A goal in added time by Branislav Timotic enabled Mqabba to rescue a point as they held Balzan Youths in a 2-2 draw.
The Youths therefore missed the opportunity to join Sliema Wanderers and Birkirkara in fourth.
Both sides had two players making their debut. Martin Deanov and Anthony Eviparker were making their first appearance for Balzan Youths while Julian Briffa and John Nwoba made their debut for Mqabba. Balzan lacked Kris Bright, who moved to Norway, and Roderick Farrugia. For Mqabba. Marlon Briffa was ruled out through suspension for Clive Mizzi’s side.
Balzan could have taken the lead on 24 minutes but off an inviting pass by Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Martin Deanov failed to connect. Ten minutes later, Eviparker served Calcado whose conclusion was deflected into a corner by a defender.
Ten minutes in the second half, Dylan Grima had a close-range effort blocked by goalkeeper Kris Calleja following a cross from the left by Deanov.
The Youths finally managed to break the deadlock on 72 minutes thanks to a goal by Pedro dos Santos Calcado who received a pass by Dylan Grima and beat Calleja with a low shot from inside the area.
Mqabba levelled matters on 77 minutes with a rising shot by Mauro Bonnici from just outside the area. A shot which gave goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri no chance.
However on 81 minutes, Balzan regained the lead thanks to another goal by Pedro dos Santos Calcado who received a pass by Eviparker on the right and beat the Mqabba custodian with an angled shot which hit the upright before ending at the back of the net.
But three minutes in added time, Branislav Timotic received a long ball by Pierre Grima and headed the ball over Matthew Camilleri to earn a point for Mqabba.
Pedro dos Santos Calcado was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Mauro Bonnici, Claudio Calleja (90′ Clayton Micallef), Branislav Timotic, Marko Potezica, David Azzopardi (85‘ Shawn Magro), Bojan Mamic (67‘ John Nwoba), Pierre Grima, Ryan Sammut, Thiago Mazzitelli, Julian Briffa.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Rene Duca, John Paul Muscat, Mark Anthony Psaila.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Yessous Camilleri, Jonathan Francica, Bledjon Guga, Clifton Ciantar (46‘ Bjorn Bondin), Rennie Forace, Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Martin Deanov (86‘ Miguel Ciantar), Anthony Eviparker (83‘ Fagner Lins Bernardes).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, David Fenech, Lydon Micallef, Silvan Ciscaldi.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Potezica, C. Calleja, B. Bondin, M. Camilleri, K. Calleja
Scorers: 72‘ Pedro dos Santos Calcado (B); 77‘ Mauro Bonnici (M); 81‘ Pedro dos Santos Calcado (B), 90+3′ Branislav Timotic
In the second match, Mosta returned to winning ways as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 2-1 in a clash between two teams from the lower part of the table. The Blues join Tarxien on the 13-point mark, leaving Marsaxlokk at the bottom of the table with eleven.
For the Rainbows, this was the fifth defeat in six matches.
Obinna Obiefule and Florent Raimy were making their debut for Mosta after leaving Marsaxlokk in November. However Bryan Agius, Sheldon Grech and the suspended Nikola Bogdanovic were missing for Steve D’Amato’s side.
Tarxien coach Patrick Curmi could not count on Justin Grioli and Daniel Mariano Bueno with Everton Antonio Pereira being retained on the bench. New faces in the Tarxien squad was former Marsaxlokk captain Carlo Mamo and Danish striker Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi.
Mosta took the lead after just seven minutes when off a cross by Jonathan Bajada from the left, a shot by Obinna Obiefule was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, Ian Zammit’s low shot hit the foot of the post before ending at the back of the net.
A Ricardo Costa free kick was deflected into a corner on the 10th minute and from the resulting corner by Caio Garcia Suguino, an Orosco Anonam header hit the crossbar after goalkeeper Jonathan Debono failed to hold the ball and Ricardo Costa hit home.
One minutes in the second half, Mosta went close to regaining the lead, once again through Ian Zammit whose effort was turned into a corner by David Cassar.
On the hour, Adrian Borg scored a great goal with a brilliant long-distance free kick, from a distance of around forty metres, which beat goalkeeper David Cassar.
Mosta were reduced to ten men on 79 minutes as Gilbert Martin picked a second yellow card for a foul on a defender.
A minute later, Tarxien midfielder Ricardo Costa was also sent off after hitting Federico Tisbi.
Ian Zammit was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Adrian Borg, Kane Farrugia, Federico Tisbi, Yannick Ossok, Florent Raimy (66‘ Alex Cini), Gilbert Magro, Kurt Magro, Obinna Obiefule, Ian Zammit, Jonathan Bajada (70‘ Bertrand Michel Maki Mvondo).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Luca Martinelli, John Paul Grima, Waune Sciberras, Firas Aboulezz.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
TARXIEN David Cassar, Steve Sadowski, Carlo Mamo, Stefan Giglio (68‘ Lee Galea), Adrian Carabott (78‘ Karl Pulo), Ricardo Costa, Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi, Carl Sammut, Orosco Anonam, Ryan Mintoff, Caio Garcia Suguino.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Luke Vella Critien, Julian Vella.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Mayasi, Magro, Anonam, Martin
Red Cards: 79’ Gilbert Martin, 80’ Ricardo Costa
Scorers: 7‘ Ian Zammit (M); 10‘ Ricardo Costa (T); 60’ Adrian Borg (M)