Vittoriosa Stars were relegated to Division 1 after being held in a 2-2 draw by Qormi in a most dramatic clash.
The Stars seemed heading towards victory with two quick goals on the hour gave them a two goal lead. Qormi failed to give up and levelled matters with two goals late in the game. In added time, Vittoriosa were awarded a penalty which could have given them the three points and kept alive hopes of avoiding relegation but the shot by Edison Luis Dos Santos was neutralised by Matthew Camilleri.
The two sides shared the exchanges in the early stages with Cleavon Frendo going close for Qormi on the 20th with a shot from outside the area. Five minutes later, Frendo released Michael Borg Olivier on the right but his conclusion was neutralised by Jean Vella.
On the other side of the pitch, Jorge Santos Silva tried to lob the ball over Matthew Farrugia from the right but the Qormi custodian saved without particular difficulty on 39 minutes. Just before half-time, Carlos Campagnoli hit just wide from a direct freekick.
Vittoriosa managed to take the lead on 59 minutes when off a cross by Leighton Grech from the left, Jorge Santos Silva headed the ball home.
A minute later, Anthony Ewurum received a through pass by Leighton Grech, avoided the marking by a Qormi defender and entered the penalty area, slotting the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
Nine minutes from time, Qormi pulled one back when off a Matthew Bartolo corner from the right, Josue Souza Santos hit home.
Two minutes later, Josue released Joseph Farrugia on the left but the latter’s effort was saved by Jean Vella.
Four minutes from time, referee Clayton Pisani ordered a penalty after Joseph Chetcuti was brought down inside the area by Pierre Aquilina. From the penalty spot, Joseph Farrugia converted to equalise.
One minute in added time, Vittoriosa could have notched the winner when they were awarded a penalty after Roderick Sammut floored Jorge Santos Silva inside the area. However Edison Luis Dos Santos’ effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by substitute goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri.
Leighton Grech was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © www.fotoincmalta.com
QORMI Matthew Farrugia (67’ Matthew Camilleri), Michael Borg Olivier (96’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Stefan Giglio (69’ Matthew Bartolo), Roderick Sammut, Keith Fenech, Joseph Chetcuti, Christos Karamanolis, Jonathan Bondin, Cleavon Frendo, Joseph Farrugia, Josue Souza Santos.
Subs not used: Michael Mifsud, Joseph Gaetano Gesualdi, Ibraima Vaz Sani, Steve Agius.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Asst. Coach: Charles Scerri
VITTORIOSA Jean Vella, Justin Camilleri, Pierre Aquilina (88′ Alan Tabone), Carlos Campagnoli, Jonathan Xerri, Murilo Maccari, Dino Cachia, Ryan Grech, Leighton Grech, Jorge Santos Silva, Anthony Ewurum (78’ Edison Luis Dos Santos).
Subs not used: Simon Agius, Steve Wellman, Larry Lagana, Carl Sammut, Clayton Micallef.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: P. Aquilina
Scorers: 59’ Josue Santos Silva (V); 60’ Anthony Ewurum (V); 81’ Josue Souza Santos (Q); 86′ Joseph Farrugia (Q)
Meanwhile in the second match, Floriana and Marsaxlokk shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. A result which satisfied Valletta most as they maintain a twelve point lead over the Greens and a draw in their next game against Marsaxlokk on Sunday would be enough for them to be crowned champions.
The Greens stay one point ahead of Marsaxlokk and three ahead of Birkirkara, who however have a game in hand.
Floriana lacked Chris Caruana while Julio Alcorse and Andrew Spiteri were missing for the Southseasiders.
The Greens held the initiative for most of the first half, going close with two attempts by Daniel Nwoke ending just wide. A cute lob by Alfred Effiong for Marsaxlokk ended just over the bar on 34 minutes.
On-loan striker Ryan Darmanin missed the chance to score against his former team when he failed to connect off an inviting pass by Alfred Effiong from the left on the 40th.
Ryan Darmanin however managed to put Marsaxlokk ahead on 43 minutes when he deflected the ball following a clearance by a defender, ending at the back of the net after hitting the foot of the post.
The two teams continued to share the exchanges after the break with Ivan Woods going close on 67 minutes when he concluded a solo effort with a shot from outside the area which was saved by Reuben Gauci.
Alfred Effiong was then unlucky to hit the upright on the 72nd minute with the ball ending into a corner following a deflection by goalkeeper Lotfi Saidi. Three minutes later, Malcolm Licari had a close-range header turned into a corner by Saidi following a cross by Deanov from the right.
Floriana levelled matters on 76 minutes thanks to a fine first-time effort by Christian Cassar following a cross from the right by Joseph Borg.
Martin Deanov was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © www.fotoincmalta.com
FLORIANA Lotfi Saidi, Duncan Pisani, Tyrone Farrugia, Pablo Doffo, Thomas Paris, Manolito Micallef, Clyde Borg (55’ Joseph Borg), Christian Cassar, Mohammed El Yamani (60’ Dragomir Draganov) (89’ Sacha Borg), Ivan Woods, Daniel Nwoke.
Subs not used: Matthew Towns, Owen Bugeja, Mauro Di Lello, Brian Said.
Coach: Michael Woods
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Carlo Mamo, Florent Raimy, Ryan Darmanin (70’ Clive Brincat), Gareth Sciberras, Alfred Effiong, Malcolm Licari (81’ Peter Pullicino), Trevor Templeman, Martin Deanov, Emil Yantchev, Rumen Galabov.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Gary Caruana, Kevin Polidano, Sunday Eboh, Luca Lodetti.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Louis Cutajar
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: C. Borg, P. Doffo, F. Raimy, D. Pisani
Scorers: 43’ Ryan Darmanin (M); 76’ Christian Cassar (F)