Hamrun S 1
The Hamrun Spartans’ brilliant adventure in the Conference League will most likely end with the draw against Partizan, as the Belgrade side won the first leg yesterday 4-1. Hamrun played another great game yesterday, dictated things for long stretches but was punished, harshly punished by a more refined and experienced team.
However, Hamrun held his head high and was a joy to watch. Rarely, if ever, has a Maltese club played with such confidence and authority away from and against such opposition.
Hamrun started the attack against opponents with confidence and keeping possession of the ball for long stretches. However, at nine minutes Camenzuli lost possession of the ball with Menig testing Bonello who saved in style.
In the 15th minute, Partizan broke the deadlock when Zivkovic split the Spartans defense with an accurate pass and Gomes rounded Bonello before shooting low into the net with Marcellina’s efforts to block the ball to no avail. Hamrun continued to retain possession but were dealt another setback in the 25th minute when, from a corner, Vujacic headed towards Urosevic who headed home from close range.
In the 33rd minute, Hamrun was further punished when Diabate finished off a quick Partizan counter-break in style, a counter-break that left the Spartan defenders in shock. In the closing stages of the first half, Hamrun managed to pull one back through Corbalan, but the goal was disallowed as Jonny had previously fouled the Partizan keeper.
At the start of the second half, Hamrun had a good chance when a Guillaumier header from a Prsa corner went slightly over the bar. The goal came in the 52nd minute when, on a Jonny corner, Matthew Guillaumier headed home.
Four minutes later, Hamrun closed again when a close-range header from Matthew Guillaumier was brilliantly saved by Popovic. Hamrun continued to attack but gave way to Partizan’s ever-threatening breaks, and in the 70th minute Andrade scored the fourth goal, a goal that could easily have been avoided by the Spartans’ rear guard.
Towards the end of the match, Hamrun continued to attack, coming close to scoring another goal through substitutes Montebello and Sowe.
Partizan: Aleksandar Popovic, Sinisa Sanicanin, Igor Vujacic, Svetozar Markovic, Patrick Andrade (82′ Nemanja Jovic), Queensy Menig (59′ Kristijan Belic), Ricardo (90′ Nikola Terzic), Ljubomir Fejsa, Marko Zivkovic, Foussein Diabate (90 ‘ Samed Bazdar), Slobodan Urosevic.
Hamrun S: Henry Bonello, Ederson Bruno Domingos (72′ Luke Montebello), Steve Borg, Matthew Guillaumier, Roko Prsa, Ognjen Bjelicic, Juan Carlos Corbalan (78′ Mousa Balla Sowe), Igor Nedeljkovic (46′ Elvis Mashike), Jonny Robert do Nascimento (72′ Ailton Jorge Soares ‘Dodo’), Emerson Marcelina, Ryan Camenzuli.
Referee: Filip Glova (Slovakia)
Photo: Domenic Aquilina