Tarxien Rainbows condemned Zebbug Rangers and Pietà Hotspurs to a quick return to the First Division as they defeated Zebbug 2-0 to move four points ahead of the Hotspurs and eight ahead of the Rangers with only one game to go.
The Rainbows are still engaged in the battle to avoid the Relegation Play-Off spot as they are joint-third from bottom with Mosta on 20 points, one behind Qormi and two behind Naxxar Lions. Mosta, however, have a game against Floriana in hand. Next week, Tarxien face Pietà while Mosta take on Naxxar and Qormi play Zebbug in two derbies.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Carlo Monti was unlucky not to put Zebbug ahead as he hit the crossbar off a cross by Mauricio Britto.
Four minutes later, Tarxien managed to break the deadlock when off a corner by Firas Aboulezz from the left, Obinna Darlington Ajoku placed the ball at the back of the net.
Sixteen minutes in the second half, the Rainbows doubled the score when off a cross by Mouhamed Soly, Edu Vallecillo served Obinna Darlington Ajoku slotted the ball past Zebbug goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.
ZEBBUG Manuel Bartolo, Yessous Camilleri, Matthew Gauci, David Alejandro Reano, Matthew Bartolo, Matias Muchardi, Kurt Zammit, Carlo Monti, Maurcio Britto, Rashid Yussuff, Luke Montebello (66′ Miguel Ciantar).
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Jacob Borg, Lee Galea, Thomas Paris, Shaun Borg, Luke Gatt.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
TARXIEN Sean Mintoff, Manuel Caruana (81′ Steve Sadowski), Triston Caruana, Firas Aboulezz, Eduardo Vallecillo Casado, Jose Angel Godar Pereira, Alex Cini, Matthew Tabone, Mouhamed Soly, Obinna Darlington Ajoku (89′ Nigel Vella), Manuel Bonaque Acevedo.
Subs not used: Antonio Chetcuti, Owen Bugeja, Mikhail Schembri, Matthew Degiorgio, Manuel Xerri.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Sammy Attard
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Glenn Tonna
Fourth Official: William Debattista
Yellow Cards: Galea, Muchardi
Scorers: 44′ Obinna Darlington Ajoku, 61′ Obinna Darlington Ajoku
BOV Player of the Match: Obinna Darlington Ajoku
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 673
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Meanwhile in another match, Valletta defeated Balzan 1-0 to move temporarily five points clear of third-placed Birkirkara.
The Citizens went close on 16 minutes with a diagonal shot by Hamza Barry hitting the foot of the upright. Balzan goalkeeper Christian Cassar then performed good saves on a corner by Abdelkarim Nafti and then a header by the Tunisian midfielder. On the other side of the pitch, Nicky Vella blocked a Lydon Micallef effort.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, an Edison Zarate effort was cleared by Luke Dimech and off the rebound, Lydon Micallef’s shot was saved by Nicky Vella in two attempts.
Valletta managed to take the lead on the 66th minute when a Hamza Barry effort was blocked and off the rebound, Lateef Elford Alliyu hit home.
Twelve minutes later, Balzan could have equalised when they were awarded a penalty after goalkeeper Nicky Vella brought Osa Guobadia down inside the area. Elkin Serrano’s effort from the penalty area was partially saved by Vella, off the rebound Edison Bilbao Zarate was blocked by the Valletta goalkeeper and Elkin Serrano’s header off the rebound was parried once again by Nicky Vella.
BALZAN Chistian Cassar, Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Dylan Grima, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Terence Agius (77’ Sean Cipriott), Osa Ice Cream Guobadia, Clive Brincat, Ryan Darmanin (27’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Lydon Micallef (72’ Mark Spiteri)
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Luke Sciberras, Godwin Mckay, Samir Arab.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
VALLETTA Nicholas George Vella, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri (55’ Lateef Elford Alliyu), Ryan Fenech (61’ Llwellyn Cremona), Hamza Barry, Roderick Briffa, Shaun Bajada (80’ Ikenna Paul Hillary), Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech
Subs: Pietro Demetrio Marino, Tristan Nappa Licari, Hamid Alkamali, Kurt Borg.
Coach: Gilbert Agius
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow cards: Brincat, Zarate, Grioli, Cremona
Scorers: 66’ Lateef Elford Alliyu
BOV Player of the Match: Hamza Barry
Attendence at the National Stadium: 683
Renato Vella reporting from the National Stadium