Sliema Wanderers brought to an end Birkirkara’s positive run as they defeated them 1-0. The Stripes therefore missed the chance to take sole leadership. The Wanderers, on the other hand, are still fifth but now lie just one point behind fourth-placed Hibernians.
It was a well-deserved win for Mark Marlow’s side as they created the better chances throughout the ninety minutes.
Birkirkara, once again lacked, Joseph Zerafa, George Mallia and Angus Buhagiar while John Mintoff was not available for Sliema.
Sliema had the first shot at goal on 13 minutes with a Clayton Failla solo effort hitting the upright. Eight minutes later, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza tested Jorge Mora with a powerful shot from inside the area.
The Wanderers took the lead on 37 minutes when off a cross by Pedro Dos Santos Calcado Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza headed home past goalkeeper Jorge Mora.
Eight minutes in the second half, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was unlucky to conclude a solo effort with a good shot which hit the foot of the post. Four minutes later, the same striker went close with a close-range shot which was deflected into a corner by Mora. Birkirkara replied with a Sylvano Comvalius effort from the left which missed the target.
In the dying minutes, substitute Julio Alcorse and Ryan Fenech went close to increasing the lead for the Blues.
Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was voted BOV Player of the Match.
B’KARA Jorge Mora, Thomas Paris (79′ Alan Tabone), Nikola Vukanac, Branko Nisevic, Carlo Mamo, Rowen Muscat, Paul Fenech, Shaun Bajada Trevor Cilia (71′ Karl Pulo), Michael Galea, Sylvano Comvalius.
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Andrew Scicluna, Andreas Galea, Lee Borg, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit Team Manager: Mario Gatt
SLIEMA Simon Agius, Alex Muscat, Ian Azzopardi, Josef Mifsud, Ryan Fenech, Mark Scerri, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (93′ Clifford Gatt Baldacchino), Ivan Woods (90′ Ian Ciantar), Lucian Dronca, Pedro Dos Santos Calcado, Clayton Failla (79′ Julio Alcorse).
Subs not used: Jeremy Alden, Luca Martinelli, Noel Turner, Klinsmann Grech.
Coach: Mark Marlow Team Manager: Rupert Perry
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Asst. Referees: Philip Agius, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Bajada, P. Fenech, Mamo, Woods, I. Azzopardi
Meanwhile in the first match, Floriana and Hibernians shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. The Paolites are fourth on 26 points while the Greens join Hamrun Spartans on 19 points.
Two new foreigners were making their debut – Brazilian striker Elton Morelato for Hibernians and Serbian midfielder Stefan Lijeskic for Floriana. However both sides were unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Mario Muscat and Aaron Xuereb who were both suspended for the Paolites, Marlon Briffa and Luke Agius who were both injured for Floriana.
Goalkeeper Bernard Paris managed to block consecutive attempts by Elton Morelato and Miguel Lopes De Pina on the 6th minute.
Floriana took the lead on 15 minutes when Pablo Doffo concluded a good move with a great shot from a distance of around 35 metres which beat goalkeeper Daniel Balzan.
Two minutes later, Ryan Darmanin almost doubled the score after anticipating the Hibs goalkeeper with a cute lob. However his attempt was cleared into a corner by Jonathan Pearson.
Hibernians replied with a fierce shot by Christian Callejas, following a cross from the left by Andrew Cohen, which ended high.
The Paolites levelled matters on 58 minutes when off a cross by Andrew Cohen, Christian Callejas headed home past goalkeeper Bernard Paris.
Pablo Doffo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Bernard Paris, Stefano Grima (65′ Julian Briffa), Owen Bugeja, Brian Said, Orosco Anonam, Pablo Doffo, Joseph Borg (61′ Clifton Ciantar), Stefan Lijeskic, Ryan Darmanin, Christian Caruana, Sacha Borg (77′ Victor Zlydarev).
Subs not used: Jurgen Micallef, Clyde Borg, Mark Spiteri, Jermain Brincat.
Coach: Zoran Popovic Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
HIBS Daniel Balzan, Edward Herrera, Adrian Pulis, Ryan Camilleri (59′ Triston Caruana), Jonathan Caruana, Jonathan Pearson, Christian Callejas, Elton Morelato (79′ Ben Camilleri), Miguel Lopes De Pina, Etienne Barbara, Andrew Cohen.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Chris Camilleri, Yan Cauchi, Elkien Cauchi, Matthew Tabone.
Coach: Mark Miller Asst. Coach: Edmond Lufi
Referee: Andre Arciola
Asst. Referees: Edward Spiteri, Gordon Barbara
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Doffo, Grima, Zlydarev, Pulis