Tarxien Rainbows scored twice in the second half to beat Balzan 3-0 and return to winning ways following a narrow defeat to Birkirkara earlier this week.
The Rainbows are still sixth but move to just one point behind Balzan, Birkirkara and Floriana who share the third place on 26 points, five behind the leaders. For Balzan, this was the fourth defeat in six matches.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation as Elkin Serrano Valero was suspended for Balzan while Ebiabowei Baker and Brandon Muscat were ruled out through suspension for Tarxien.
Following a goalless first half, Tarxien managed to break the deadlock seven minutes in the second half when off a corner from the left by Ayrton Azzopardi, Daniel Zerafa headed home past goalkeeper Valerio Senatore.
The Rainbows doubled the score on 68 minutes thanks to Luke Montebello who received a through pass on the right and advanced into the area before slotting the ball past Senatore.
Seven minutes from time, Samir Arab floored Lucky Omeruo down inside the area, referee Sandro Spiteri ordered a penalty and from the penalty spot, Alex da Paixao Alves converted.
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Timothy Tabone Desira, Triston Caruana, Ayrton Azzopardi, Carlos Hevia Menendez (88′ Roderick Bajada), Luke Montebello, Daniel Zerafa, Alex da Paixao Alves, Matthew Tabone, Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos (90′ Manuel Caruana), Anderson Raimundo da Silva (74′ Lucky Omeruo).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Danilo Meira Santos, Gaetano Gesualdi, Ren Mizugashira.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
BALZAN Valerio Senatore, Dylan Grima (75′ Ryan Darmanin), Justin Grioli (60′ Lydon Micallef), Godwin Mensha, Maxim Focsa, Clive Brincat, Alfred Effiong, Samir Arab, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Steve Bezzina, Luke Sciberras (76′ Terence Agius).
Subs not used Christian Cassar, Paul Lapira, Ryan Fenech, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Lecao, Zerafa, Hevia, Arab
Scorers: 52′ Daniel Zerafa, 68′ Luke Montebello, 84′ Alex da Paixao Alves
BOV Player of the Match: Luke Montebello
Attendance at Victor Tedesco Stadium: 360
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Hibernians found no difficult in beating Naxxar Lions 7-0 to re-join Valletta on top the BOV Premier League table.
Hibernians took the lead on the 14th minute when off a corner from the right, the unmarked Jackson Lima beat Julian Azzopardi with a half-volley.
On the 31st minute, Gilmar gained possession just outside the area and released Jorge da Silva Pereira inside the area with the latter tapping the ball home from close range.
One minute in the second half, Jorge Santos Silvahad a shot partially saved by Azzopardi but off the rebound, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro placed the ball at the back of the net.
On the 55th, Hibs could have added another when a Jorge Santos Silva freekick hit the foot of the post with the goalkeeper beaten.
However the Paolites were not to be denied on the hour when off a corner by Clayton Failla, Azzopardi punched the ball which hit the upright and Jorge Santos Silva slammed the ball home.
On the 70th, Hibs scored the fifth goal when Denni sent substitute Jurgen Degabriele through and the latter slid the ball from underneath the goalkeeper.
Four minutes later, Gilmar served Jurgen Degabriele who beat Julian Azzopardi from a similar position.
Two minutes from time, Hibernians sealed the issue with a seventh goal thanks to a low shot by Andrew Cohen, served by Degabriele.
HIBS Jurgen Borg, Rui Da Gracia Gomes, Jackson di Lima Siquiera, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen (63’ Denni Rocha dos Santos), Clayton Failla, Andre Agius, Jorge da Silva Pereira (77’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Jorge Santos Silva (62’ Jurgen Degabriele).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Jonathan Pearson, Zach Scerri, Joseph Essien Mbong.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Blazo Rajovic, Zady Moise Gnenegbe, Richard Carlos Cardoso (75’ Mark Fenech), Thomas Sarina, Demba Toure, Jose Angel Godar Pereira, Ishmael Grech (46’ Jurgen Debono), David Fenech (46’ Daren Falzon), Angus Buhagiar, Armando Taralariz Viera Dos Santos.
Subs: Luke Pecorella, Isaac Mc Carthy, Ryan Mercieca, Joel Ellul.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Scorers: 14’ Jackson Lima, 31’ Jorge Da Silva Pereira, 46’ Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro, 60’ Jorge Santos Silva, 70’ Jurgen Degabriele, 74’ Jurgen Degabriele, 88′ Andrew Cohen
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 958
Renato Vella reporting from the Hibernians Stadium