Birkirkara moved back in third place thanks to a most comfortable 5-0 win over Balzan Youths. The Stripes lie two points ahead of Floriana and six behind second-placed Hibernians.
For Balzan, this was the third successive defeat and remain anchored at the bottom of the Championship Pool.
The Youths lacked Jonathan Francica, Roderick Farrugia and Pedro dos Santos Calcado but Nikola Tasic was back after serving a one-match ban. On the other hand, Shola Shodiya returned for Birkirkara but Paul Fenech was missing.
Birkirkara managed to take the lead on 24 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after a defender handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Rodrigo Pereira made no mistake.
The Stripes doubled the score on 33 minutes when Jorge Santos Silva concluded a good move with a shot which was blocked by the goalkeeper and off the rebound, Ryan Scicluna placed the ball at the back of the net.
Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza made it 3-0 on the 45th minute when he received a pass by Shola Shodiya off a Ryan Scicluna corner, hitting home from close range.
Two minutes in the second half, Shola Shodiya concluded a fine solo effort with a shot ending just wide.
Birkirkara increased the lead further on 56 minutes when Jorge Santos Silva concluded a good run by serving Harun Shola Shodiya on the right and the latter beat Tabone with a diagonal shot.
Substitute Moises Avila Perez beat Tabone with a low shot from the left on 77 minutes for the Stripes’ fifth and final goal.
Jorge Santos Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
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BALZAN Fredrick Tabone, Glenn Bonello (62′ Bjorn Bondin) Yessous Camilleri, Bledjon Guga, Rennie Forace, Jamie Pace, Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, Martin Deyanov, Lydon Micallef (84′ Nicholas Zammit), Miguel Ciantar (73′ Michael Borg).
Subs not used: Matthew Camilleri, Clifton Ciantar, Jurgen Muscat, Kevin Camilleri.
Coach: Joe Borg
B’KARA Reuben Gauci (63′ Karl Magri), Nikola Vukanac (Moises Avila Perez), Rodrigo Pereira, Joseph Zerafa, Angus Buhagiar (61′ Alan Tabone), Rowen Muscat, Gareth Sciberras, Jorge Santos Silva, Ryan Scicluna, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Shola Shodiya Haruna.
Subs not used: Ryan Camenzuli, Andre Cassar, Shaun Bajada, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Pace, Avila Perez
Scorers: 24′ Rodrigo Pereira penalty; 33′ Ryan Scicluna; 45′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza; 56′ Harun Shola Shodiya; 77′ Moises Avila Perez
Tarxien Rainbows returned to winning ways as they defeated Marsaxlokk 2-0 to move twelve points ahead of the Southseasiders.
In fact, Marsaxlokk lie at the bottom of the table with six points after having three points deducted for not honouring a decision by the MFA Board of Control and Discipline to a former coach and two former players.
The Rainbows had the first attempt at goal when off a cross by Jimmy Mayasi on the 16th minute, Adrian Carabott flicked the ball just wide.
Three minutes later, Tarxien took the lead when following a good run, Jimmy Nzinga-Mayasi served Karl Pulo on the left and the latter hit low past the Marsaxlokk goalkeeper.
Daniel Mariano Bueno went close on 38 minutes as he chested the ball down following a cross by Carabott but his shot from the left just missed the target.
Two minutes in the second half, Bueno served Luiz Romulo de Castro but the latter hit wide. A minute later, Anonam headed high off a corner by de Castro. On the other side of the pitch, a cross shot by Valeriani was parried by Nicky Vella.
The Rainbows were awarded a penalty on 72 minutes after Jonathan Xerri handled the ball on the goal line following an Orosco Anonam header off a corner from the right by de Castro. Referee Mitchell Scerri sent off the Marsaxlokk defender and from the penalty spot, substitute Ricardo Costa converted.
Four minutes from time, Daniel Mariano Bueno hit the upright with a shot from outside the area.
Adrian Carabott was voted BOV Player of the Match.
M’XLOKK Christian Cassar, Modesto Valeriani (87′ Luke Agius), Sacha Borg, Jermain Brincat, Clive Brincat, Sunday Eboh (62′ Gary Caruana), Jonathan Xerri, Jean Paul Farrugia, Peter Taiye Oladotun (78′ Darren Attard), Trevor Templeman, Alex Cesar Pedrozo.
Subs not used: Christian Gafa, Paul Paris, Darrell Grech, Dylan Attard.
Coach: Anton Cremona
Asst. Coach: Louis Cutajar
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Adrian Carabott, Jimmy Nzinga Mayasi (70′ Ricardo Costa), Karl Pulo (83′ Julian Vella), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luiz Romulo de Castro, Orosco Anonam, Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Steve Sadowski, Stefan Giglio, Ryan Mintoff, Lee Galea.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana.
Yellow Cards: Anonam, Eboh, Valeriani, Caruana
Red Cards: 72′ Jonathan Xerri
Scorers: 19′ Karl Pulo, 73′ Ricardo Costa (pen)