok is used by more than 700 million users internationally and has gained significant popularity in Malta in recent months. Since it caters for a young, dynamic audience, it is also an excellent opportunity to connect with a new generation of users, who are moving away from traditional channels to new, vibrant social media platforms.

Follow us on @hamrunspartansfc.