Birkirkara missed the chance to move along in third place after they could only manage to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Gzira United at the National Stadium on Sunday.
A draw which puts them on level points with Valletta in the battle for third place, pending the appeal launched by the Stripes for a UEFA licence which will be heard this week.
Both coaches made several changes from their previous game. Birkirkara lacked Nikola Vukanac, Srdjan Dimitrov and Miguel Angel Alba while Matthew Guillaumier started on the bench. They were replaced by Predrag Jovic, Edmond Agius, Gary Muir and Ryan Scicluna. For Gzira, Clifford Gatt Baldachino, Ian Azzopardi, Zach Scerri, Tony and Andrew Cohen replaced Souleymane Diamoutene, Andre White, Dyson Falzon, Karl Pulo and Carlos Reyna.
Following a goalless first half, Gzira took the lead on the 67th minute when off a cross by Carlos Reyna, Ige Abdullahi Adeshina flicked the ball past goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
However five minutes from time, Birkirkara levelled matters thanks to Vito Plut who concluded a solo effort with a powerful drive from outside the area which gave Gzira goalkeeper Jurgen Borg no chance.
GZIRA Jurgen Borg, Jonathan Bondin, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Antonio de Queiroz Machedo Neto, Ian Azzopardi (46’ Karl Pulo), Ige Abdullahi Adeshina (84’ Andre White), Juan Carlos Corbalan (25’ Carlos Reyna), Moises Avila Perez, Zach Scerri, Andrew Cohen, Gianmarco Conti.
B’KARA Henry Bonello, Edward Herrera (63’ James Brincat), Christian Bubalovic, Gareth Sciberras (79’ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Mislav Andjelkovic, Edmond Agius (72’ Matthew Guillaumier), Predrag Jovic, Joseph Zerafa, Ryan Scicluna, Vito Plut, Gary Muir.
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Ryan Aquilina
Additional Assistant Referees: Malcolm Spiteri, Etienne Mangion
Fourth Official: Dusan Petrovic
Yellow Cards: Jovic, Cohen, Gatt Baldacchino, Andjelkovic, Scicluna, Avila Perez
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen