Champions Valletta extended their unbeaten run thanks to a 1-1 draw with eternal rivals Floriana.
This game was of utmost importance for the Floriana in their battle for second place. They are now two points ahead of third-placed Birkirkara and a draw in next Friday’s direct clash would be enough for the Greens to secure the runner-up position and a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer.
Floriana took the lead on the 20th when off a Christian Cassar corner from the right, Tyrone Farrugia headed the ball home past goalkeeper Hogg.
Goalkeeper Andrew Hogg came to the rescue on 33 minutes as he rushed out of the area to anticipate Christian Cassar. Dragomir Draganov took the rebound but his conclusion missed the target.
Valletta levelled matters on 35 minutes when Gilbert Agius received a cross from the right and with a fine shot, he managed to beat goalkeeper Matthew Towns.
Just before the break, Pablo Doffo tested Hogg with a long-distance freekick.
Early in the second half, Floriana went close once again with a shot from the left by Ivan Woods ending just wide.
On the 70th, Denni Rocha Dos Santos had an angled shot from the right missing the target by a whisker. Eight minutes later, the Brazilian striker headed just wide off an inviting cross by Roderick Briffa.
Tyrone Farrugia was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © www.fotoincmalta.com
FLORIANA Matthew Towns, Duncan Pisani, Tyrone Farrugia, Pablo Doffo, Thomas Paris (80′ Joseph Borg), Christian Cassar, Manolito Micallef, Dragomir Draganov (66′ Christian Caruana), Ivan Woods, Daniel Nwoke, Owen Bugeja,
Subs not used: Lotfi Saidi, Brian Said, Mark Gauci, Mark Spiteri, Alan Abela.
Coach: Michael Woods
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Ramon Dos Santos, Edmond Agius, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Jamie Pace, Terence Scerri (78′ Andrade Antunes Anderson), Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Ryan Fenech (78′ Ian Zammit), Gilbert Agius (68′ Kevin Sammut).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Kurt Magro, Kenneth Scicluna, Omonigho Temile.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Alan Camilleri
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Pace, Anderson
Scorers: 20′ Tyrone Farrugia (F); 35′ Gilbert Agius (V)
Two goals early in the first half enabled Birkirkara to beat Marsaxlokk 2-0 and close in on second placed Floriana.
Birkirkara took the lead on the 6th minute when Emiliano Lattes concluded a solo effort by rounding a defender before beating goalkeeper Reuben Gauci with a fine shot from outside the area.
Michael Galea doubled the score on 13 minutes when he received a pass from the left and with a shot half height he managed to beat the Marsaxlokk goalkeeper.
Gauci came to the rescue on 18 minutes turning into a corner a good header by Andrei Agius from close range following a cross from the left by Lattes. Marsaxlokk replied with a cross by Alfred Effiong from the left from which Julio Alcorse tested Manuel Bartolo with a fine header.
Ten minutes from the end of the first half, an Emiliano Lattes freekick from the right scraped past the post.
Eight minutes in the second half, Julio Alcorse missed an incredible chance when all alone in front of the Birkirkara goalkeeper, following a cross by Raimy from the left, but Bartolo blocked his low effort.
For the rest of the second half, the Southseasiders held the initiative but Birkirkara kept their opponents at bay to take home the three points.
Emiliano Lattes was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © www.fotoincmalta.com
B’KARA Manuel Bartolo, Ibrahim Babatunde (82′ Terence Vella), Rowen Muscat, Patrick Borg, Andrew Decesare (68′ Karl Pulo), Andrei Agius, Joseph Zerafa, Nikola Vukanac, Emiliano Lattes, Michael Galea (63′ Ryan Scicluna), Trevor Cilia.
Subs not used: Michael Fraser, Rodolfo Kumbrevicius, Ryan Camenzuli, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Branko Nisevic
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Malcolm Licari, Carlo Mamo, Rumen Galabov, Clive Brincat, Trevor Templeman, Florent Raimy (68′ Emil Yanchev), Gareth Sciberras, Martin Deanov (82′ Gary Caruana), Alfred Effiong (72′ Ryan Darmanin), Julio Alcorse.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Sunday Eboh, Peter Pullicino, Andrew Spiteri.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Assistant Coach: Louis Cutajar
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Vukanac, Decesare, Zerafa
Scorers: 6′ Emiliano Lattes, 13′ Michael Galea