A penalty by Moises Avila Perez four minutes from time enabled Birkirkara to hold Valletta in a 1-1 draw. The Citizens therefore no longer enjoy sole leadership and they now share the top spot with Hibernians.
Birkirkara, on the other hand, are now alone in third place on 22 points, ten behind the joint-leaders.
Valletta once again lacked Michael Mifsud but Alfred Effiong and Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri were once again available for selection although both started the game on the bench.
Birkirkara held the initiative during the first half, going close on the 8th minute when off a cross by Jorge Santos Silva from the left, Shola Shodiya served Paul Fenech inside the are and the latter rounded the goalkeeper but his attempt was deflected by Hogg into a corner.
On the 20th minute, a low shot by Paul Fenech was deflected into a corner and from the resulting corner, a cross by bajada cleared off the goal line
Just before half time, a Shaun Bajada freekick was blocked by Hogg and in added time, Bajada had a fine effort from a corner turned into another corner by the Valletta custodian.
Two minutes in the second half, Denni was unlucky not to put the Citizens ahead when his powerful drive from the right hit the upright with the goalkeeper beaten.
Valletta were now creating the better chances and William Barbosa went close to putting them ahead with a freekick on 63 minutes which however ended just wide. Six minutes later, Denni received a perfect pass by Effiong and lobbed the ball over Gauci but the ball was cleared off the goal line by a defender.
However Denni Rocha dos Santos was not to be denied on 71 minutes when off a cross by Zongo from the right, Edmond Agius served the Brazilian striker who slammed the ball past the Birkirkara goalkeeper.
Five minutes from time, Birkirkara were awarded a penalty after Steve Borg pushed Shola Shodiya inside the area. Substitute Moises Avila Perez made no mistake to equalise.
One minute later, Valletta had substitute Alfred Effiong sent off after the Nigerian striker hit an opponent inside the penalty area.
Denni Rocha dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Aleksandrs Cekulajevs (46′ Alfred Effiong), Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Edmond Agius, Ousseni Zongo (83′ Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri), Denni Rocha dos Santos, William Barbosa, Roderick Bajada (57′ Gilbert Agius).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Nahuel Pulitano Jimenez, Filippo Andrea Scozzese, Terence Scerri.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Rodrigo Pereira, Nikola Vukanac, Jorge Santos Silva (82′ Moises Avila Perez), Shaun Bajada, Ryan Scicluna (73′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Paul Fenech, Angus Buhagiar, Gareth Sciberras, Joseph Zerafa, Shola Shodiya Harun (87′ Rowen Muscat).
Subs not used: Karl Magri, Ryan Camenzuli, Alan Tabone, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Esther Farrugia Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Bajada, Borg, Zerafa, Vukanac, Pereira, Avila Perez
Scorers: 71′ Denni Rocha dos Santos (V); 86′ Moises Avila Perez pen (B)
Meanwhile a brace by Jackson Lima Siqueira gave Hibernians a third successive win as they beat Floriana 2-0. A win which extends the Paolites’ unbeaten run to nine matches.
On the other hand, Floriana were suffering a second successive defeat and have now gone six matches without a win.
The Greens, who are yet to appoint a new coach following the resignation of Michael Woods, lacked Eric Akoto, Manolito Micallef and Ivan Woods besides Christian Caruana and Tyrone Farrugia who are ruled out till the end of the season. Hibernians, on the other hand, were in full strength.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal on the 5th minute but goalkeeper Patrick Jansen anticipated Tarabai outside the penalty area and cleared into safety before the Hibs striker could do any damage. Floriana replied with a Pablo Doffo freekick which was partially saved by Muscat and off the rebound, Christian Caruana hit sky high on the 31st. Four minutes later, Muscat turned into a corner a Ryan Darmanin header following a corner by John Mintoff. Then on 36 minutes, Mario Muscat came to the rescue anticipating Grabowski before he could conclude.
Three minutes in the second half, Marcelo Dias dribbled past two defenders on the left flank but his conclusion was turned into a corner by Jansen. Three minutes later, Joseph Borg hit high off a cross by John Mintoff for Floriana.
Hibs managed to break the deadlock on the hour thanks to a goal by Jackson Lima Siqueira who received the ball off a Clayton Failla freekick and beat Jansen with a fine shot from outside the area.
Mario Muscat neutralised a close-range effort by Grabowski on 64 minutes and a minute later, parried a good attempt by Doffo from outside the area.
On the 66th minute, Floriana were reduced to ten men after Duncan Pisani was given marching orders by referee Clayton Pisani.
The Paolites secured victory with a second goal seven minutes from time when off a Clayton Failla corner, there was an erratic clearance and the ball reached Jackson Lima Siqueira whose attempt from outside the area beat the Floriana custodian.
Jackson Lima Siqueira was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Patrick Jansen, Duncan Pisani, Pablo Doffo, Owen Bugeja (17′ Malcolm Licari), Thomas Paris, Joseph Borg, Clyde Borg, Andre Grabowski (73′ Alandson Da Silva), Christian Caruana, John Mintoff, Ryan Darmanin.
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Francesco Guzman, Brooke Farrugia, Malcolm Licari, Luca Casha, Luigi Farrugia.
Team Manager: Justin Attard
HIBS Mario Muscat, Jonathan Pearson, Aaron Xuereb, Rodolfo Soares, Clayton Failla, Bjorn Kristensen (84′ Adrian Pulis), Jackson Lima Siqueira, Andrew Cohen, Edward Herrera (59′ Peter Anizoba Chizoba), Marcelo Dias (75′ Jason Vandelannoite), Edison Luis dos Santos.
Subs not used: Nicholas Grima, Steve Pisani, Johann Bezzina, Ryan Camilleri.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Richard Mercieca
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Mintoff, Lima, Tarabai, Xuereb, C. Borg, Paris, Doffo
Red Cards: 66′ Duncan Pisani
Scorers: 60′ Jackson Lima Siqueira, 83′ Jackson Lima Siqueira