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Zahra back for title push

Published: Monday 8 March 2004, 14.00CET
Malta review: Antoine Zahra has returned for Birkirkara FC as they contest the title with Sliema Wanderers FC.

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Published: Monday 8 March 2004, 14.00CET

Zahra back for title push

Malta review: Antoine Zahra has returned for Birkirkara FC as they contest the title with Sliema Wanderers FC.
Title and relegation issues are very much to the fore in Malta while the return of Birkirkara FC captain Antoine Zahra has also made the headlines.

Going well
After the first two matches of the championship pool stage, Sliema Wanderers FC lead the way on 27 points, three ahead of nearest challengers Birkirkara. Both teams are in fine form, but neither can afford to slip up in their remaining games.

Mifsud on fire
Sliema began the final stage with a 2-1 win against Pieta' Hotspurs FC despite going behind to a Keith Fenech goal. The champions hit back with a penalty from Stefan Giglio and Danilo Doncic's 13th goal of the season. That was followed up on Friday by a 2-0 victory against Floriana FC taking the club's unbeaten streak to eleven matches. Malta striker Michael Mifsud scored his third goal in four matches before a late strike from Kevin Sammut.

Dronca holds nerve
On the same day, Birkirkara kept up the pressure on the leaders with a 3-1 win over Hibernians FC. Two well-taken penalties from Lucien Dronca and a ninth goal of the season for Haruna Doda made Miguel Mifsud's goal nothing more than a consolation. A week before Hibernians had beaten Floriana FC 3-1.

Late drama
Also the week before, Zahra had returned after a lengthy injury lay-off with a stunning free-kick in the 4-3 win against Marsaxlokk FC. It only took him eight minutes after coming on as a substitute to score and give his side a 3-1 advantage. However, Marsaxlokk battled back to draw level before William Camenzuli struck the winner for Birkirkara just before the final whistle.

Ekwe dismissed
In the remaining championship pool match played on Sunday, Marsaxlokk and Pieta' played out a goalless draw. To make matters worse for Pieta' they had Alain Ekwe sent off five minutes from time. However, they can at least take comfort from the fact they are not involved in the relegation pool.

Staying alive
There are four teams battling for survival in that section, from which the bottom two are demoted. Msida St. Joseph FC did their survival hopes the power of good with a 3-1 win against rock-bottom Hamrun Spartans FC.

Valletta happy
Msida are now just one point behind Balzan Youths FC, who have nine points and are in the second of the two safe positions. Valletta FC are six points ahead of Balzan and seemingly set for another season in the top flight, especially after beating their nearest rivals 3-1 a week ago.

Last updated: 08/03/04 18.07CET

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