Hamrun Spartans extended their unbeaten record in the Relegation Pool with a third successive win as they beat Tarxien Rainbows 2-1.
This win puts Stefan Sultana’s side in second place in the Relegation Pool with 20 points, leaving the Rainbows second from bottom on fifteen.
The Spartans lacked Rupert Mangion and Steve Bonnici but Roderick Fenech was back on the bench after a long-term injury. Mark Tanti was missing for Tarxien.
Hamrun had the first attempt at goal with an Anderson Mendes Ribeiro header ending just wide off a Kevin Sammut cross from the right on the 7th minute.
A minute later, the Spartans took the lead when Anderson Mendes Ribeiro received a through pass by David Camilleri and anticipated goalkeeper Nicky Vella with a lob from the edge of the area.
On the half-hour, the Rainbows went close with a Daniel Mariano Bueno effort from close range, when served by Carabott, but Omar Borg blocked the Brazilian striker’s attempt.
Hamrun, however, doubled the score on 33 minutes when Anderson Mendes Ribeiro concluded a good move on the left flank with a perfect pass for Dene Shields who slotted the ball past Vella.
The Rainbows replied with a freekick by Luiz Romulo de Castro which was parried by Omar Borg on 41 minutes.
Eight minutes in the second half, a header by de Castro, off a corner from the left by Karl Pulo, was blocked by Omar Borg. The Hamrun goalkeeper then performed a good save on Adrian Carabott, off a cross by Mamo from the left on 59 minutes.
Nine minutes from time, Anderson Ribeiro could have added another when he received a pass by Kevin Sammut, entered the area and tried to round the goalkeeper but his conclusion ended just wide.
Tarxien pulled one back two minutes in added time when a Ricardo Costa effort hit the woodwork and off the rebound, Daniel Mariano Bueno slotted the ball past substitute goalkeeper Andrea Cassar.
Anderson Mendes Ribeiro was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Everton Antonio Pereira (75′ Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi), Adrian Carabott, Ricardo Costa, Karl Pulo (76′ Steve Sadowski), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luiz Romulo de Castro, Orosco Anonam, Ryan Mintoff (46′ Manuel Caruana), Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Stefan Giglio, Julian Vella, Lee Galea.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
HAMRUN Omar Borg (89′ Andrea Cassar), Gianluca Calabretta, Matthew Gauci, Massimo Grima, Ronni Hartvig, David Camilleri, Lee James Agius (81′ Daniel Zerafa), Gaetan Spiteri, Kevin Sammut, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Dene Shields.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Luke Grech, Ayrton Micallef, Glen Azzopardi, Ryan Spiteri, Roderick Fenech.
Coach: Stefan Sultana
Asst. Coach: Marco Grech
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Camilleri, Spiteri, de Castro, Shields
Scorers: 8′ Anderson Mendes Ribeiro (H); 33′ Dene Shields (H); 90+2′ Daniel Mariano Bueno (T)
Qormi came back from one goal down to beat Mqabba 2-1 to stay on top of the Relegation Pool, one point ahead of Hamrun, five ahead of Mosta and Mqabba and six ahead of Tarxien.
The team led by Stephen Azzopardi therefore returned to winning ways while Mqabba lost after claiming maximum points from the previous two outings.
Mqabba lacked Julian Briffa but Marko Potezica and John Nwoba were back after serving a one-match ban. Qormi, on the other hand, lacked Dino Cachia.
Kris Thackray almost surprised goalkeeper Kris Calleja with a great lob from the kick-off but the Mqabba custodian managed to tip the ball into corner.
Mqabba took the lead on the 3rd minute when John Nwoba received the ball from a through pass, rounded a defender and hit low past Matthew Farrugia.
Qormi replied with a Jorge Pereira da Silva freekick ending just wide on the 6th. On the other side of the pitch, a diagonal shot by Bojan Mamic from the left ended just wide on 35 minutes. Five minutes later, a header by Jorginho off a corner from the left by Joseph Farrugia hit the upright.
Mqabba goalkeeper Kris Calleja performed a good save on a Joseph Farrugia freekick, turning the ball into a corner on 59 minutes.
Qormi equalised on 63 minutes when off a Jorge Pereira freekick from the right, Joseph Farrugia headed the ball home in style past goalkeeper Calleja.
Two minutes later, Jorge Pereira was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a header for Qormi following a cross from the right by Chetcuti. Jorge Pereira then just failed to connect off an inviting cross by Triston Caruana on 67 minutes. A David Fenech freekick from the right was neutralised by Farrugia five minutes later.
The Yellow Blacks took the lead on 78 minutes when off a Jorge Pereira freekick from the left, Kris Thackray’s header hit the foot of the post before ending at the back of the net.
Jorge Pereira da Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Roderick Sammut (31′ Kenneth Scicluna), Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Chetcuti (82′ Luke Sciberras), Joseph Farrugia, Jonathan Bondin, Jorge Pereira da Silva (92′ Stephen Wellman), Kris Thackray, Triston Caruana, Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Vincent Kouadio Adioumani.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, George Chircop, Ranier Buhagiar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Pierre Grima, Marko Potezica, Branislav Timotic, Mark Anthony Psaila, Claudio Calleja (88′ John Paul Muscat), Mauro Bonnici, David Fenech, Rene Duca, John Nwoba, Bojan Mamic (79′ Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli)
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Marlon Briffa, David Azzopardi, Ryan Sammut, Clayton Micallef.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Grima, Nwoba, Psaila, Fenech
Scorers: 3′ John Nwoba (M); 63′ Joseph Farrugia (Q); 78′ Kris Thackray (Q)