Sliema Wanderers condemned Floriana to playing in the Relegation Pool after beating them 2-0 despite playing for over fifty minutes in ten men after having a player sent off. The Blues move fourth on 28 points, two ahead of Hibernians.
The Greens remain joint-seventh on twenty points. They lacked a number of players due to injuries namely Owen Bugeja, Luke Agius and Marlon Briffa, besides Sunday Eboh and Christian Cassar.
The Wanderers took the lead on 11 minutes thanks to Ryan Fenech, who received a pass by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, and beat Bernard Paris with a fine shot.
Sliema went close on 35 minutes when Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza released substitute John Mintoff on the right but the latter’s effort was parried by the Floriana custodian.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, the Blues were reduced to ten men after referee Clayton Pisani awarded a second yellow card to Pedro Dos Santos Calcado for time-wasting as he was about to take a freekick.
Seven minutes in the second half, Mintoff missed a good chance when he failed to conclude off an inviting pass by Mifsud Triganza from the left. On the hour, Pablo Doffo released Victor Zlydarev on the right but the latter’s diagonal shot missed the target by a whisker.
The Wanderers doubled the score on 66 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Stefano Grima brought John Mintoff down inside the area. From the penalty spot, Lucian Dronca converted.
Ten minutes from time, Floriana also had a player sent off as Pablo Doffo was given marching orders for a tackle on John Mintoff.
Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza could have increased the lead further on 89 minutes but his diagonal shot from the left ended just wide.
However Mifsud Triganza was not to be denied on 92 minutes when he placed the ball at the back of the net from close range following a great move by John Mintoff on the left in which he dribbled two players.
Ryan Fenech was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA Simon Agius, Alex Muscat, Ian Azzopardi, Josef Mifsud, Ryan Fenech (84′ Ian Ciantar), Mark Scerri (30′ John Mintoff), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Ivan Woods, Lucian Dronca, Pedro Dos Santos Calcado, Clayton Failla (74′ Clifford Gatt Baldacchino).
Subs not used: Jeremy Alden, Noel Turner, Amadeo Mercieca, Julio Alcorse.
Coach: Mark Marlow Team Manager: Rupert Perry
FLORIANA Bernard Paris, Clifton Ciantar, Stefano Grima, Brian Said, Julian Briffa, Orosco Anonam, Stefan Lijeskic (69′ Clyde Borg), Pablo Doffo, Sacha Borg (32′ Victor Zlydarev), Christian Caruana (73′ Mark Spiteri), Ryan Darmanin.
Subs not used: Jurgen Micallef, Jermain Brincat, Joseph Borg, Alan Abela.
Coach: Zoran Popovic Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: C. Caruana, P. Calcado, J. Briffa, I. Woods, Zlydarev, B. Said, S. Grima
Meanwhile in the first match, Birkirkara returned to winning ways as they came from behind to beat Msida St. Joseph 2-1. They are now second, one point behind leaders Valletta and one ahead of Qormi.
Joseph Zerafa, George Mallia and Angus Buhagiar were all missing for the Stripes while Shaun Bajada and Sylvano Comvalius started the game on the bench. Msida lacked the suspended Lydon Micallef.
Msida took the lead on the 20th when Kevin Mifsud sent Kalenga Ndayi through and the latter advanced into the area before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Jorge Mora.
Birkirkara levelled matters on 48 minutes when Paul Fenech served Michael Galea whose shot from a distance of around twenty-five metres beat goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.
Two minutes later, the Stripes forged ahead. Karl Pulo received a pass inside the area and with a low shot, he beat the Msida custodian.
On 59 minutes, Paul Fenech had a shot from outside the area parried by Bartolo. Five minutes later, Msida missed an incredible chance as Kalenga Ndayi failed to connect off a perfect pass by Emiliano Lattes from the left. On the other side of the pitch, a shot by substitute Shaun Bajada, deflected by a defender, hit the upright with Bartolo beaten on 69 minutes.
Following a freekick from the left by Bajada, Cilia served Nikola Vukanac who hit high from close range on 76 minutes. A minute later, Cilia hit wide from the right.
Karl Pulo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MSIDA Manuel Bartolo, Adrian Farrugia, Matthew Borda, Tyrone Farrugia, Roderick Baldacchino, Zoran Levnaic, Adam Spiteri (81′ Andrew Formosa), Kevin Mifsud, Miguel Ciantar, Emiliano Lattes, Kalenga Ndayi.
Subs not used: Daniel Borda, Dasser Borg, Charlie Black, Vincenzo Brincat, Joseph Damato, Iro Curmi.
Coach: Keith Gouder Team Manager: Robert Farrugia
B’KARA Jorge Mora, Trevor Cilia, Rowen Muscat (78′ Andrew Scicluna), Nikola Vukanac, Branko Nisevic, Carlo Mamo, Thomas Paris, Karl Pulo (72′ Sylvano Comvalius), Paul Fenech, Michael Galea, Alan Tabone (66′ Shaun Bajada).
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Andrew Scicluna, Andreas Galea, Ryan Scicluna, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit Team Manager: Mario Gatt
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: K. Mifsud, T. Cilia, A. Farrugia, T. Farrugia, A. Scicluna, B. Nisevic, S. Bajada