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Sliema set out their stall

Published: Friday 2 September 2005, 2.00CET
Monthly review: Champions Sliema Wanderers FC have won their opening three games of the new season.
by Domenic Aquilina
from Malta

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Published: Friday 2 September 2005, 2.00CET

Sliema set out their stall

Monthly review: Champions Sliema Wanderers FC have won their opening three games of the new season.
Sliema Wanderers FC are on course for a fourth Maltese title in succession after winning their opening three games of the new season.

Flying start
The champions have made a flying start with a 3-0 win against Hibernians FC being followed by a 6-0 rout of newly promoted Mosta FC and a 4-1 win against fellow newcomers Hamrun Spartans FC. Danilo Doncic has scored five goals already, while new signing Daniel Bogdanovic found the net in all three wins. Sliema are two points clear of both Birkirkara FC and Marsaxlokk FC. Stephen Azzopardi's Birkirkara, who have just signed 27-year-old former Malta midfielder Jonathan Holland, won their opening two games before being held to a 1-1 draw by Marsaxlokk in their third match. It took a 76th-minute equaliser from Michael Galea to deny Marsaxlokk victory.

Bart-Williams form
Marsaxlokk have also won two and drawn one thanks in part to the form of former English Under-21 international Chris Bart-Williams, who joined the club in the summer. The central defender has been made captain and has given his ambitious side confidence and defensive stability. Further down, Hibernians and Pietà Hotspurs FC are level on six points after two wins and a defeat each. Last season's top scorer Andrew Cohen has already scored twice for Hibernians while Pietà have found a new star in Carmelo Sciuto, the Italian hitting two in their 4-2 win against Hamrun Spartans FC.

Tricky start
Last season's FA Trophy finalists Msida St. Joseph FC have had a tricky start to the new campaign, losing their opening two games before Nigerian Olalekan Ibrahim Babatunde guided them to a 3-1 win against Valletta FC in their third. The club recently signed Clint Micallef on a one-year loan deal from Birkirkara. The bottom three places include three famous names - Valletta, Floriana FC and rock-bottom Hamrun, despite the signings of veteran Ivan Zammit and goalkeeper Anthony Mallia. The club also acquired two Nigerian players in Maczerob Okoro and Eric Chidi Nwankwo, who replace the outgoing Iyiabo Iyiabo and Ishaku Umoro.

Briffa out
Floriana have made Jimmy Briffa the first coaching casualty of the new season, having recently released Brazilian Andrea Rocha Da Silva and have brought in Senegalese defender Mohamed Adama Diao in his place. New Dutch technical director Jan Artz may replace Briffa.

Last updated: 02/09/05 18.15CET

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