Qormi and Vittoriosa Stars earned a point apiece as they shared the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
The Stars held the initiative during the first half but after the break, Qormi improved even if they had a player sent off. However late in the game, Vittoriosa created chances thanks to which they could have secured the three points.
Qormi lacked four players, namely Jason Lee Vandelannoite, Jonathan Bondin, Kosta Bjedov and Abubakar Bello-Osagie. Vittoriosa, on the other hand, lacked the suspended Kevin Mifsud but welcomed back Leighton Grech after serving a one-match ban.
Vittoriosa managed to take the lead on 14 minutes when Edison Luis Dos Santos served Anthony Ewurum inside the area and after controlling the ball, his conclusion was deflected by a defender past to end past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
Joseph Checuti had a shot from outside the area ending wide for Qormi but on 23 minutes, Vittoriosa went close once again with a Leighton Grech effort when served by Jorge Santos Silva from the left. One minute later, Ewurum headed high off another cross from the left. Four minutes from the end of the first half, Joseph Farrugia had a freekick from the left ending just over the bar.
But one minute in added time, Qormi levelled matters when following a clearance by the defence, the ball reached Cleavon Frendo who managed to beat Simon Agius with a cute lob.
Four minutes in the second half, Matthew Bartolo went close for Qormi with a shot the right ending just over the bars. On the other side of the pitch, a diagonal shot by Jorge Santos Silva from the right ended just wide.
Qormi forged ahead on the 50th when off a cross by Joseph Farrugia from the right, Ben Camilleri managed to beat Simon Agius with another lob from the edge of the area.
However on the 61st minute, they were reduced to ten men as Kang Hojung received a second yellow card for time-wasting just a few minutes after being cautioned for pushing an opponent.
Jorge Santos Silva managed to avoid a tackle by Michael Borg Olivier inside the area and unleash a powerful shot which hit the upright on 64 minutes. Qormi replied with a Joseph Farrugia freekick from the left which was turned into a corner on the 70th.
Vittoriosa restored equilibrium on the 75th when off a Leighton Grech cross from the left, Edison Luis Dos Santos headed the ball home past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
On the 90th, Edison Luis Dos Santos almost notched the winner for Vittoriosa but his slight deflection following a pass by Jorge Santos Silva from the right ended just wide. Four minutes in stoppage-time, the same player just failed to connect off another inviting pass by Jorge Santos from the right.
Edison Luis Dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Stefan Giglio, Roderick Sammut (62’ George Mallia), Matthew Bartolo, Keith Fenech, Joseph Chetcuti, Joseph Farrugia, Ben Camilleri (79’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Cleavon Frendo (68’ Steve Agius), Kang Hojung, Michael Borg Olivier.
Subs not used: Matthew Camilleri, Joseph Gaetano Gesualdi, Carmelo Farrugia, Jurgen Gerada.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Assistant Coach: Charles Scerri
VITTORIOSA Simon Agius, Carl Sammut, Sharlon Pace, Jeffrey Chetcuti, Carlos Campagnoli (24’ Jonathan Xerri), Edison Luis Dos Santos, Dino Cachia (84’ Clayton Micallef), Jorge Santos Silva, Anthony Ewurum, Steve Wellman, Leighton Grech.
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Justin Camilleri, Larry Lagana, Johann Spiteri, Waylon Grech.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Alan Camilleri
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: J. Chetcuti (Q), Hojung, Pace, Frendo, L. Grech
Red Cards: 61’ Hojung
Scorers: 14’ Anthony Ewurum (V); 45+1’ Cleavon Frendo (Q); 50’ Ben Camilleri (Q), 75’ Edison Luis Dos Santos (V)
In the second match, Sliema Wanderers and Marsaxlokk failed to get the three points they were aiming for as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Towards the end of a most quiet first half, Marsaxlokk forged ahead but early in the second half, Sliema levelled matters to earn a point for a third successive draw.
Sliema lacked Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Julian Briffa and John Mintoff due to suspension besides James Paris and Alex Muscat. However Clayton Failla returned after a long-term injury. Clive Brincat returned for Marsaxlokk after recovering from an injury while Italian defender Luca Lodetti made his first appearance on the bench.
The first attempt at goal occurred on 25 minutes with a direct freekick by Jackson Lima ending high. A shot from outside the area by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was parried by Reuben Gauci a minute later.
Marsaxlokk took the lead on the 40th when a Malcolm Licari cross from the right, Sliema goalie Ini Etim Aktpan punched the ball and off the rebound, Ruben Guerreiro Gravata hit home.
Four minutes in the second half, Sliema equalised when off a Clayton Failla cross from the right, Jackson Lima Sequeira controlled the ball before unleashing a powerful shot which was not held by Reuben Gauci to end at the back of the net.
Ruben Guerreiro had a fine effort from the left turned into a corner by Aktpan on 57 minutes. Trevor Templeman then had a good shot neutralised by Aktpan on 86 minutes. Finally in added time, the Sliema goalkeeper performed a difficult save into a corner on a fine Julio Alcorse header and then off a Martin Deanov cross from the left, Alfred Effiong’s header ended just wide.
Martin Deanov was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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SLIEMA Ini Etim Aktpan, Josef Mifsud, Sekou Tidiane Souare, Mark Scerri (59’ Noel Turner), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Miguel Ciantar (42’ Clayton Failla), Steve Bezzina, Jackson Lima Sequeira, Obinna Polycarp Obiefule, Roderick Bajada, Beppe Muscat (80’ Adam Spiteri).
Subs not used: Viktor Szentpeteri, Andrew Caligari, Ryan Dalli, Valdo Goncalves Alhinho.
Coach: Mark Marlow
Assistant Coach: Joseph Bajada
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Carlo Mamo, Gareth Sciberras, Martin Deanov, Malcolm Licari, Alfred Effiong, Clive Brincat (46’ Emil Yantchev), Rumen Galabov, Trevor Templeman, Dylan Kokavessis (60’ Peter Pullicino), Ruben Guerreiro Gravata (73’ Julio Alcorse).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Luca Lodetti, Gary Caruana, Andrew Spiteri.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Assistant Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: M. Ciantar, C. Brincat, J. Mifsud, P. Pullicino, M. Licari, C. Failla
Scorers: 40’ Ruben Guerreiro Gravata (M); 49’ Jackson Lima Sequeira (S)