Hamrun Spartans' brave second display not enough to avoid defeat against Lincoln Red Imps

Hamrun Spartans lost 0-1 to Lincoln Red Imps in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.

Having a player sent off early in the game made things difficult for Spartans, conceding a goal towards the end of the first half and atlhough just before half-time, the visitors also had a player sent off and Hamrun tried their best to restore equilibrium, they failed to penetrate the opponents’ rear-guard.

The return match between Lincoln Red Imps and Hamrun Spartans will be played at the Europa Point Stadium in Gibraltar in a week’s time with Hamrun needing a win by two goals or more to reach the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. Otherwise they would proceed to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League.

Making his debut for Hamrun Spartans was coach Alessandro Zinnari who named new recruits Mayron, Wendel Barros and Raphael Lopes in the starting line-up. Another three new signings, Mattias Ellul, Talison and Vitao were included as substitutes.

The Spartans received a major setback after just ten minutes when Elionay was sent off for what was adjudged as a violent tackle on Tjay De Barr.

The Gibraltar champions tested Bonello with a Kike Gomez header and a Nano corner but the Malta international goalkeeper performed good saves.

Eight minutes from the end of the first half, Lincoln Red Imps forged ahead when Ethan Britto rounded Juan Corbalan on the left and entered the area, beating Bonello with a diagonal shot. 

One minute from the end of the first half, Lincoln Red IMpos were also reduced to ten men as Kike Gomez received a second yellow card.

Two minutes in added time, Tjay De Barr ended on the ground when challenged by Emerson Marcelina; the referee ordered a penalty but then overturned his decision after VAR review.

Deep into stoppage time, Ryan Camenzuli tested goalkeeper Nauzet Santana with a cross shot from the left.

Two minutes in the second half, Roko Prsa went close with a shot from outside the area ending just over the bar. The visitors replied with a Nano freekick which was neutralised by Bonello.

Raphael Lopes had a great freekick tipped into a corner by Santana on 66 minutes and from the resulting corner, the ball reached Eder whose conclusion was deflected into another corner.

On 78 minutes, off a cross by Corbalan from the right, the ball was deflected by a defender and Prsa headed just over the bar and three minutes later, a cross shot from the left by Talison was parried by the Lincoln custodian.

Finally, one minute from time, following an assist by Prsa, Juan Corbolan had a shot from inside the area blocked.

HAMRUN Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Joseph Mbong (68’ Luke Montebello), Roko Prsa, Elionay, Wendel Barros (80’ Talison), Juan Corbalan, Mayron (46’ Eder), Emerson Marcelina, Ryan Camenzuli (85’ Mattias Ellul), Raphael Lopes (85’ Vitao).

LINCOLN RED IMPS Nauzet Santana, Ibrahim Ayew (68’ Rafael Munoz), Bernardo Lopes, Kike Gomez, Tjay De Barr (86’ Carlos Cid Alvarez), Ethan Britto (80’ Pedro Jose Martin Moreno), Nano, Joe (80’ Graeme Torrilla), John Sergeant, Daniel Bent, Victor Villacanas Morales (70’ Lee Casciaro).

Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)

Assistant Referees: Dejan Kostadinov, Goca Petreski (MKD)

Fourth Official: Jovan Kachevski (MKD)

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