Melita registered their first Premier League win as they defeated Qormi 3-2 in an entertaining clash.
The Amateurs took the lead and although Qormi turned the score in their favour with two direct freekicks, Melita managed to turn defeat into victory with another two goals.
For Qormi, this was the third defeat in four matches, leaving them third from bottom, just three points ahead of Melita.
Making his debut was team-manager Jesmond Zerafa who had the full squad at his disposal. Kane Micallef and Michael Martin were, on the other hand, missing for Melita.
Melita managed to take the lead on 14 minutes when Julian Galea sent Jose Luis Armaro Negrin through and the latter chipped the ball over goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
The Spanish striker could have added another one minute later when he advanced all alone into the area but allowed Kris Thackray to steal the ball off his feet and clear the ball into safety.
Qormi levelled matters on 21 minutes thanks to a direct freekick by Kris Thackray which gave goalkeeper Matthew Sapiano no chance.
Three minutes later, Qormi forged ahead thanks to another direct freekick , this time by Abubakar Bello-Osagie which beat the Melita goalkeeper.
However Melita equalised on the 27th minute when off a throw-in by Matthew Borg, Ivan Tufegdzic headed the ball into the direction of Julian Galea who served Jose Luis Armaro Negrin, with the latter hitting home from close range.
Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho was then unlucky to hit the upright with a freekick from the right two minutes from the end of the first half.
Melita regained the lead two minutes in the second half when off a cross by Armaro Negrin from the right, Julian Galea served the unmarked Luke Sammut who tapped the ball home from close range.
On the hour, Nigel Rizzo headed just wide off a freekick by Vukanic from the right. On the other side of the pitch, off a cross by Leighton Grech, Vincenzo Pisani’s effort was deflected into a corner.
Nigel Rizzo then had a long-distance shot saved in two attempts by Matthew Farrugia on the 82nd minute.
Jose Luis Armaro Negrin was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo, Vincenzo Pisani (67’ Sebastian Aurelio Siritto), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Luke Sciberras, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Gaetan Spiteri (46’ Joseph Chetcuti), Jonathan Bondin (72’ Matthew Gauci), Leighton Grech.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, Alessio Cassar, Gabriel Buttigieg.
Team Manager: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
MELITA Matthew Sapiano, Matthew Borg, Ivan Tufegdzic, George Gribbon, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, Nigel Rizzo, Julian Galea, Luke Sammut (82’ Andrew Caruana Scicluna), Karl Vella Petroni (51’ Luke Micallef), Jovan Vukanic, Jose Luis Armaro Negrin (89’ Michael Cachia).
Subs not used: Karl Zahra, Rudy Alhinho, Michael Valenzia, Maxime Batel.
Coach: Martin Gregory
Asst. Coach: Carmel Busuttil
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Vella Petroni, Tufegdzic
Scorers: 14’ Jose Luis Armaro Negrin (M); 21’ Kris Thackray (Q); 24’ Abubakar Bello-Osagie (Q); 27’ Jose Luis Armaro Negrin (M)
A stoppage-time goal by Andrezinho enabled Tarxien Rainbows to earn a point in a 2-2 with neighbours Hibernians.
Hibs seemed heading for victory after turning the score in their favour but four minutes in added time, Tarxien notched a dramatic equaliser. Michael Woods’ side joins Birkirkara in second place while Tarxien move sixth on 11 points.
The Paolites welcomed back Jean Paul Farrugia and Clayton Failla but Jonathan Pearson, Jason Vandelannoite and John Nwoba were missing and Andrew Cohen started the game on the bench. Tarxien, on the other hand, lacked Carlo Mamo and Evaldo Silva dos Santos.
The Rainbows managed to take the lead on the 14th minute when Danilo Meira Santos received a through pass on the right, with a defender failing the clear the ball into safety and the Brazilian striker slotted the ball past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Four minutes in the second half, Karl Pulo headed wide off an inviting cross by Grioli.
Seven minutes later, Hibernians equalised when off a cross by Marcelo Dias, there was a deflection by a defender and Jean Paul Farrugia hit home from close range.
Tarxien went close once again on 62 minutes when Daniel Mariano Bueno had a header from close range saved in style by Mario Muscat.
Referee Kevin Azzopardi ordered a penalty for Hibernians on 75 minutes after Jackson Lima was brought down inside the area. From the penalty spot, the Brazilian midfielder converted to put Hibernians ahead.
Six minutes later, Hibs were reduced to ten men as Adrian Pulis received a second yellow card and was therefore sent off.
Four minutes in added time, Tarxien notche the equalizer thanks to Andrezinho whose great shot from outside the area gave Muscat no chance.
Marcelo Dias was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Manuel Caruana, Justin Grioli, Danilo Meira Santos, Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Karl Pulo (62’ Roderick Bajada), Ryan Sammut, Daniel Mariano Bueno, David Fenech (74’ Luiz Romulo de Castro), Orosco Anonam.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Andrew Agius, Mark Tanti, Clive Fenech, Steve Bonnici.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Adrian Pulis, Zoran Levnajic, Rodolfo Soares, Bjorn Kristensen, Marcelo Dias (78’ Anderson Mendes Ribeiro), Ayrton Azzopardi (46’ Udo Nwoko), Clayton Failla, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Jean Paul Farrugia (82’ Steve Pisani).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Johann Bezzina, Scott Chircop, Andrew Cohen.
Coach: Michael Woods
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Bueno, Levnajic, Grioli, Pulis, Andrezinho, Dias, Soares, Caruana
Red Cards: 81′ Adrian Pulis
Scorers: 14’ Danilo Meira Santos (T); 56’ Jean Paul Farrugia (H); 76’ Jackson di Lima Siqueira (H); 94′ Andrezinho (T)