Despite having a player sent off, leaders Gzira United maintained their unbeaten record as they rescued a point in a 1-1 draw with Floriana thanks to a stoppage-time penalty.
The Maroons, who drop their first points after claiming maximum points from their first five matches, therefore stay four points ahead of the Greens. For Floriana, this was the third draw in six matches.
Following a goalless first half, Floriana managed to break the deadlock two minutes in the second half when off a cross from the left by Arthur Henrique, Dylan Grima served Maurizio Vella who slotted the ball past Gzira goalie Justin Haber.
The Maroons had Samba Tounkara sent off six minutes from time.
However four minutes in added time, Gzira notched the equaliser when Alex Cini handled the ball inside the area; referee Alan Mario Sant ordered a penalty and Amadou Samb made no mistake from the penalty spot.[gallery_bank type=images format=masonry title=true desc=false responsive=true display=all sort_by=random animation_effect=bounce album_title=true album_id=75]
FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, James Baldacchino, Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Ignacio Varela, Maurizio Vella, Alex Cini, Arthur Henrique, Dylan Grima (80’ Leighton Grech), Emerson Marcelina, Mario Fontanella.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Jake Stensen, Mattia Zarb, Jamie Delia, Denilson Borg Castaldi, Neil Spiteri.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
GZIRA Justin Haber, Souleymane Diamoutene (83’ Luca Brincat), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Karl Pulo (69’ Juan Carlos Corbalan), Gary Muir, Moises Avila Perez, Roderick Briffa, Andrew Cohen, Emmanuel Oyoke, Amadou Samb, Samba Tounkara.
Subs not used: Sem Kamana, Sacha Borg, Zack Scerri, Nikolai Muscat, Andre White.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Avila Perez, Samb, Cohen, Varela, Baldacchino, Grech
Red Cards: 84’ Samba Tounkara
BOV Player of the Match: Maurizio Vella
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Balzan defeated Lija Athletic by the odd goal in seven in an entertaining derby.
Balzan managed to take the lead on the 11th minute thanks to Ryan Fenech who concluded a fine solo effort by rounding two defenders before placing the ball at the back of the net.
However Lija equalised on the 19th when Clive Brincat brought Erjon Beu down inside the area and from the penalty spot, the Albanian striker converted.
Five minutes later, Lija forged ahead as Leejoe Scembri advanced on the left before hitting hard past goalkeeper Janjusevic.
Eight minutes in the second half, Balzan restored equilibrium when Ousmane Sidibe brought Ryan Fenech down inside the area are and from the penalty spot, substitute Bojan Kaljevic made no mistake.
Lija regained the lead on the 59th minute when off a cross from the left by Leejoe Schembri, Erjon Beu served Abubakar Bello-Osagie who hit low past the Balzan custodian.
Balzan levelled matters on the 68th minute thanks to a Bojan Kaljevic effort when served by Ryan Fenech.
Three minutes from time, Alfred Effiong notched the winner for Balzan.
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Steve Bezzina, Michael Johnson, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ryan Fenech, Samir Arab, Clive Brincat (46’ Bojan Kaljevic), Paul Fenech, Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (88’ Milos Lepovic), Alex da Paixao Alves (90+2’ Jacob Borg).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Antonio Mitrev, Fabio Attard, Jamie Zerafa.
Coach: Marko Micovic
LIJA Luke Bonnici, Predrag Babic (71’ Patrick Borg), Leon Muscat, Daniel Scerri, Erjon Beu, Leejoe Schembri (88’ Aiden Galea), Antoine Borg (45’ Carl Cassar), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, McAllister Clinch, Ousmane Sidibe, Djamel Leeflang.
Subs not used: Jonathan Martinelli, Aaron Sammut, Joaquin Lores Varela, Nigel Spiteri.
Coach: Joseph Galea
Referee: Laurent Kopriwa (LUX)
Assistant Referees: Gilles Becker, Claude Ries (LUX)
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: Brincat, Sidibe, Lecao, Scerri, Clinch, Johnson, Bello-Osagie
BOV Player of the Match: Leejoe Schembri