Floriana and Hamrun Spartans earned a point each as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Sunday. Floriana are now on the 16-points mark with Hamrun lying two points behind.
Missing for Floriana were Clifton Ciantar and Christian Caruana besides Luke Agius, Duncan Pisani, Roberto Brincat, Sunday Eboh and Christian Cassar. Bernard Paris returned for Zoran Popovic’s side after recovering from an injury. Hamrun welcomed back in the starting line-up Mark Anthony Bonnici and Jonathan Holland.
The Greens had the first shot at goal on 4 minutes when Sacha Borg tested Ivan Casha with a fine shot from the left.
Eight minutes later, Floriana took the lead when Marlon Briffa caught Ivan Casha out of place, beating him with a cute lob from the left.
Hamrun levelled matters on 22 minutes when off a Clyde Camoin freekick, Marcelo Pereira headed home past goalkeeper Bernard Paris.
The Spartans went close once again with a close-range effort by Joao Mawete which was neutralised by Paris on 29 minutes. Three minutes later, Orosco Anonam risked committing an own goal as he headed the ball back but the Floriana goalkeeper managed to deflect into a corner.
Seventeen minutes in the second half, Said served Ryan Darmanin whose header was neutralised by Ivan Casha. Two minutes later, off a great cross by Akanni-Sunday Wasiu, Ryan Darmanin’s fine first-time effort hit the upright.
Eight minutes from time, a shot by Sacha Borg was parried by the Hamrun custodian.
Akanni-Sunday Wasiu was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA: Bernard Paris, Owen Bugeja, Brian Said, Julian Briffa (46′ Jermain Brincat), Pablo Doffo, Joseph Borg, Akanni-Sunday Wasiu, Ryan Darmanin, Sacha Borg (90′ Mark Spiteri), Marlon Briffa (65′ Clyde Borg), Orosco Anonam.
Subs not used: Goran Jovanovic, Mauro Grioli, Alan Abela, Mark Borg.
Coach: Zoran Popovic Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
HAMRUN: Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Rupert Mangion (45′ Diego Cucciardi), Roderick Fenech, Manolito Micallef, Marcelo Pereira, Gaetan Spiteri, Martin Hrubsa, Jonathan Holland, Joao Mawete (82′ Mark Barbara), Clyde Camoin.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Dalton Caruana, Mead Mifsud, Lee James Agius.
Coach: Steve D’Amato Asst. Coach: Marco Grech
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Asst. Referees: Philip Agius, Mariano Debono
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Bugeja, J. Brincat
In the second match, Sliema Wanderers registered a second successive win as they came from behind to beat Tarxien Rainbows 4-2.
Tarxien took the lead on 9 minutes when a back-pass by Sliema defender Clifford Gatt Baldacchino beat goalkeeper Simon Agius for an own goal.
Sliema replied with an Alex Muscat effort hitting the woodwork following a pass by Ivan Woods a minute later.
The Wanderers levelled matters on 25 minutes when off a perfect cross by Josef Mifsud from the right, Ivan Woods headed home past goalkeeper Anthony Curmi.
The Blues had an excellent opportunity to taking the lead a minute later when Ian Azzopardi received a perfect assist from a corner by Pedrinho but the Sliema defender failed to conclude with Decesare clearing the ball into safety. On the other side of the pitch, a Manuel Caruana effort was turned into a corner by Simon Agius on 36 minutes.
The Sliema custodian came to the rescue, blocking an Anderson Mendes Ribeiro effort from the edge of the area four minutes in the second half.
The Wanderers forged ahead on 59 minutes when off a pass by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Ivan Woods failed to connect but on the other side was Pedro Dos Santos Calcado who slotted past goalkeeper Anthony Curmi.
Tarxien were reduced to ten men on 63 minutes after David Camilleri was sent off by referee Marco Borg for a tackle on Pedrinho.
However the Rainbows went close to equalising with a powerful freekick by Everton Antonio Pereira which was turned into a corner by Simon Agius on 76 minutes. A minute later, substitute Julio Alcorse hit just wide for Sliema when served on the right by Mifsud Triganza. On 79 minutes, a great header by Anderson Ribeiro was turned into another corner by Simon Agius following cross from the left by Steve Sadowski.
Five minutes from time, Sliema made it 3-1 thanks to a penalty converted by Lucian Dronca after Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was pulled down inside the area by substitute Justin Grioli.
Two minutes in added time, Tarxien reduced the gap when Denni Rocha Dos Santos concluded a good move with a powerful drive which beat Simon Agius.
However the game was not over yet as two minutes later, Julio Alcorse made it 4-2 when he beat Curmi with a fine curved shot when served by Mifsud Triganza.
Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA: Simon Agius, Alex Muscat, Ian Azzopardi, Josef Mifsud, Ryan Fenech, Mark Scerri (54′ Clayton Failla), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods (80′ Noel Turner), Lucian Dronca, Pedro Dos Santos Calcado (72′ Julio Alcorse).
Subs not used: Jeremy Alden, Luca Martinelli, Ian Ciantar, John Mintoff.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi Team Manager: Rupert Perry
TARXIEN: Anthony Curmi, Manuel Caruana, David Camilleri, Gianluca Calabretta (57′ Justin Grioli), Everton Antonio Pereira, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Mark Tanti, Andrew Decesare (46′ Steve Sadowski), Luke Vella Critien (81′ Kurt Magro), Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Lee Galea.
Subs not used: David Cassar, James Shead, Warren Chircop, Ryan Mintoff.
Coach: Noel Coleiro Asst. Coach: Michael Church
Referee: Marco Borg
Asst. Referees: Alan Camilleri, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Mifsud, Ribeiro, Calabretta, Scerri, Grioli, Denni, Alcorse
Red Card: 63′ David Camilleri