Floriana and Msida St. Joseph shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in one of the two Relegation Pool matches on Friday.
With this draw, the Saints, who now lie at the bottom of the table after having ten points deducted for failing to honour payments to their former coach and a number of former players, managed to avoid an embarrassing negative number of points in the table.
Both sides lacked two players as they were serving one-match bans – Stefan Lijeskic and Stefano Grima for Floriana and Adrian Farrugia and Kurt Grech for Msida.
Floriana took just 51 seconds to take the lead when Ryan Darmanin received a pass on the left and with a diagonal shot, he beat goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.
Darmanin went close once again on the 20th with a close-range effort ending wide following a cross by Ghebru from the right.
Msida replied with a Miguel Ciantar header off a cross by Andrew Formosa on 32 minutes.
On the 50th, a freekick by Pablo Doffo was deflected into a corner and from the resulting corner, the ball reached Brian Said whose close range effort was turned into a corner by Manuel Bartolo. On the other side of the pitch, a goal-bound shot by Joseph Damato was blocked by Clifton Ciantar, almost on the goal line.
Ryan Darmanin went close once again on 67 minutes with a fine header off a Pablo Doffo freekick from the right. On the other side of the pitch, Miguel Ciantar missed a good opportunity hitting wide from close range.
Four minutes from time, Msida levelled matters thanks to a cross shot by Iro Curmi which surprised goalkeeper Jurgen Micallef.
Ryan Darmanin was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photo: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
MSIDA Manuel Bartolo, Lydon Micallef, Matthew Borda, Tyrone Farrugia, Larson Agius, Zoran Levnaic, Joseph Damato (70’ Iro Curmi), Adam Spiteri (77’ Vincenzo Brincat), Baldassare Borg (69’ Phiram Sakcai), Andrew Formosa, Miguel Ciantar.
Subs not used:. Gallen Mifsud, Glendon Refalo, Luke Saliba, Charlie Black.
Coach: Keith Gouder
Team Manager: Robert Farrugia
FLORIANA Jurgen Micallef, Orosco Anonam (46’ Pablo Doffo), Jermain Brincat, Brian Said, Clifton Ciantar, Joseph Borg, Mark Spiteri (75’ Luke Agius), Ryan Darmanin, Owen Bugeja, Mauro Grioli (61’ Greg Marney), Michael Ghebru.
Subs not used: Bernard Paris, Christian Caruana, Alan Abela.
Coach: Zoran Popovic
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Gordon Barbara
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: L. Agius
Scorers: 1’ Ryan Darmanin (F); 86’ Iro Curmi (M)
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Hamrun Spartans defeated Dingli Swallows 2-1.
The Spartans lacked Roderick Fenech, Gaetan Spiteri and Ian Zammit, the latter two were serving a one-match ban. Dingli, on the other hand, were unlucky to lose Andre Rocha Da Silva injured after just five minutes.
The Spartans managed to take the lead on 8 minutes when following a good move by Lee James Agius, Obinna Obiefule served Marcelo Pereira who found no difficulty in beating Ivan Cassar with a low shot.
Dingli replied with a Kevin Borg freekick from which Dylan Zarb’s header was turned into a corner by Andrea Cassar. On the other side of the pitch, Obinna Obifiuele headed high following a fine cross for Hamrun.
The Swallows levelled matters on 36 minutes when off an Etienne Farrugia freekick, Dylan Zarb’s effort was blocked by the Hamrun defence but off the rebound, Roderick Spiteri placed the ball at the back of the net.
Hamrun went in search of a second goal early in the second half and Obiefule, served by Pereira, had a good shot parried by Ivan Cassar. A few minutes later, Lee James Agius hit the upright with a good attempt from outside the area. Substitute Mauro Busuttil also missed a good chance for Hamrun, hitting high from an ideal position.
On the other side of the pitch, an overhead kick by Dylan Zarb was parried by the Hamrun custodian.
The Spartans notched the winner on 74 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Roderick Briffa brought Bonnici down inside the area. From the penalty spot, Obinna Obiefule made no mistake.
Late in the game, Hamrun went close to increasing the lead when off a Rupert Mangion freekick, Marcelo Pereira almost surprised Ivan Cassar with a good header.
Marcelo Pereira was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Rupert Mangion, Mead Mifsud (63′ Mauro Busuttil), Mark Barbara (71′ Daniel Zerafa), Neville Galea, Lee James Agius, Marcelo Pereira, Martin Hrubsa, Obinna Obiefule (88′ Chris Cardona), Karl Magro
DINGLI Ivan Cassar, Roderick Briffa, Renato Garcia Conceicao, Roderick Spiteri, Kurt Formosa, Victor Fiteni (88′ Tyrone Pace), Kevin Borg (81′ Charlon Sammut), Matthew Borg, Andre Rocha da Silva (5′ Etienne Farrugia), Joseph Okonkwo, Dylan Zarb
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Bonnici, Barbara, Agius, Briffa
Scorers: 8′ Marcelo Pereira, 36′ Roderick Spiteri, 75′ Obinna Obiefule (pen)