Qormi returned to winning ways as they came from behind to beat rivals Hamrun Spartans 2-1. The Yellows are still third but now move to just two points behind leaders Valletta and one behind Birkirkara.
The Spartans had a better start but after taking the lead, they allowed Qormi to take the initiative and after missing a number of chances towards the end of the first half, the latter managed to turn defeat into victory early after the break.
Qormi lacked no less than three players due to suspension namely Keith Fenech, Alfred Effiong and Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo besides Roderick Sammut. However Duncan Pisani was making his debut after joining the club on loan from Floriana. Hamrun, on the other hand, lacked Jonathan Holland.
Hamrun had the first attempt at goal on the 9th minute but Matthew Farrugia blocked Ian Zammit’s fine effort.
The Spartans took the lead on 17 minutes when off a Rupert Mangion corner from the left, Roderick Fenech anticipated the Qormi defence heading home past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia
On 26 minutes, Duncan Pisani sent Matthew Bartolo through and the former Sliema midfielder’s shot from just outside the area was blocked by Ivan Casha. Bartolo then took advantage of a misunderstanding between Hrubsa and Casha but the latter managed to block the Qormi midfielder’s attempt.
Qormi went close once again on the half-hour when off a cross from the right by Duncan Pisani, consecutive attempts by Ryan Deguara, Matthew Bartolo and Joseph Farrugia were blocked by Roderick Fenech, Martin Hrubsa and Manolito Micallef respectively.
Five minutes in the second half, Qormi notched the equaliser when a long-distance freekick by Massimo Grima beat goalkeeper Ivan Casha who could only tip the ball slightly, ending at the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Qormi made it 2-1. It was Matthew Bartolo who concluded a great run on the left flank with an angled shot which beat the Hamrun custodian.
The Yellows were now in control and went close with a powerful shot by Ryan Deguara which was turned into a corner by Casha on 59 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, Joao Mawete released Marcelo Pereira on the left and the latter’s angled shot was parried by Matthew Farrugia on 76 minutes. A minute later, Manolito Micallef missed a great opportunity but hit high from inside the area.
Three minutes from time, Hamrun had an excellent chance to level matters when off a cross from the right by Rupert Mangion, Joao Mawete incredibly hit high with the open goal at his mercy. In added time, a header by Manolito Micallef, following a cross from the left, was parried by the Qormi custodian. Finally, a goal by Joao Mawete was disallowed for an offside.
Matthew Bartolo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HAMRUN Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Rupert Mangion, Roderick Fenech, Manolito Micallef, Marcelo Pereira, Gaetan Spiteri, Martin Hrubsa, Joao Mawete Junior, Clyde Camoin, Ian Zammit.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Dalton Caruana, Aaron Attard, Diego Cucciardi, Mead Mifsud, Neville Galea, Mauro Busuttil.
Coach: Steve D’Amato Asst. Coach: Marco Grech
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Duncan Pisani, Ramon Dos Santos, Massimo Grima, Matthew Bartolo (92′ Gabriel Buttigieg), Joseph Farrugia, Ryan Deguara (79′ Malcolm Buttigieg), Jonathan Bondin, Kenneth Spiteri (86′ Steve Meilak), Stefan Giglio, Stephen Wellman.
Subs not used: Matthew Camilleri, Steve Agius, Ryan Cauchi, Jurgen Stanyer.
Coach: Vince Carbonaro Team Manager: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Paul Caruana
Asst. Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Mariano Debono
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: R. Fenech, K. Spiteri, G. Spiteri, M. Micallef, M. Bartolo