Floriana extended their positive run to eight matches without defeat as they defeated Qormi 2-1 despite playing for over an hour in ten men.
The Greens therefore stay in third place, ten points ahead Sliema and Birkirkara. For Qormi, this was the fourth defeat in five matches and stay just two points ahead of Balzan Youths who have a game in hand.
Christian Caruana and Pablo Doffo were back for Floriana but Onome Sodje was missing as he recovers from an injury. Qormi, on the other hand, lacked Jonathan Bondin, Joseph Farrugia and Dino Cachia besides Daniel Nwoke who has now been released. Triston Caruana was making his debut for Stephen Azzopardi’s side after joining the club on loan from Hibernians.
Qormi managed to take the lead on 14 minutes when off a Stuart Duff cross from the left, Jorge Pereira da Silva chested the ball down for Abubakar Bello-Osagie to slam the ball home from close range.
Floriana replied with a diagonal shot by Ivan Woods from the right ending just wide on the 20th.
The Greens were reduced to ten men three minutes later when Eric Akoto was sent off for a tackle from behind on Matthew Bartolo.
However on 31 minutes, Floriana levelled matters when there was a short clearance following a freekick from the right by Pablo Doffo and Clyde Borg placed the ball in the corner behind Farrugia.
Floriana went close one again on 44 minutes when a Manolito Micallef effort was turned into a corner. From the resulting corner, a first attempt by Grabowski was blocked but off the rebound, Christian Caruana, placed the ball at the back of the net.
Twelve minutes in the second half, Triston Caruana, served by Mirarchi, had a shot from the edge of the area ending just wide.
In the remaining minutes Qormi held the initiative but the Greens managed to control their opponents to take home the three points.
But just before the final whistle, Jorge Pereira da Silva was sent off for Qormi following a foul on the goalkeeper.
Matthew Bartolo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Jeffrey Chetcuti (72’ Joseph Chetcuti), Roderick Sammut (77’ Luke Sciberras), Matthew Bartolo, Kenneth Scicluna, Federico Mirarchi (82’ Charlon Sammut), Jorge Pereira da Silva, Stuart Duff, Triston Caruana, Stephen Wellman, Abubakar Bello-Osagie.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, Gabriel Buttigieg, Ranier Buhagiar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
FLORIANA Manuel Bartolo, Eric Akoto, Manolito Micallef, Owen Bugeja, Duncan Pisani, Clyde Borg, Pablo Doffo, Andre Grabowski (69’ Malcolm Licari), John Mintoff (26’ Thomas Paris), Christian Caruana (82’ Ryan Darmanin), Ivan Woods.
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Joseph Borg, Francesco Guzman, Christian Cassar.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Frank Schembri
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant referees: Joe Camilleri, Thomas Debono
Fourth official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Caruana, Bugeja, Licari
Red Cards: 23’ Eric Akoto, 90+4’ Jorge Pereira da Silva
Scorers: 14’ Abubakar Bello-Osagie (Q); 31’ Clyde Borg (F); 44’ Christian Caruana (F)
Hibernians returned to winning ways as they defeated neighbours Tarxien Rainbows 2-1 in the derby to move temporarily three points behind leaders Valletta.
For the Rainbows, this was the sixth defeat in seven matches and they remain second from bottom on thirteen points.
Hibernians lacked Edward Herrera and Adrian Pulis while Orosco Anonam, Ricardo Costa, Justin Grioli and Daniel Mariano Bueno were missing for Sliema. The Paolites’ new signing Jackson Lima Siqueira started the game on the bench.
Hibernians took the lead on the 9th minute thanks to a great freekick by Andrew Cohen from the left which gave goalkeeper David Cassar no chance.
On 22 minutes, Peter Anizoba doubled the score as he headed the ball from close range following a perfect cross by Marcelo Dias from the right.
Just before half-time, David Cassar performed a good save on a Tarabai header following a cross by Dias from the right and then a Clayton Failla effort ended just wide.
Twelve minutes in the second half, David Cassar was prominent once again with a good save into a corner on Cohen. From the resulting corner by Failla, Tarabai’s header was parried by the Tarxien custodian. On the hour, Bjorn Kristensen’s header was tipped into a corner by Cassar.
Tarxien were awarded a penalty on 77 minutes after Karl Pulo was brought down inside the area by Jonathan Pearson. From the penalty spot, Jimmy Nzinga-Mayasi converted to pull one back for the Rainbows.
The Rainbows could have equalised on the 90th minute but Warren Zerafa’s effort from the edge of the area, following a pass by Carabott from the left, was neutralised by Mario Muscat
Andrew Cohen was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN David Cassar, Steve Sadowski (46’ Luke Vella Critien), Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Stefan Giglio, Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi, Karl Pulo, Carl Sammut (81′ Warren Zerafa), Ryan Mintoff, Caio Garcia Suguino (46’ Adrian Carabott).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Julian Vella, Lee Galea, Clive Fenech.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
HIBS Mario Muscat, Jonathan Pearson, Aaron Xuereb, Bjorn Kristensen, Andrew Cohen, Rodolfo Soares, Clayton Failla, Marcelo Dias (72’ Jackson Lima Siqueira), Peter Anizoba (72’ Steve Pisani), Jason Vandelannoite, Edison Luis dos Santos.
Subs not used: Nicholas Grima, Ayrton Azzopardi, Keith Tanti, Johann Bezzina, Scott Chircop.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Cohen, Sadowski, Pulo, Mintoff
Scorers: 9’ Andrew Cohen (H); 22’ Peter Anizoba