Tarxien Rainbows registered the sixth win in seven matches as they beat Vittoriosa Stars 1-0. A win which puts them once again alone in second place, seven points behind leaders Valletta.
Vittoriosa, therefore remain anchored at the bottom of the table as they were suffering the third defeat in four matches.
Kevin Mifsud and Carl Sammut were missing for Vittoriosa while Carlos Campagnoli started the game on the bench as he was recovering from an injury. Tarxien welcomed back Orosco Anonam after serving a one-match ban.
Vittoriosa had the first attempt at goal Jonathan Xerri effort was turned into a corner on 22 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, Luke Vella Critien served Gianluca Calabretta whos shot was turned by Simon Agius into a corner.
David Cassar performed a great save on a Leighton Grech effort from outside the area on 32 minutes. Three minutes later, Vella Critien served Daniel Mariano Bueno whose conclusion was turned into another corner by the Vittoriosa ground.
Tarxien went close one again on 36 minutes when a shot by Bueno was deflected by Simon Agius, the ball ended at Ricardo Costa’s feet and the latter was unlucky to hit the upright from close range. Three minutes later, a Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira freekick scraped past the post.
One minute in the second half, following a Calabretta corner from the left, a header by Orosco Anonam was cleared off the goal line by Justin Camilleri.
On the 50th, Anonam served Bueno inside the area but the latter’s effort was turned into a corner by Agius. Four minutes later, an Everton freekick from the right was blocked by a defender and off the rebound Ricardo Costa’s effort was neutralised by the Vittoriosa goalkeeper.
Following a cross by Cristiano from the left, Bueno had a good header saved by Simon Agius on 72 minutes. The Vittoriosa custodian then parried a Ricardo Costa freekick four minutes later.
Tarxien finally managed to break the deadlock on 79 minutes when off a Mark Tanti corner from the right, Everton Antonio Pereira managed to beat Agius with a powerful shot which ended in the top right corner.
Ryan Mintoff went close to doubling the score on 88 minutes when his close-range shot hit the upright following a deflection by goalkeeper Agius. One minute later, Steve Sadowski came to the rescue as he blocked a goal-bound shot by Jorge Santos Silva.
Simon Agius was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VITTORIOSA Simon Agius, Anthony Ewurum (61’ Clayton Micallef), Justin Camilleri, Sharlon Pace, Jeffrey Chetcuti, Edison Luis Dos Santos, Jonathan Xerri (77’ Johann Spiteri), Dino Cachia, Jorge Santos Silva, Steven Wellman, Leighton Grech.
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Carlos Campagnoli, Larry Lagana, Clifton Piscopo, Keiran Zammit.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla
TARXIEN David Cassar, Steven Sadowski, Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Gianluca Calabretta (72’ Mark Tanti), Ricardo Costa (83’ Ryan Mintoff), Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira (68’ Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luke Vella Critien, Orosco Anonam, Lee Galea.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi,, Sergio Hili, Julian Vella, Ryan Grech.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Everton, Wellman, Chetcuti, Ewurum
Scorers: 79′ Everton Antonio Pereira
Photos: Copyright © www.fotoincmalta.com
Meanwhile in the second match, Floriana returned to winning ways as they defeated Marsaxlokk 3-0. A win which enables the Greens to move to just one point behind fourth-placed Hamrun Spartans, building a four-point gap over the Southseasiders.
Marsaxlokk had Italian defender Luca Lodetti making his debut but they lacked a number of players including Clive Brincat, Rumen Galabov and Dylan Kokavessis.
Floriana forged ahead on 22 minutes when off a Michael Mecerod cross from the right, Ivan Woods flicked the ball past goalkeeper Reuben Gauci.
Two minutes later, off a Pablo Doffo freekick, Mecerod headed the ball down for Ivan Woods to slot the ball past Gauci.
Saidi performed a good save on an angled shot by Gareth Sciberras from the right on 38 minutes. A Martin Deanov direct freekick ended just wide five minutes later.
Four minutes in the second half, Woods served Christian Caruana on the right and the latter’s conclusion ended just wide. Reuben Gauci then performed a good save on a Michael Mecerod freekick on 59 minutes. Six minutes later, the American striker received a through pass but his cute lob from the right missed the target.
Marsaxlokk replied with a low shot by Malcolm Licari from the left which was blocked by Saidi and off the rebound, substitute Julio Alcorse headed wide.
Christian Caruana increased the lead on 76 minutes with a diagonal shot from the right which beat goalkeeper Reuben Gauci.
One minute later Marsaxlokk were reduced to ten men after Carlo Mamo received a second yellow card and was therefore sent off by referee Marco Borg.
Christian Caruana had a fine lob ending just wide on 81 minutes and one minute later, a shot by Marcal Guerreiro was blocked and off the rebound, Caruana hit wide.
Ivan Woods was voted BOV Player of the Match.
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Luca Lodetti, Carlo Mamo, Emil Yanchev, Sunday Eboh, Gareth Sciberras, Peter Pullicino (66’ Andrew Spiteri), Ruben Guerreiro Gravata, Martin Deanov (83’ Gary Caruana), Malcolm Licari, Alfred Effiong (46’ Julio Alcorse).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Manuel Caruana, Stephen Sammut.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Assistant Coach: Louis Cutajar
FLORIANA Lofti Saidi, Brian Said, Tyrone Farrugia, Duncan Pisani, Manolito Micallef (81’ Owen Bugeja), Pablo Doffo, Christian Caruana, Clyde Borg, Michael Mecerod (72’ Joseph Borg), Ivan Woods (79’ Luke Agius), Marcal Guerreiro Fernandez.
Subs not used: Jurgen Micallef, Ryan Darmanin, Mark Gauci, Sacha Borg.
Coach: Michael Woods
Assistant Coach: Todor Raykov
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Mecerod, Mamo, Gravata
Red Cards: 77’ Carlo Mamo
Scorers: 22’ Ivan Woods, 24’ Ivan Woods, 76’ Christian Caruana