A brace by Obinna Obiefule gave Mosta a 2-1 win over Floriana to bring to an end the Greens’ unbeaten run.
Mosta now move to just three points behind Qormi although they are still eighth. Floriana, on the other hand, who were coming from a run of nine matches without defeat, stay five points behind second-placed Hibernians.
The Blues lacked the injured Dyson Falzon but had Terence Vella making his debut after joining the club on loan from Birkirkara. Floriana, on the other hand, had Italian defender Alessio Restuccia making his first appearance for the club while Onome Sodje and Eric Akoto were both missing.
The Blues held the initiative during the first half, having the first attempt at goal on the 15th minute with an Obinna Obiefule effort ending just wide.
Mosta managed to take the lead on 26 minutes when Obinna Obiefule exchanged the ball with Ian Zammit and advanced into the area before hitting low past Manuel Bartolo.
Adrian Borg went close again for Mosta with a shot from close range and then Kurt Magro released Obiefule on the right but the latter’s shot was blocked by Bartolo on 31 minutes.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Kurt Magro headed high off a Terence Vella cross from the left. Floriana replied with a Pablo Doffo freekick hitting the crossbar in added time.
The Greens equalised on the 67th minute when off a Pablo Doffo freekick from the right, Andre Grabowski’s header was blocked but off the rebound, the same player polaced the ball at the back of the net.
On the 81st minute, Manolito Micallef just failed to connect off an inviting cross by Grabowski from the left. One minute later, a powerful drive by Ian Zammit ended just over the bar.
One minute in added time, Mosta notched the winner when off a long through pass by Kurt Magro, Obinna Obiefule advanced upfield and rounded Owen Bugeja before beating Bartolo with a powerful shot from inside the area.
Pablo Doffo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Manuel Bartolo, Owen Bugeja, Thomas Paris, Duncan Pisani, Pablo Doffo, Andre Grabowski, Ivan Woods, Manolito Micallef, Christian Caruana (58′ John Mintoff), Clyde Borg (70′ Joseph Borg), Alessio Restuccia (46′ Malcolm Licari).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Francesco Guzman, Brooke Farrugia, Ryan Darmanin.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Frank Schembri
MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Adrian Borg, Kane Farrugia, Federico Tisbi, Yannick Ossok, Terence Vella (74′ Gilbert Martin), Florent Raimy (81′ Predrag Mirceta), Jonathan Bajada (90′ Sheldon Grech), Kurt Magro, Ian Zammit, Obinna Obiefule.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Luca Martinelli, Alex Cini, Firas Aboulezz.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Zammit, Paris, Ossok, Raimy, Mirceta, Doffo
Scorers: 26′ Obinna Obiefule (M); 67′ Andre Grabowski (F); 90+1′ Obinna Obiefule (M)
Leaders Valletta returned to winning ways as they defeated Marsaxlokk 5-2 with Malta international striker Michael Mifsud notching a hat-trick.
The Citizens move four points ahead of Hibernians and nine ahead of Floriana. Marsaxlokk, on the other hand, remain anchored at the bottom of the table. For them, this was the seventh consecutive defeat.
Burkina Faso international Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri and Roderick Bajada made their first appearance for the Citizens when they were included as substitutes during the second half. Marsaxlokk, on the other hand, had Serbian midfielder Ivan Kurtusic and Brazilian striker Alex Cesar Pedrozo making their debut.
Valletta took the lead on the 8th minute when off a pass by Ousseni Zongo for Ian Azzopardi, the latter served Michael Mifsud who controlled the ball before hitting past Christian Cassar.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, William Barbosa doubled the score as his freekick hit the posts with the ball bouncing on the goalkeeper and into the net.
Just before half-time, Valletta were awarded a penalty after a shot by Ousseni Zongo was apparently handled by Modesto Valeriani. Referee Esther Azzopardi sent off the Italian defender after showing him a second yellow card. From the penalty spot, Michael Mifsud converted.
Eight minutes in the second half, the referee ordered another penalty after Nemanja Stoskovic was floored inside the area by Jonathan Caruana. From the penalty spot, Trevor Templeman made no mistake to reduce the gap.
Michael Mifsud was then unlucky to hit the foot of the upright with a shot from outside the area on 58 minutes. Six minutes later, Denni sent Mifsud through but the latter’s shot was blocked by Cassar before being eventually cleared into a corner.
The Marsaxlokk goalkeeper managed to turn into a corner a powerful shot by Edmond Agius on 76 minutes as the Citizens maintained the pressure in their bid to increase the lead.
The Citizens scored the fourth goal on the 80th minute as Michael Mifsud received a through pass, advanced into the area, pulling to the right and hitting home.
Valletta were awarded on the 85th from time after Patrick Borg brought Caruana down inside the area. Steve Borg converted to increase the lead to 5-1.
However two minutes from time, Trevor Templeman scored a second goal for Marsaxlokk in a swift counter-attack after receiving a perfect pass by Stoskovic and beating Hogg with a low shot.
Michael Mifsud was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Edmond Agius, Ousseni Zongo (81′ Siraj Arab), Denni Rocha dos Santos (72′ Roderick Bajada), Alfred Effiong (61′ Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri), William Barbosa, Michael Mifsud.
Subs not used: Matthew Towns, Gilbert Agius, Nahuel Pulitano Jimenez, Samir Arab.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst. Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
M’XLOKK Christian Cassar, Modesto Valeriani, Jermain Brincat, Clive Brincat, Jonathan Xerri (81′ Craig Debattista), Trevor Templeman, Nemanja Stoskovic, Jean Paul Farrugia (46′ Patrick Borg), Gary Caruana (67′ Sunday Eboh), Ivan Kurtusic, Alex Cesar Pedrozo.
Subs not used: Jurgen Muscat, Darrell Grech, Luke Agius, Peter Taiye Oladotun.
Coach: Anton Cremona
Asst. Coach: Louis Cutajar
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Valeriani
Red Cards: 45+1′ Modesto Valeriani
Scorers: 8′ Michael Mifsud (V); 43′ William Barbosa (V); 45+1′ Michael Mifsud pen (V); 54′ Trevor Templeman pen (M); 80′ Michael Mifsud (V); 85′ Steve Borg pen (V); 88′ Trevor Templeman (M)