Hibernians failed to keep the pace with leaders Valletta as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw with Floriana.
Hibs are now six points behind the Citizens with the Greens lying in third place thirteen points behind the leaders.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal on 36 minutes with an Andrew Cohen freekick saved by new Floriana goalkeeper Patrick Jansen.
Five minutes later, Ivan Woods concluded a good run with a low shot which was blocked by Muscat.
Just before the break, Alandson Da Silva chipped the ball over the Hibs goalkeeper but it bounced and ended over the crossbar.
Four minutes in the second half, Edison Luis dos Santos failed to connect off a through pass by Herrera and on the hour, Christian Caruana advanced on the right for Floriana but his feeble shot was easily neutralised by Muscat.
Tarabai went close on 63 minutes with a shot from inside the area which hit the side netting. On the other side of the pitch, a Manolito Micallef low drive from the 30 metres was blocked by Muscat on 78 minutes. Three minutes from time, a header by the Floriana captain, off a freekick by Doffo, was parried by the Hibs goalkeeper.
Finally on the 90th, substitute Andre Grabowski received a good pass by Woods but his low shot ended a little bit wide past the upright.
Patrick Jansen was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Patrick Jansen, Eric Akoto, Owen Bugeja John Mintoff (59’ Christian Cassar), Pablo Doffo, Manolito Micallef, Christian Caruana (76’ Ryan Darmanin), Ivan Woods, Duncan Pisani, Joseph Borg, Alandson Da Silva (80’ Andre Grabowski).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Thomas Paris, Malcolm Licari, Clyde Borg.
Coach: Michael Woods
Assistant Coach: Frank Schembri
HIBS Mario Muscat, Edward Herrera (71’ Johann Bezzina), Aaron Xuereb, Jonathan Pearson, Steve Pisani, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen, Clayton Failla, Jackson Di Lima Siquera, Jason Vandelannoite (71’ Marcelo Dias), Edison Luis Dos Santos
Subs not used: Nicholas Grima, Ayrton Azzopardi, Adrian Pulis, Keith Tanti, Dylan Sammut.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Richard Mercieca
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Mariano Debono
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Mintoff, Herrera, Failla, Pisani, J. Borg, Tarabai, Jackson Lima
Birkirkara secured a place in the Championship Pool as they beat Tarxien Rainbows 3-1.
Paul Zammit’s side took the lead after just 3 minutes when Shaun Bajada advanced from midfield and dribbled past the Tarxien defence, his perfect through ball found Jorge Santos Silva inside the penalty area, whose diagonal low shot beat the Tarxien goalkeeper.
Tarxien replied with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area by Ricardo Costa which was blocked by Reuben Gauci on 12 minutes. Three minutes later, Ricardo Costa sent Jimmy Mayasi through and the latter’s attempt was blocked by the Birkirkara keeper.
On the other side of the pitch, a Mifsud Triganza low diagonal shot went a little bit wide past the upright on the 18th. Six minutes later, Mifsud Triganza failed to connect off an inviting pass by Santos Silva.
Birkirkara were awarded a penalty on 28 minutes after Lee Galea brought Mifsud Triganza down inside the area. However Shola Shodiya’s central shot was easily blocked by the goalkeeper.
The Stripes however doubled the score five minutes from the end of the first half when off a through pass by Angus Buhagiar for Shaun Bajada, the latter exchanged the ball with Shodiya Haruna Shola before placing the ball at the back of the net.
Birkirkara increased the lead three minutes in the second half thanks to Shaun Bajada whose first-time effort, when served by Mifsud Triganza, beat Nicky Vella.
Tarxien pulled one back nine minutes from time when Ricardo Costa sent Daniel Mariano Bueno through and the latter placed the ball at the back of the net.
Shaun Bajada was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Nicholas George Vella, Carlo Mamo, Everton Antonio Pereira, Stefan Gigllio, Adrian Carabott (46’ Orosco Anonam), Ricardo Costa, Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi, Karl Pulo (46’ Daniel Mariano Bueno), Mark Tanti, Ryan Mintoff, Lee Galea.
Subs not used – David Cassar, Steven Sadowski, Warren Zerafa, Clive Fenech, Julian Vella,
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Assistant Coach: Michael Church
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Ryan Scicluna, Joseph Zerafa, Nikola Vukanac, Shaun Bajada, Gareth Sciberras, Rodrigo Pereira, Angus Buhagiar, Shola Shodiya-Haruna (74’ Moises Avila-Perez), Jorge Santos Silva (86’ Michael Camilleri), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (80’ Ryan Camenzuli).
Subs not used: Karl Magri, Paul Fenech, Antoine Borg, Roderick Taliana.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Pereira, Giglio, Sciberras