A goal by substitute Bjorn Kristensen enabled Hibernians to move eight points clear of wooden-spoonists Vittoriosa Stars as they defeated Sliema Wanderers 1-0.
The Paolites in fact join Sliema and Qormi on fourteen points with the Stars lying at the bottom of the table on six.
Sliema lacked Viktor Szentpeteri, Alex Muscat, James Paris and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza. For Hibernians, Brian Fairnbairn was ruled out through suspension.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal on the 4th minute with Edward Herrera having a shot from outside the area turned into a corner by Henry Bonello. Andrew Cohen then released Paul McManus on the left and the latter’s conclusion was parried by the Sliema goalkeeper.
On 25 minutes, a Chakib Lachkhem effort was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, Jackson Lima’s first-time effort was parried by the Hibs custodian. A cross shot by Andrew Cohen two minutes later was neutralised by Bonello.
Hibernians had an excellent opportunity to take the lead on 31 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for a handling infringement inside the area following a cross from the right by Camilleri. However the penalty by Paul McManus hit the upright and off the rebound, Andrew Cohen’s effort was saved by Henry Bonello.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Bonello turned into a corner an Andrew Cohen effort following a good move by Herrera.
Mario Muscat performed a good save on a Josef Mifsud header off a cross by Failla ten minutes in the second half. A fierce shot by Jackson Lima ended just wide on 68 minutes. Four minutes later, Mark Scerri, served by Obiefule, had a rising shot from outside the area ending just over the bar.
Henry Bonello was prominent once again as he saved in two attempts a shot from outside the area by Andrew Cohen who took advantage from a defensive blunder. Then on 81 minutes, Jackson Lima came to the rescue blocking a close-range effort by Andrew Cohen following a good move with Edward Herrera.
The Paolites managed to break the deadlock on 84 minutes when off a cross from the right by Abdelilah Taki, Bjorn Kristensen slammed the ball home from close range.
Andrew Cohen was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Julian Briffa (35’ Beppe Muscat), Josef Mifsud, Mark Scerri (73’ Miguel Ciantar), Steve Bezzina, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Jackson Lima Sequeira, Chakib Lachkhem, Roderick Bajada, Clayton Failla (68’ Obinna Obiefule), Etienne Barbara.
Subs not used: Ini Aktpan, Noel Turner, Adam Spiteri, John Mintoff.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Assistant Coach: Joseph Bajada
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Aaron Xuereb, Jonathan Pearson, Adrian Pulis (72’ Bjorn Kristensen), Patrick Osei, Richard Hart, Paul McManus (72’ Matt Clarke), Andrew Cohen, Edward Herrera, Abdelilah Taki.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Matthew Gauci, Triston Caruana, Matthew Tabone, Keith Tanti.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Edmond Lufi
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: J. Briffa, J. Mifsud, R. Hart, A. Cohen
Scorers: 84’ Bjorn Kristensen
A goal by Julio Alcorse gave Marsaxlokk a narrow win over Tarxien Rainbows. A win which puts the Southseasiders in second place on 19 points, one ahead of Birkirkara and two ahead of Floriana but the latter two have a have in hand.
The Southseasiders extended their positive run to nine matches without defeat while the Rainbows were suffering the fourth defeat in five matches.
Marsaxlokk lacked midfielder Florent Raimy and striker Alfred Effiong. The Rainbows, on the other hand, welcomed back Manuel Caruana, Justin Grioli and Daniel Mariano Bueno.
Goal-mouth action was rare and the Southseasiders had the first attempt at goal with a diagonal shot by Carlo Mamo from the left ended just wide on 16 minutes. Tarxien replied with a Sergio Pacheco freekick from the left which was parried by Reuben Gauci.
Early in the second half, Tarxien went close with attempts by Gianluca Calabretta and Daniel Mariano Bueno.
However Marsaxlokk managed to take the lead on 59 minutes when a pass by Ruben Guerreiro was slightly deflected and reached Julio Alcorse on the right with the Argentine striker slamming the ball past goalkeeper David Cassar.
To make matters worse for Tarxien, they were reduced to ten men on 61 minutes when Justin Grioli received two yellow cards in two minutes.
Daniel Mariano Bueno went close once again for the Rainbows with a diagonal shot from the left ending just wide on 74 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, Andrew Spiteri served Ruben Guerreiro whose powerful shot from the left just missed the target.
On 81 minutes, Martin Deanov had a good attempt from outside the area ending wide. Reuben Gauci then managed to turn into a corner a good header from inside the area.
Four minutes from time, Tarxien were awarded a penalty after Malcolm Licari handled the ball inside the area. However Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira’s effort from the penalty spot hit the upright.
In added time, Alcorse could have added another goal for Marsaxlokk but concluded a fine run with a rising shot which ended high.
Julio Alcorse was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN David Cassar, Steven Sadowski, Manuel Caruana (32’ Gianluca Calabretta), Everton Antonio Pereira, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues (63’ Ricardo Costa), Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luke Vella Critien (79’ Sergio Hili), Orosco Anonam, Lee Galea, Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Jean Luca Caruana, Warren Zerafa, Julian Vella.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Assistant Coach: Michael Church
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Trevor Templeman, Martin Deanov (83’ Ryan Darmanin), Emil Yanchev, Rumen Galabov, Carlo Mamo, Peter Pullicino (71’ Andrew Spiteri), Julio Alcorse, Malcolm Licari, Sunday Eboh (57’ Ruben Guerreiro Gravata), Gareth Sciberras.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Gary Caruana, Manuel Caruana, Luca Lodetti.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Assistant Coach: Louis Cutajar
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Templeman, Deanov, Grioli, Licari
Red Cards: 61’ Grioli
Scorers: 59’ Julio Alcorse