Two goals by Terence Vella paved the way for Naxxar Lions registered a third win in four matches, beating Balzan 3-1. A win which puts the Lions in the eighth place, three points behind the same Balzan.
For Balzan, this was yet another disappointing result. This was the third defeat in four matches for Oliver Spiteri’s side who have now gone seven games without a win.
Naxxar had two changes from the team which drew with Qormi as Pablo Doffo and Terence Vella replaced Mattia Del Negro and Pape Gueye. Balzan, on the other hand, welcomed back Clive Brincat and Luke Sciberras who replaced Michael Borg and the suspended Samir Arab.
Naxxar managed to take the lead on 14 minutes when Terence Vella controlled the ball in style after rounding a defender before hitting past goalkeeper Steve Sultana.
Six minutes later, the Lions doubled the score when off a cross by Emenike Mbachu from the left, Terence Vella flicked the ball past Sultana from close range.
Balzan pulled one back on 38 minutes when off a cross by Oscar Guerrero, Gianmarco Piccioni hit home past goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi.
Naxxar increased the lead on 56 minutes when Gilmar served the unmarked Uchenna Emenike Mbachu on the left and the latter hit low past Sultana.
BALZAN Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Elkin Serrano, Edison Bilbao Zarate (67′ Ryan Darmanin), Osa Ice-Cream Guobadia, Clive Brincat, Lydon Micallef (56′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Oscar Guerrero, Luke Sciberras (56′ Dylan Grima), Gianmarco Piccioni.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Michael Borg, Juan Corbalan, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Terence Vella (88′ Duane Bonnici), Daren Falzon (82′ Pape Gueye), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Pablo Doffo, Angus Buhagiar, David Alejandro Reano, Uchenna Emenike Mbachu (69′ Victor Bellia).
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Yaron Sammut, Jurgen Debono, Joel Ellul.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Reano, Guobadia, Doffo, Bellia
Scorers: 14′ Terence Vella, 20′ Terence Vella, 38′ Gianmaro Piccioni, 56′ Uchenna Emenike Mbachu
BOV Player of the Match: Terence Vella
Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Meanwhile Mosta returned to winning ways, defeating Pietà Hotspurs 3-1 at the Hibernians Stadium. A win which puts Mosta in fourth place.
The Hotspurs, on the other hand, are now second from bottom on twelve points together with Tarxien.
Mosta managed to take the lead on the 8th minute when off a throw-in, Dyson Falzon served Bojan Kaljevic who released Daniel Mariano Bueno with a through pass and the latter from a close angle managed to beat David Cassar with a low shot.
The Blues doubled the score on the 21st when Kaljevic and Falzon exchanged the ball before the latter’s cross was well-met by Nemanja Milovanovic whose first-time effort gave the Pietà goalkeeper no chance.
Pietà were reduced to ten men on 27 minutes after referee Clayton Pisani dismissed Nikola Tasic for retaliation following a foul by Dyson Falzon.
With a great freekick on the 36th minute, Claudio Daniel Frances beat goalkeeper Omar Borg of Mosta to reduce the arrears.
However on 43 minutes, Mosta restored a two-goal lead when following a good move between Bojan Kaljevic and Ryan Grech, the latter served Mateus da Silva Riberio who failed to connect; however Grech regained possession and served Ribeiro once again and this time the Brazilian’s header beat Cassar.
On the hour, Mosta also had a player sent off after Dyson Falzon received a second yellow card.
MOSTA Omar Borg, Kurt Magro, Tyrone Farrugia, Adrian Borg, Dyson Falzon, Nemanja Milovanovic, Ryan Grech, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Matteus Ribeiro Dos Santos (65’ Karl Pulo), Daniel Bueno (78′ Pedro Calcado dos Santos), Bojan Kaljevic (88’ Ishmael Grech)
Subs not used: Kyle Gerada, Mark Brincat, Kurt Zammit, Kyle Frendo.
Coach: Peter Smith
PIETÀ David Cassar, Rafael Rodrigues da Silva, Christian Grech, Leonardo Fortunato dos Santos, Jurgen Pisani, Nikola Tasic, Terence Agius (73’ Malcolm Licari), Kyle Cesare (51’ Dylan Agius)(74’ Orosco Ndubisi Anonam), Luke Micallef, Rafael Xavier Zacarias, Claudio Frances.
Subs not used: Miguel Montfort, Neil Pace Cocks, Ayrton Mizzi, Travis Bartolo.
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow cards: Falzon, Magro, Cesare
Red Card: 27’ Nikola Tasic 60’ Dyson Falzon
Scorers: 8’ Daniel Mariano Bueno (M), 21’ Nemanja Milovanovic (M), 36’ Claudio Frances (P), 43’ Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos (M)
BOV Player of the Match: Bojan Kaljevic
Renato Vella reporting from the Hibernians Stadium