Marsaxlokk started their Relegation Pool commitments on a positive note as they returned to winning ways, defeating Qormi 1-0. For the team led by Anton Cremona, this was the first win in over four months. A win which puts the Southseasiders on the 9-point mark, one behind Mqabba and Hamrun.
Captain Trevor Templeman was missing for Marsaxlokk. Qormi, on the other hand, lacked Roderick Sammut and Abubakar Bello-Osagie.
Goal-mouth action was lacking during the first half and although Qormi were slightly better than their opponents, the best chance occurred just before half-time when a good header by Vincent Koaudio, off a freekick by Joseph Farrugia, was parried by goalkeeper Christian Cassar.
Six minutes in the second half, off a freekick by Nemanja Stoskovic, Alex Cesar Pedrozo’s fine header was turned into a corner by Qormi goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
Marsaxlokk managed to break the deadlock on the hour when off a good run by Alex Cesar Pedrozo on the left flank, he served Gary Caruana whose great rising shot gave goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia no chance.
In the remaining minutes, Marsaxlokk did their best to keep their oppponents at bay and in fact, goalkeeper Christian Cassar was hardly tested.
Gary Caruana was voted BOV Player of the Match.
M’XLOKK Christian Cassar, Modesto Valeriani, Patrick Borg, Luke Agius, Jermain Brincat, Nemanja Stoskovic (92′ Stefan Cutajar), Sunday Eboh, Jean Paul Farrugia, Gary Caruana, Peter Taiye Oladotun, Alex Cesar Pedrozo (80′ Clive Brincat).
Subs not used: Jurgen Muscat, Gabriel Buttigieg, Darrell Grech, Darren Attard, Manuel Caruana.
Coach: Anton Cremona
Asst. Coach: Louis Cutajar
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Farrugia, Luke Sciberras (80′ Ranier Buhagiar), Kenneth Scicluna, Federico Mirarchi (46′ Joseph Chetcuti), Jonathan Bondin, Jorge Pereira da Silva, Triston Caruana, Stephen Wellman (68′ George Chircop), Vincent Koaudio Adioumani.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Christian Briffa.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Scicluna, Stoskovic, Koaudio, J. Farrugia, Brincat
Scorers: 60′ Gary Caruana
Meanwhile Tarxien Rainbows joined Mosta in second place in the Relegation Pool, three points behind Qormi, as they defeated Mqabba 1-0.
Everton Antonio Pereira was missing for Tarxien as he was ruled out through suspension but Justin Grioli was back after serving a two match ban. Mqabba, on the other hand, welcomed back Kris Calleja, Julian Briffa, Mauro Bonnici, Mark Anthony Psaila and David Fenech.
Tarxien went close to taking the lead after just two minutes with a close-range effort by Luiz Romulo De Castro which was blocked by Calleja and off the rebound, Jimmy Nzinga-Mayasi’s shot was deflected into a corner. Another Mayasi effort on the 10th was neutralised by Kris Calleja.
Mqabba replied with a long-distance shot by Claudio Calleja on 25 minutes ending just over the bar. On 41 minutes, a shot from outside the area by David Azzopardi was turned into a corner by Nicky Vella.
Four minutes in the second half, Nzinga Mayasi missed a good opportunity to put the Rainbows ahead when he advanced all alone but his conclusion scraped past the post. On 63 minutes, Ricardo Costa concluded a good move on the right with a perfect pass for Luiz Romulo De Castro whose effort however hit the crossbar.
Mqabba came to the rescue on 74 minutes with Branislav Timotic clearing the ball off the goal-line following a De Castro freekick.
The Rainbows finally managed to take the lead on 79 minutes when off a Ricardo Costa cross from the right, substitute Karl Pulo, who was included as a substitute two minutes earlier, flicked the ball past Calleja despite Mauro Bonnici’s desperate attempt to clear the ball into safety.
Luiz Romulo De Castro was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Carlo Mamo, Ricardo Costa, Jimmy Nzinga-Mayasi (65′ Adrian Carabott), Mark Tanti (77′ Karl Pulo), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luiz Romulo De Castro, Orosco Anonam, Ryan Mintoff, Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Clive Fenech, Stefan Giglio, Julian Vella, Lee Galea.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Ryan Sammut, Mauro Bonnici, Branislav Timotic, Julian Briffa, David Azzopardi (77′ Clayton Micallef), Marko Potezica, Claudio Calleja, Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli, John Paul Muscat (51′ David Fenech), Bojan Mamic.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Pierre Grima, Marlon Briffa, Mark Anthony Psaila.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Sammut, De Castro, Potezica, Briffa, Bonnici
Scorers: 79′ Karl Pulo