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Birkirkara left frustrated in Maribor stalemate

Published: Tuesday 16 July 2013, 23.15CET
Birkirkara FC 0-0 NK Maribor
The Maltese champions rattled the woodwork in each half but could find no way past their more vaunted opponents from Slovenia.
by Domenic Aquilina
from Ta' Qali National Stadium
Birkirkara left frustrated in Maribor stalemate
There was no separating Birkirkara and Maribor in the first leg in Malta ©Domenic Aquilina

Match statistics

BirkirkaraMaribor

Goals scored0
 
0
Total attempts19
 
19
on target4
 
4
off target10
 
6
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork2
 
0
Corners4
 
7
Offsides1
 
0
Yellow cards3
 
1
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed10
 
10
Fouls suffered10
 
10

Standings

 
Published: Tuesday 16 July 2013, 23.15CET

Birkirkara left frustrated in Maribor stalemate

Birkirkara FC 0-0 NK Maribor
The Maltese champions rattled the woodwork in each half but could find no way past their more vaunted opponents from Slovenia.

It finished honours even between Maltese champions Birkirkara FC and Slovenian title holders NK Maribor in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round first leg on the Mediterranean island.

An encouraging performance by Paul Zammit's team at the Ta' Qali National Stadium nonetheless failed to produce an advantage to take to Maribor in eight days' time. The hosts' best moments came towards the end of each half as first Edward Herrera rattled the crossbar of Jasmin Handanovič's goal and then substitute Jean-Pierre Triganza hit the base of the post with Handanovič beaten.

That second scare for Ante Čačić's team came in the 89th minute, as one of four good chances for a positive-looking Birkirkara outfit in which defender Zach Muscat and the fast-running Frank Temile caught the eye. Triganza robbed Aleksander Rajčevič of the ball just outside Maribor's penalty area only to see his fine attempt strike the bottom of the upright. If that would have been ample reward for the Maltese club's efforts on the night, so too Herrera's dipping 39th-minute drive that was too much for Handanovič but not the woodwork.

However, Birkirkara's tactically sound display against diligent opponents, for whom Dejan Mezga impressed in midfield, would earn just a draw and a clean sheet. Still, the stalemate was perhaps a reflection of an even second half which whetted the appetite for the second leg in Slovenia next Wednesday, 24 July.

Last updated: 17/07/13 0.18CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000476/match=2011679/postmatch/report/index.html#birkirkara+left+frustrated

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