Gzira United scored three in the first half to beat Mosta 3-0 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium to end a negative run of seven consecutive defeats.
A win which puts the Maroons third from bottom, three points ahead of Mosta. The Blues have now gone nine matches without a win.
Mosta had three changes from the team which lost to Hibernians as Raylon Kaylon Paisley, Dexter Xuereb and new signing David Ifeanyi Nworah replaced Chevaugn Mclaren and the suspended Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo and Dany Djoufack. On the other hand, for Gzira, Juan Corbalan and Zack Scerri replaced Yanis Tonna and the suspended Antonio de Queiroz Machedo Neto.
Gzira took the lead on the 9th minute when following a corner by Ricardo Correa, Mamadou Salieu Jallow’s header hit the upright and Rafael Ledesma placed the ball at the back of the net off the rebound.
The Maroons doubled the score on the 20th minute when Zack Scerri released Juan Carlos Corbalan on the right and the latter hit low past the Mosta goalkeeper.
Gzira scored the third goal on the 39th minute when off a freekick by Gianmarco Conti from the left, Souleymane Diamoutene rose high to head home past Bartolo.
Two minutes from time, Mosta had Njongo Priso sent off for pushing an opponent and using abusive language towards the referee after being shown the yellow card.
GZIRA Mauro Boerchio, Jacob Borg, Gianmarco Conti, Zachary Scerri, Rafael Rodriguez Ledesma (69′ Yanis Tonna), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Mamadou Salieu Jallow (81′ John Nwoba), Jonathan Bondin, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Souleymane Diamoutene, Ricardo Correa Duarte (86′ Karl Pulo).
Subs not used: Jamie Azzopardi, Moises Avila Perez, Andre White, Salvatore Grixti.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
MOSTA Manuel Bartolo, Tristan Grant, Kurt Magro (58′ Neil Frendo), Jaroslav Repa, Dexter Xuereb, Kyle Frendo, Martin Vlcek, Njongo Priso, Raylon Kaylon Paisley (48′ Gabriel Bezak), David Ifeanyi Nworah (32′ Emerson Vella), Zachary Brincat.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Jurgen Grech, Neil Frendo, Luke Galea, Nicholas Farrugia.
Coach: Jojo Bajada
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Ledesma, Diamoutene, Paisley, Frendo, Scerri, Xuereb
Red Cards: 88′ Njongo Priso
Scorers: 9′ Rafael Ledesma, 20′ Juan Carlos Corbalan, 39′ Souleymane Diamoutene
BOV Player of the Match: Ricardo Correa
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows earned a precious point as they held Floriana in a 1-1 draw.
For the Greens, this was a rather disappointing result after an impressive win over Balzan in their previous outing. They now join Valletta in third place but the Citizens have a game in hand.
Floriana had two changes from the team which defeated Balzan as Maurizio Vella and Mario Fontanella replaced Ryan Camenzuli and the suspended Ignacio Varela. On the other hand, Triston Caruana returned for Tarxien, replacing Kurt Zammit.
The Greens had a perfect start, taking the lead on the 5th minute when a powerful shot by Nicolas Chiesa was not held by the Tarxien custodian and in went Mario Fontanella placing the ball home from close range.
On the 36th minute, Floriana wet close once again through Amadou Samb who received a through passs and came face to face with the goalkeeper; he lobbed the ball but it hit the upright for the Tarxien defence to clear into safety.
Eight minutes in the second half, Floriana were awarded a penalty after Ebiabowei Baker brought Maurizio Vella down inside the area; however Nicolas Chiesa’s effort was partially saved by Cassar and Mario Fontanella’s header ended over the bar.
Tarxien equalised on the 66th minute when off a cross from the left, Triston Caruana’s fine header beat Justin Haber from from close range.
Six minutes later, Floriana almost regained the lead when a powerful drive by Maurizio Vella, deflected by a defender, hit the foot of the post before ending into a corner.
FLORIANA Justin Haber, Enrico Pepe (25’ Ryan Camenzuli), Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Maurizio Vella, Jurgen Pisani, Alex Cini, Amadou Samb, Nicolas Chiesa (80’ Gustavo Amadeo), Mario Fontanella.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Andre Scicluna, Jake Davies, Mattia Zarb, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Ebiabowei Baker, Emerson Marcellina, Julian Galea (56’ Kurt Zammit), Triston Caruana (71’ Andrew Agius), Daniel Ponce de Leon Garcia, Alex Nilsson, Sergio Fernandez Prendes, Alex Da Paixao Alves, Matthew Tabone, Sasha Borg.
Subs not used: Philip Schranz, Matthew Brincat, Luke Zahra, Dylan Micallef, Owen Francalanza.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Matthew Degabriele
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Samb, S. Pisani, Prendes, Zammit, J. Pisani, C. Borg
Scorers: 5’ Mario Fontanella, 66’ Triston Caruana
BOV Player of the Match: Maurizio Vella
Renato Vella reporting from the Hibernians Stadium