Balzan Youths secured a place in the Championship Pool and hence made sure of retaining their Premier League status for the first time in the history of the club thanks to a narrow win over Tarxien Rainbows.
The Youths created lots of scoring opportunities but failed to convert these chances into more goals and late in the game, goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri was prominent with some fine saves which enabled them to keep the Rainbows at bay and take home the three points.
Balzan will start the Championship Pool with sixteen points while the Rainbows will start their commitments in the Relegation Pool with nine.
Brazilian midfielder Luis Romulo De Castro was making his debut for the Rainbows but they lacked Justin Grioli, Karl Pulo and Manuel Caruana. Bledjon Guga was missing for Balzan as he was serving a one-match ban.
Tarxien went close on the 9th with a Ricardo Costa header off a cross by Mark Tanti. Balzan replied with a through pass by Martin Deanov on a minute later but Nicky Vella rushed out of the area to anticipate Anthony Eviparker.
The Youths took the lead on 18 minutes thanks to a direct freekick by Pedro dos Santos Calcado which beat goalkeeper Nicky Vella.
On 31 minutes, a diagonal shot by Ricardo Costa ended just wide. An Anthony Eviparker effort on the 40th minute was partially saved by Vella and off the rebound, the Tarxien custodian neutralised Nikola Tasic’s conclusion. A minute later, another Eviparker effort from the edge of the area was blocked by Vella.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, a freekick by Pedrinho was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, Clifton Ciantar’s effort was parried by the Tarxien goalkeeper.
Balzan appealed for a penalty on the 59 minute when Anthony Eviparker ended on the ground after concluding a good run by rounding the goalkeeper. However referee Trustin Farrugia Cann waved play on.
Goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri performed a great save into a corner on a Daniel Mariano Bueno effort, served by Ricardo Costa on 63 minutes.
The Youths missed a great chance on the 70th when off a Martin Deyanov cross from the left, Anthony Eviparker headed the ball down for Nikola Tasic who hit incredibly high from close range. Three minutes later, a diagonal shot by Eviparker ended just wide.
Everton Antonio Pereira was sent off for Tarxien leaving his side playing in ten men for the final ten minutes.
Matthew Camilleri then performed another great save on Luis Romulo de Castro on 83 minutes.
Pedro dos Santos Calcado was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Jonathan Francica, Rennie Forace, Yessous Camilleri, Dylan Grima, Clifton Ciantar (90′ Roderick Farrugia), Jamie Pace, Nikola Tasic, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Martin Deyanov (84′ Lydon Micallef), Anthony Eviparker (73′ Glenn Bonello).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Bjorn Bondin, Michael Borg, Miguel Ciantar.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Carlo Mamo, Everton Antonio Pereira, Adrian Carabott, Ricardo Costa, Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi (56′ Daniel Mariano Bueno), Mark Tanti, Luís Rómulo de Castro, Orosco Anonam, Ryan Mintoff.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Stefan Giglio, Warren Zerafa, Clive Fenech, Julian Vella, Lee Galea.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Costa, Anonam, C. Ciantar, Everton
Scorers: 18′ Pedro dos Santos Calcado
Attendance at V. Tedesco Stadium: 671
Qormi came from behind to beat ten-man Marsaxlokk 2-1 but their win was not enough to avoid playing in the Relegation Pool for a second successive season.
The Yellow Blacks will be leading the way in the Relegation Pool with 15 points, followed by Mosta on 12 and Mqabba on 10. Marsaxlokk start at the bottom with six points, three behind Tarxien Rainbows.
Roderick Sammut, Joseph Chetcuti, Kris Thackray and Abubakar Bello-Osagie were all missing for Qormi. Marsaxlokk coach Anton Cremona, on the other hand, could not count on Craig Debattista and Kevin Polidano.
Qormi had the first attempt at goal on the 4th minute when off a Joseph Farrugia freekick, Jorginho served Triston Caruana whose attempt was cleared by Sunday Eboh’s over-head kick. Three minutes later, Marsaxlokk goalkeeper Christian Cassar managed to save Joseph Farrugia’s freekick.
Marsaxlokk were then reduced to ten men on 22 minutes as Trevor Templeman received a second yellow card and was therefore given marching orders by referee Malcolm Spiteri. Another freekick by Farrugia ended just over the bar a minute later.
The Southseasiders suprisingly managed to take the lead on 32 minutes when Peter Taiye Oladotun released Alex Pedrozo who beat goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia with a low shot from inside the area.
Qormi levelled matters five minutes later when Jorge Pereira da Silva received a through pass by Farrugia, advanced on the left and hit low past Cassar
Just before half-time, Qormi forged ahead when off a corner by Pereira, Wellman passed the ball back to Triston Caruana and the latter’s low shot beats the Marsaxlokk keeper.
Ten minutes in the second half, a Joseph Farrugia long-distance effort ended just over the bar. On the other side of the pitch, on 67 minutes, Peter Taiye Oladotun advanced on the right and his conclusion was deflected into a corner by Kenneth Scicluna. Finally ten minutes later, Jean Paul Farrugia failed to connect off an inviting cross from the right by Modesto Valeriani.
Joseph Farrugia was voted BOV Player of the Match.
M’XLOKK Christian Cassar, Modesto Valeriani, Clive Brincat (85′ Sacha Borg), Trevor Templeman, Jermain Brincat, Nemanja Stoskovic, Sunday Eboh, Jean Paul Farrugia, Gary Caruana (71′ Luke Agius), Peter Taiye Oladatun (93′ Gabriel Buttigieg), Alex Cesar Pedrozo.
Subs not used: Jurgen Muscat, Darrell Grech, Darren Attard, Patrick Borg.
Coach: Anton Cremona
Assistant Coach: Louis Cutajar
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Farrugia, Luke Sciberras, Kenneth Scicluna, Federico Mirarchi, Jorge Pereira da Silva, Jonathan Bondin, Triston Caruana, Stephen Wellman (82′ George Chircop), Vincent Kouadio.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, Caio Garcia Suguino, Alessio Cassar, Ranier Buhagiar, Christian Briffa.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella & Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: T. Templeman, S. Eboh, J. Farrugia, T. Caruana, P. Oladotun, C. Brincat
Red Cards: 22′ Trevor Templeman
Scorers: 32’ Alex Cesar Pedrozo (M); 37’ Jorge da Silva Pereira (Q); 45′ Triston Caruana (Q)
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 739
Sliema Wanderers will be starting their Championship Pool commitments in fourth place on 18 points as they registered a third consecutive win, defeating Mosta 2-0.
Mosta, on the other hand, will start the Relegation Pool in second place on 12 points.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation due to the several players injured or suspended. For Sliema, Mark Scerri, Andrew Decesare and Jerry Ani were unavailable due to an injury while Beppe Muscat, Ryan Fenech and Rumen Galabov were ruled out through suspension. Mosta coach Steve D’Amato, Yannick Ossok, Federico Tisbi, Florent Raimy and the injured Bryan Agius and Dyson Falzon were all missing.
The Wanderers had the first attempt at goal on the 7th minute with a shot by Danial Mitev ending just wide. Mosta replied with an Ian Zammit freekick ending wide on 28 minutes. Ten minutes later, Obinna Obiefule went close with a cute lob from the left but his conclusion scraped past the post.
Seven minutes in the second half, Anicet Eyenga was unlucky not to put the Wanderers ahead with a fine header off a Daniel Mitev freekcik from the left.
However a few seconds later, Sliema forged ahead when Alex Muscat gained possession of the ball on the right, serving Emiliano Lattes whose rising shot gave goalkeeper Jonathan Debono no chance.
The Wanderers doubled the score on 63 minutes thanks to a header by Anicet Eyenga following a corner from the left by Mitev.
Mosta replied with an Ian Zammit freekick which was parried by Bonello on the 70th minute. On the 81st minute, Jonathan Debono performed a good save on Steve Bezzina following a corner by Mitev from the right.
Five minutes from time, Ian Zammit was sent off for Mosta after picking a second yellow card for a foul on Bogdanovic.
Danial Mitev was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Nikola Bogdanovic, Josef Mifsud, Ryan Grech, Anicet Eyenga, Danial Mitev, Steve Bezzina (89′ Zac Micallef), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Trevor Cilia (25′ Ryan Dalli) (72′ Andrew Caligari), Emiliano Lattes.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Keane Cutajar, Cleavon Frendo.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Saviour Debono Grech
MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Adrian Borg, Kane Farrugia, Luca Martinelli, Alex Cini, Jonathan Bajada, Kurt Magro, Predrag Mirceta (74′ Sheldon Grech), Ian Zammit, Zakaria Kibona, Obinna Obuiefule (45′ Gilbert Martin).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, John Paul Grima, Terence Vella, Pio Vassallo, Firas Aboulezz.
Team Manager: Jeffrey Farrugia
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Bogdanovic, Magro, Dalli, Gatt Baldacchino
Red Cards: 85′ Ian Zammit
Scorers: 53′ Emiliano Lattes, 63′ Anicet Eyenga
At the Hibernians Stadium, Hibernians returned to winning ways as they defeated a depleted Mqabba side 6-1.
The Paolites will start the Championship Pool in second place on 26 points while Mqabba will be carrying ten points in the Relegation Pool.
Mqabba had no less than four players suspended, namely goalkeeper Kris Calleja, Mark Anthony Psaila, Mauro Bonnici and David Fenech besides the injured Julian Briffa. Hibernians welcomed back Bjorn Kristensen but Jackson Lima Siqueira was missing as he serves a one-match ban.
The Paolites made their intentions clear right from the start, tyring their luck with an Andrew Cohen freekick on the 3rd minute. Three minutes later, Tarabai exchanged the ball with Cohen inside the penalty area and the latter’s diagonal shot was deflected into a corner by Franklin Azzopardi. On the other side of the pitch, off a cross by Marlon Briffa, Bojan Mamic headed the ball down for Claudio Calleja whose shot ended just wide.
Hibs took the lead on 16 minutes when Marcelo Dias exchanged the ball with Andrew Cohen and chipped the ball over the Mqabba goalkeeper.
Mqabba replied with a low shot by Marko Potezica which was turned into a corner by Muscat on 19 minutes.
A minute later, Mqabba levelled matters when off a corner by Claudio Calleja, Bojan Mamic headed the ball past Muscat.
Hibs regained the lead on 29 minutes when off a Clayton Failla corner, the ball was deflected by a defender past Azzopardi for an own goal.
On the half-hour, a Thiago Mazzitelli freekick was partially saved by Mario Muscat and off the rebound, David Azzopardi’s effort was blocked by the Hibernians goalkeeper.
The Paolites increased the lead on 37 minutes when Tarabai served Edward Herrera who headed the ball past Muscat.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Branislav Timotic brought Edison Luis dos Santos down inside the area. From the penalty spot the same Brazilian striker made no mistake.
But the first half was not over yet as Tarabai served Marcelo Dias whose low diagonal shot ended into the back of the net for the Paolites’ fifth goal.
Three minutes in the second half, Hibernians scored the sixth goal when off an Andrew Cohen freekick, Peter Anizoba served Edward Herrera who placed the ball at the back of the net.
Eleven minutes from time, Mqabba could have reduced the gap but substitute John Nwoba’s low shot was deflected into a corner by Mario Muscat.
Marcelo Dias was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MQABBA Franklin Azzopardi, Clayton Micallef, Pierre Grima (52′ Rene Duca) Ryan Sammut, Branislav Timotic, Marko Potezica, David Azzopardi, Claudio Calleja, Bojan Mamic, Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli (79′ John Nwoba), Marlon Briffa (67′ John Paul Muscat).
Subs not used: Brandon Debono, Mark Fenech, Ryan Schembri, Omar Farrugia.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Assistant Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
HIBS Mario Muscat, Jonathan Pearson (46′ Peter Anizoba Chizoba), Aaron Xuereb, Rodolfo Soares, Jason Vandelannoite, Bjorn Kristensen, Andrew Cohen, Edward Herrera (69′ Steve Pisani), Marcelo Dias, Clayton Failla (78′ Ryan Camilleri), Edison Luis dos Santos.
Subs not used: Nicholas Grima, Adrian Pulis, Ayrton Azzopardi, Johann Bezzina.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Richard Mercieca
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Soares, Timotic
Scorers: 16’ Marcelo Dias (H); Bojan Mamic (M); 29’ own goal Pierre Grima (H); 37’ Edward Herrera (H); 43’ Edison Luis dos Santos (pen), 45’ Marcelo Dias (H); 48′ Edward Herrera (H)