Hamlan Spartans yesterday wrote a golden chapter not only for themselves but for all of Malta football, becoming the first local team to reach the play-off stage of the UEFA European Conference League.
It was a heroic performance for the Spartans to open the match against all odds after a bitter and undeserved defeat at Ta’ Qali seven days earlier.
However, Hamlan, as expected, was able to contain an opponent who had more balls, especially early in the game.
However, Hamlan did not lose his head and played a majestic match with Emerson Marcelina in excellent form.
Then, late in the second half, coach Branko Nisević changed the batting duo as Hamlan made a last-ditch effort to defend their qualification.
And indeed, the Spartans were led by Mathieu Guillaume, who silenced Levski’s fans.
Levski responded aggressively, but Hamlan defended well and looked to force extra time when Levski scored the equalizer from a corner action seconds into injury time.
I was looking for a brave Spartan, but there was none. Sixty seconds after he conceded Levski’s equalizer, Hamlan regained a dramatic lead when, after the Dodo anticipated a rather hesitant Levski goalkeeper, Ryan’s Camenzouri struck a beautiful shot in the top corner. rice field.
The game went to overtime. Both had good scoring chances, but Levski equalized in the final minutes of the 120th minute.
This was Hamlan’s most difficult moment as the Spartans were forced into their own area and were unable to create a counter-break. However, the score remained unchanged and the issue had to be decided in penalties.
Malta goalkeeper Henry Bonello proved himself a hero for Hamrun, saving two of Levski’s three.
Hamran was accurate from a spot kick, scoring all four goals, the last one coming from Federe. This was repeated by the referee because Levski’s goalkeeper Mikhailov did not stay on his line of goal before the kick was taken.
On his second attempt, Federe definitely put the ball under the crossbar, giving the Spartans this historic entitlement.
Freitas. Guillaumet and Luke Montebello turned his three penalties in front spectacularly. Meanwhile, Henry Bonello denied Tsunami, the scorer of Levski’s goal yesterday, and Krustev, the player who scored in the 95th minute at his Cali.
Hamran’s next trip will be in Serbia, where they will face Partizan Belgrade, who drew 2-2 in Belgrade yesterday and were eliminated 3-4 on aggregate by AEK Larnaca of Cyprus.
This is another challenge for the Spartans, who are one step away from the group stage of the European competition.
After eliminating Armenia’s Alashkert, Bosnia’s Velez Mostar and Levski Sofia, it looks like nothing is impossible for the Spartans.
Levski Sofia 1 Hamran S 2 (Hamran wins 4-1 at the pen)
Levski Sofia: Nikolai Mikhailov, Jeremy Arnaud Petris (89 Patrick Gabriel Galchev), Kilian van der Kaap, Wanderson Tsunami, Andrian Kulaev, Welton Felipe (115 feet Marin Plamenov) Petkov), Ronaldo (89 Ilyanstefanov), Bilal Bali, Noah Sonko-Sandberg, Philip Krusteff, Jose Cordova.
Hamran S: Henry Bonero, Ederson Bruno Domingos (85′ Ayrton Jorge Soares), Matthew Guillaume, Loco Prusa (118 Matteo Fedele), Rodrigo Caregari Torre, Ognien Bielicic (120 Vinicius Freitas), Juan Carlos Corbaran (106 Luke Montebello), Igor Nederikovic (72′ Elvis Masique), Johnny Roberto de Nascimento (72′ Musa Barra Sowe), Emerson Marcelina and Ryan Kamensli.
Referee: István Kovács (Romania)
https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-08-12/football/Heroic-Spartans-Hamrun-beat-Levski-Sofia-to-move-to-the-play-off-stages-of-Conference-League-6736245135 Heroic Spartans: Hamlan Defeats Levski Sofia to Advance to Conference League Playoff Stage