Naxxar Lions collected three precious points in the battle against relegation thanks to a 2-1 win over Zebbug Rangers. A win which puts Naxxar in joint-seventh place on 14 points, two points ahead of the same Zebbug, Qormi and Pietà.
The Rangers, ironically, managed to take the lead but Naxxar’s experience prevailed as they scored twice in the second half to take home the three points.
Zebbug took the lead on the 32nd minute when off a Mattias Muchardi freekick from the right, Thomas Paris hit the upright and off the rebound, Matthew Bartolo placed the ball at the back of the net.
Naxxar levelled matters nine minutes in the second half when Yessous Camilleri floored Gilmar da Silva Ribiero inside the area and the Brazilian striker converted from the penalty spot.
On the 69th minute, the Lions forged ahead when Gilmar served Albert Bruce just outside the area and the latter passed the ball to Jorge Santos Silva who controlled before hitting low past Bartolo.
Six minutes later, Jorge Santos could have added another with a fine rising shot which however ended just over the bar.
Three minutes in added time, Julian Azzopardi stopped Zebbug from equalising, performing a great save into a corner on a Carlo Monti freekick.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Terence Vella (86′ Ryan Gilmour Cassar), Mattia Del Negro, Daren Falzon, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Pablo Doffo, Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva (92′ Demba Toure), Albert Bruce.
Subs not used: Slaven Micallef, Victor Bellia, Duane Bonnici, Jurgen Debono, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
ZEBBUG Manuel Bartolo, Mattias Muchardi, Yessous Camilleri, Rashid Yussuff, Thomas Paris, Jacob Borg, Carlo Monti, David Alejandro Reano, Matthew Bartolo, Lee Galea (87′ Luke Montebello), Paltemio Barbetti (79′ Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto).
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Kurt Zammit, Miguel Ciantar, Matthew Gauci, Melvin Farrugia.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Thomas Debono
Additional Assistant Referees: Marco Borg, Esther Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Barbetti, Reano, Camilleri, Ibok, Bruce, Paris, Jorge Santos
Scorers: 32′ Matthew Bartolo, 54′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro pen, 69′ Jorge Santos Silva
BOV Player of the Match: GIlmar da Silva Ribeiro