Tarxien Rainbows earned a second point in a second consecutive draw as they held Sliema Wanderers in a 1-1 draw to join Hamrun Spartans on the 15-point mark. The two teams are now joint-second from bottom.
For the Blues, this was a disappointing result after holding leaders Valletta in the previous outing although they had to play for around half an hour in ten men after having Josef Mifsud sent off.
Making their debut for the Wanderers were new signings Trevor Cilia and Nikola Bogdanovic. Tarxien welcomed back Ricardo Costa but lacked Steve Sadowski, Carl Sammut and Daniel Mariano Bueno.
The Blues could not have a better start as they managed to take the lead on the 4th minute thanks to a direct freekick by Cleavon Frendo which gave Nicky Vella no chance.
Tarxien replied with a Karl Pulo header which was parried by Bonello on 17 minutes.
The Rainbows levelled matters on 31 minutes. A Ricardo Costa effort was deflected by Henry Bonello and off the rebound, Karl Pulo slammed the ball home.
Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi hit wide for Tarxien on 37 minutes and three minutes later, Cleavon Frendo had a good attempt ending just over the bar. A Jerry Ani effort was tipped into a corner by Nicky Vella.
Sliema went close with good shots by Ani and Lattes early in the second half ending just wide. On 66 minutes, Josef Mifsud picked a second yellow card and was therefore given marching orders by referee Fyodor Zammit.
Henry Bonello performed a great save on Karl Pulo on 69 minutes. Finally in added time, Emiliano Lattes went close for Sliema but missed a good opportunity hitting wide.
Karl Pulo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana (74′ Mark Tanti), Everton Antonio Pereira, Adrian Carabott, Ricardo Costa, Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi, Karl Pulo (85′ Warren Zerafa), Orosco Anonam, Ryan Mintoff, Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Stefan Giglio, Julian Vella, Lee Galea, Clive Fenech.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Nikola Bogdanovic, Josef Mifsud, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Trevor Cilia, Ryan Fenech, Rumen Galabov, Jerry Ani (90′ Ryan Dalli), Emiliano Lattes, Cleavon Frendo (85′ Dejan Vukovic).
Subs not used: Keane Cutajar, Paolo Dandolo.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Saviour Debono Grech
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Mifsud, Mayasi, Gatt Baldacchino, Anonam, Mintoff
Red Cards: 65′ Josef Mifsud
Scorers: 4′ Cleavon Frendo (S); 31′ Karl Pulo (T)
Hibernians moved one point behind leaders Valletta as two second-half goals gave them a 2-0 win over Qormi.
For the Paolites, this was the third successive win. On the other hand, this was the sixth defeat in seven matches for Qormi who are now seeing hopes of securing a top six finish fade off.
Jorge Pereira da Silva was missing once again for Stephen Azzopardi’s side but they had Ivorian defender Vincent Kouadio making his debut. Hibernians lacked Ryan Camilleri, Adrian Pulis and Aaron Xuereb but welcomed back Andrew Cohen.
Hibernians had the first attempt at goal on the 9th minute with a Jason Vandelannoite effort blocked on the goal line by Vincent Kouadio.
On the hour hour, the Paolites went close when off a corner by Andrew Cohen, Jason Vandelannoite headed the ball in the direction of Bjorn Kristensen whose header was neutralised by Sultana.
On the other side of the pitch, Abubakar Bello-Osagie released Luke Sciberras on the left but the latter’s angled shot ended just wide on 41 minutes.
Hibs managed to break the deadlock four minutes in the second half when off a cross by Clayton Failla, defender Vincent Kouadio’s ball-control left much to be desired and Andrew Cohen hit home from close range.
Qormi replied with a low shot by on-loan midfielder Triston Caruana which was parried by Mario Muscat on 53 minutes. Eleven minutes later, Rodolfo Soares came to the rescue for Hibernians as he blocked off the goal-line a goal-bound header by substitute Joseph Chetcuti.
Peter Anizoba missed a fine opportunity on 68 minutes, hitting the ball wide off an inviting cross by Failla from the left.
Five minutes from time, Hibernians doubled the score when off a cross from the right by substitute Marcelo Dias, Peter Anizoba headed the ball home from close range.
Andrew Cohen was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Steve Sultana, Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Farrugia, Luke Sciberras (75′ Caio Garcia Suguino), Federico Mirarchi (69′ Stephen Wellman), Jonathan Bondin, Kris Thackray, Triston Caruana, Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Vincent Kouadio Adioumani (59′ Joseph Chetcuti).
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Carmelo Farrugia, Jeremy Farrugia, Ranier Buhagiar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
HIBS Mario Muscat, Edward Herrera (72′ Steve Pisani), Jonathan Pearson, Jason Vandelannoite, Rodolfo Soares, Bjorn Kristensen, Jackson Lima Siqueira, Andrew Cohen, Clayton Failla, Peter Anizoba Chizoba, Edison Luis dos Santos (84′ Marcelo Dias).
Subs not used: Nicky Grima, Johann Bezzina, Scott Chircop, Ayrton Azzopardi, Keith Tanti.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Glenn Tonna
Yellow Cards: Failla, Kouadio, Vandelannoite, Thackray, Bello-Osagie, Bondin
Scorers: 49′ Andrew Cohen, 85′ Peter Anizoba