Despite playing for over forty-five minutes in ten men, Sliema Wanderers defeated Mosta 4-1 to register a third consecutive win and move to just one point behind Mosta.
On the other hand, for Mosta, this was the third consecutive defeat after dropping just two points from the first five matches.
New Sliema coach Stephen Azzopardi named Filippo Talato and Trevor Cilia in the starting line-up replacing Paltemio Barbetti and Michael Mifsud who was not feeling well. Mosta, on the other hand, had three changes from the team which lost to Qormi as Mark Brincat, Ishmael and the returning Bojan Kaljevic replaced Adrian Borg, Dyson Falzon and Jonas Rodriguez Ekani. In goal, goalkeeper Marcus Bernal once again replaced the injured Omar Borg.
The Wanderers forged ahead on the 8th minute when Filippo Talato served Guy Gnabouyou who hit low past goalkeeper Marcus Bernal.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, Sliema were reduced to ten men as Clifford Gatt Baldacchino received a second yellow card for a foul on Kaljevic and was therefore given marching orders by referee Mario Apap.
Two minutes in the second half, Sliema doubled the score when off a cross from the left by Potezica, Gnabouyou served Fabio Mangiacasale who placed the ball at the back of the net.
Eight minutes later, the Wanderers scored the third goal when goalkeeper Marcus Bernal could only save partially a cross shot by Mangiacasale and off the rebound, Guy Gnabouyou hit home.
Mosta pulled one back on the 80th minute thanks to a shot from outside the area by Bojan Kaljevic which beat goalkeeper Glen Zammit.
However four minutes from time, Sliema restored a three-goal lead thanks to a penalty by Andrea Pisanu.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Luca Martinelli, Kassa Guy Gnabouyou (81’ Beppe Muscat), John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Andrea Pisanu, Filippo Talato, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Trevor Cilia (90’ Axl Xuereb), Fabio Mangiacasale, Stefano Bianciardi (20’ Marko Potezica).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Clive Psaila, Iousef Meli, Carl Cassar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
MOSTA Marcus Bernal, Mark Brincat (46’ Dyson Falzon)(75’ James Brincat), Kurt Magro, Tyrone Farrugia, Ismael Grech, Ryan Grech, Manolito Micallef, Nemanja Milovanovic, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Pedro Calcado (60’ Sasa Jovanovic), Bojan Kaljevic.
Subs not used: Kyle Gerada, Adrian Borg, Kurt Zammit, Kyle Frendo.
Coach: Enrico Piccioni
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Roberto Vella
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Glen Tonna
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Pisani, Milovanovic, Gatt Baldacchino, Bueno, Farrugia
Red Cards: 42′ Gatt Baldacchino
Scorers: 8’ Guy Gnabouyou, 47’ Fabio Mangiacasale, 55′ Guy Gnabouyou, 80′ Bojan Kaljevic 86’ Andrea Pisanu (pen)
BOV Player of the Match: Guy Gnabouyou
Meanwhile after beating Mosta 4-0 in their previous outing, Qormi scored another four goals as they beat Floriana 4-2 at the National Stadium.
Floriana, on the other hand, remain in the lower part of the table as they have now gone four matches without a win after being held in three consecutive draws in the previous three matches.
Qormi had two changes from the team which crushed Mosta 4-0 as Albert Bruce and Ryan Micallef replaced Bjorn Bondin and the suspended Frank Temile. Floriana, on the other hand, lacked the suspended Amadou Samb. Giovanni Galea and Gary Muir replaced Samb and Manuel Briffa in the starting line-up.
Qormi took the lead on 21 minutes when off a Joseph Chetcuti freekick, Anderson Michele Quatrochi Santos headed the ball home past Floriana goalkeeper Valerio Senatore.
Hardly a minute later, an angled shot by Duncan Pisani beat Senatore for Qormi’s second goal.
Floriana replied with a fine Douglas Cobo freekick which was parried by Farrugia aided by the crossbar five minutes from the end of the first half.
One minute in the second half, Floriana pulled one back when off a perfect assist by Matteo Piciollo, hitting home from close range.
However Qormi regained a two-goal lead on 64 minutes thanks to Ryan Micallef who concluded a fine solo effort on the left by hitting the ball past Senatore.
Floriana reduced the gap once again on 66 minutes when off a cross by Isaac Galea from the right, Piciollo rose high for the ball but was deflected by Matthew Farrugia with Vito Plut placing the ball at the back of the net.
However four minutes from time, Qormi sealed the issue with a fourth goal as following a good run, Alfred Effiong exchanged the ball with Carmelo Farrugia before hitting low past the Floriana goalkeeper.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Jonathan Bondin, Anderson Michele Quatrochi Santos, Emerson Vella (46′ Alessio Cassar), Duncan Pisani, Joseph Chetcuti, Ryan Micallef (77′ Carmelo Farrugia), Zoran Levnajic, Albert Bruce, Alfred Effiong, Mauricio Matias Mazzetti Latini (62′ Bjorn Bondin).
Subs not used: Jurgen Cilia, Karl Sciortino, Joshua Barbara, Juan Carlos Vieira Peixoto.
Coach: Josef Mansueto
FLORIANA Valerio Senatore, Andre Scicluna, Douglas Felipe Moreira Cobo, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg (51′ Emanuel Briffa), Vito Plut, Matteo Piciollo, Giovanni Galea (46′ Isaac Galea), Brooke Farrugia, Gary Muir (67′ Emerson Marcelina), Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Tyrone Gauci, Conor Borg, Neil Spiteri, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Mazzetti, Anderson Santos, Miccalef
Scorers: 21′ Anderson Santos, 22′ Duncan Pisani, 46′ Isaac Galea, 64′ Ryan Micallef, 66′ Vito Plut, 86′ Alfred Effiong.
BOV Player of the Match: Anderson Santos
Renato Vella reporting from Victor Tedesco Stadium