Hamrun Spartans announce first signing of season

Estonian international defender Nikita Baranov is the first signing for the Premier League Champions for the upcoming 2021/2022 season.

The 28-year-old centre back has been capped 43 times by his country and last played in the Cypriot Premier League with Karmiotissa.

The 1.84m defender will certainly bolster further an already strong Spartans’ backline – the team having conceded the lowest amount of goals among all Premier League teams (20, joint with Hibernians FC) in 23 matches.

The Estonian international has a vast international experience, having not only represented his country in World Cup qualification matches but also played in a number of European leagues, including Norway with Kristiansund and Bulgaria with PFC Beroe Stara Zagora. He had also represented his country at youth level.

AC Milan President congratulates Hamrun S. for winning title

AC Milan President Dr Paolo Scaroni has personally congratulated Hamrun Spartans on the occasion of the Club’s eight Premier League title in a personalised letter addressed to President Joseph Portelli.

Scaroni wrote that he was expressing his congratulations on behalf of all the AC Milan family.

Subsequently, Mr Portelli reciprocated this gesture, congratulating Scaroni and Milan for their qualification in next season’s Champions League while recalling the common factors between the two glorious clubs, the famous red and black jerseys as well as the experience of current Milan Technical Director Paolo Maldini’s son who enjoyed a stint with the Hamrun club back in 2016/7.

Hamrun players dominate MFPA Award Nominees

Hamrun Spartans FC players dominate this year’s nominations for the annual Malta Football Players Association awards.

No less than eleven players from the Premier League winning team feature in the MFPA’s Best XI nominees. These nominations, reflecting a potential starting eleven, are testament to the talent playing with the Hamrun team and also the consistency shown throughout the season, during which the Spartans lost just one game.

The nominated players feature goalkeeper Emmanuel Bartolo, defenders Juan Carlos Corbolan, Karl Micallef, Darko Gojkovic and Elkin Serrano Valero, midfielders Matthew Guillaumier, Emerson Marcelina and Pedrag Djordjevic and strikers Joseph Mbong, Franklin Sasere and Ailton Soares (Dodo).

The winners will be voted by fellow players member of the MFPA.

Hamrun Spartans hold Annual General Meeting

Hamrun Spartans FC held its Annual General Meeting during which the present Committee headed by Mr Joseph Portelli was confirmed for another season.

The President of the Club, Mr Joseph Portelli addressed members providing his perspectives on the season coming to an end and the Club’s targets for the upcoming season.

Mr Portelli expressed his satisfaction that the first season at the helm of the Club produced results which went beyond expectations, particularly the winning of the eighth league title for the Spartans. He added that despite the current challenges related to the Club’s European campaign, the Committee remained steadfast in its commitment to strengthen the squad in order to mount another strong challenge in the upcoming Premier League season.  Aiming to strengthen the unity within the squad, the team will be leaving this weekend for a three-week training camp in Austria.

Referring to the current dispute with UEFA, Portelli said that the Club is obviously disappointed, but not completely surprised, at the outcome of the UEFA decision, and will be challenging the European organisation’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the coming days.

Portelli also updated members on the stadium redevelopment project. He explained that the Club is moving forward with its plans, for which discussions are underway with relevant stakeholders.

The AGM was also addressed by Club CEO Mr Marcel Bonnici who shared details on the important reforms carried out over the past months aimed at strengthening the administrative structure of the Club. Most importantly, these including the setting up of a number of sub-Committees responsible for various issues such as public relations and ground management among others. The Club has also established a Good Governance, Ethics and Disciplinary Board, a first in the Maltese islands.

Spartans Emerge Victorious in Tense Battle

The match against Birkirkara was a much awaited one, even because our only defeat came at the hand of the same Birkirkara. Every Spartan fan regarded this match as a true test for our team’s consistent improvement.

 

The start of the match surely resulted in a lot of Hamrunizi feeling their hearts racing, as Birkirkara started aggressively in the opening minutes. However, our boys immediately showed that they were tactically very well prepared by our coach Mark Buttigieg. This tactical superiority resulted in our beloved Spartans taking the lead as early as the 8th minute through our first real attempt at goal. Mbong, who had an excellent performance throughout the match, provided an accurate ball to Soares who instinctively took a long-range shot that gave goalkeeper Guarnone no chance. The Spartans remained tactically dominant throughout the first half, going close to double the score two minutes later through Sasere. Corbalan, who had a near-perfect performance was very close to increasing the score in the 28th minute, as did Oyama in the 34th minute through an in-swinging free kick.

 

In the second half, Birkirkara upped the game’s tempo and started putting increased pressure on the Hamrun rear-guard. On the 47th minute, Birkirkara were dangerous through Caio Prado but Corbalan managed to avert the danger by blocking the effort. Despite the added pressure, the Spartans remained tactically disciplined and in the 51st minute Mbong once again passed the ball to Soares who this time failed to beat Guarnone. The usual Soares went close once again in the 64th minute but Ntow kept Birkirkara hoping by clearing the ball from the goal-line.

 

The only major inattention came in the 76th minute when the Hamrun rear-guard where found napping and Caio Prado found himself in a 1 vs 1 situation with Bartolo, only for the Hamrun captain to come out on top of the situation and deviate Caio Prado’s first timer into a corner. Having nothing to lose, Birkirkara kept increasing the pressure but our Spartan warriors kept fighting valiantly. In added time, a short back-pass from Alidor provided the opportunity to Soares to advance from midfield towards the Birkirkara goal and seal the issue with his second goal of the day, and his fourth in two matches.

 

This win meant that Birkirkara’s positive run ends after 12 unbeaten matches, while the Spartans’ unbeaten record reaches the 15 match mark. It also leaves us at the top of the table with a 2-point advantage on our closest rivals Hibernians. Most importantly, Spartan fans could lower their heart beat and start breathing again.