Despite having two players sent off, Birkirkara claimed three important points in the battle for third place as they defeated Hibernians 2-0. The Stripes are still fourth but now lie one point behind Floriana.
On the other hand, this result means that Valletta need just one point from the game against Sliema Wanderers to be declared champions for the 21st time in the history of the club.
Birkirkara lacked Rodrigo Pereira and Paul Fenech while Steve Pisani was missing for Hibernians.
Hibs held the initiative throughout the first half but Birkirkara goalkeeper Reuben Gauci was hardly tested.
Birkirkara were reduced to ten men on 35 minutes as Rowen Muscat was sent off by referee Mario Apap after a clash with Bjorn Kristensen.
A minute later, Tarabai headed just over the bar off a Jackson Lima freekick. On the 38th, Bjorn Kristensen headed the ball just wide off a corner from the right.
Against the run of play, the Stripes took the lead on 41 minutes when off a cross by Moises Avila Perez, the Hibs rear-guard failed to clear the ball into safety and Harun Shola Shodiya hit home from close range.
Five minutes in the second half, Edward Herrera concluded a good run on the left flank with a shot from inside the area hitting the crossbar.
The Stripes had a second player sent off on 65 minutes with Nikola Vukanac receiving marching orders for violent play.
A Jackson Lima freekick was blocked and off the rebound, Clayton Failla’s effort was neutralised by Reuben Gauci on 76 minutes.
Birkirkara doubled the score five minutes from time when substitute Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza concluded a good run on the left flank, serving the unmarked Ryan Camenzuli who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Harun Shola Shodiya was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
no images were found
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Ryan Scicluna, Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa, Ryan Camenzuli, Rowen Muscat, Gareth Sciberras, Shaun Bajada, Angus Buhagiar, Moises Avila Perez (76’ Michael Camilleri), Harun Shola Shodiya (83’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza).
Subs not used: Karl Magri, Mcallister Clinch, Alan Tabone, David Spiteri, Antoine Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
HIBS Mario Muscat, Jonathan Pearson (79’ Peter Anizoba), Jason Vandelannoite (44’ Marcelo Dias), Rodolfo Soares, Ryan Camilleri, Bjorn Kristensen (81′ Johann Bezzina), Andrew Cohen, Jackson Di Lima Siqueira, Edward Herrera, Clayton Failla, Edison Luis dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Bonnici, Aaron Xuereb, Adrian Pulis, Brandon Muscat.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Buhagiar, Shodiya, Bajada, Failla
Red Cards: 35’ Rowen Muscat, 65’ Nikola Vukanac
Scorers: 41’ Harun Shola Shodiya, 85’ Ryan Camenzuli
Qormi secured their Premier League status thanks to a most comfortable 6-0 win over rivals Hamrun Spartans.
Although they were definitely a better side, the difference between the two teams was not that clear during the first half before the Yellow Blacks managed to break the deadlock thanks to a penalty in added time. After the break, Qormi added another three goals with the Spartans missing the opportunity to reduce the gap by hitting the crossbar from a penalty.
This result leaves the Spartans in danger as they lie just one point ahead of Tarxien, four ahead of Mosta and seven ahead of Mqabba. Mqabba, however, have a game in hand.
Federico Mirarchi and Dino Cachia were missing once again for Qormi while Dene Shields was unavailable for the Spartans as he is yet to recover from an injury.
Qormi had the first attempt at goal on 26 minutes through Jorge Pereira whose angled shot, when served by Joseph Chetcuti, was parried by Omar Borg. Hamrun replied with shots by Kevin Sammut and Anderson Mendes Ribeiro from the right ending wide.
Just before half-time, Qormi were awarded a penalty after Jorge da Silva Pereira was brought down inside the area by Calabretta. From the penalty spot, Abubakar Bello-Osagie converted.
Jorge Pereira had a shot from the left blocked by Hamrun goalkeeper Omar Borg three minutes in the second half.
Two minutes later, Qormi doubled the score as Jorge Pereira entered the penalty and pulled to the centre, intelligently leaving the ball for Abubakar Bello-Osagie who controlled before hitting low past the Hamrun goalkeeper.
The Spartans were awarded a penalty on the 55th minute after Vincent Kouadio floored Lee James Agius inside the area. However Anderson Mendes Ribeiro’s effort from the penalty spot hit the crossbar.
Qormi increased the lead on 65 minutes as Abubakar Bello-Osagie sent Jorge da Silva Pereira through and the latter slotted the ball past Omar Borg.
The fourth goal for Stephen Azzopardi’s side arrived on the 68th minute when Jorge Pereira concluded a good run on the left with a perfect pass for Matthew Bartolo whose shot from outside the area was not held by Borg, ending at the back of the net.
Gianluca Calabretta cleared off the goal line a goal bound shot by Jorge Pereira, served by Bello-Osagie on 73 minutes.
Qormi increased the lead further on the 88th minute when Abubakar Bello Osagie chipped the ball over a defender for substitute Luke Sciberras to try his luck with a close-range effort. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced beyond the goal line. Joseph Farrugia made sure to place the ball at the back of the net but Sciberras’ effort had already crossed the goal line.
Three minutes in added time, Qormi were awarded another penalty three minutes in added time after Steve Bonnici handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Roderick Sammut placed the ball at the back of the net to seal the issue with a sixth goal.
Jorge da Silva Pereira was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Chetcuti (72′ Luke Sciberras), Joseph Farrugia, Jonathan Bondin, Jorge da Silva Pereira, Kris Thackray (72′ Stephen Wellman), Triston Caruana, Abubkar Bello-Osagie, Vincent Kouadio Adioumani (82’ Carmelo Farrugia).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, George Chircop, Ranier Buhagiar, Kenneth Scicluna.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
HAMRUN Omar Borg, Gianluca Calabretta, David Camilleri, Matthew Gauci (71’ Massimo Grima), Ronni Hartvig, Steve Bonnici, Daniel Zerafa, Lee James Agius (60’ Rupert Mangion), Kevin Sammut, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Gaetan Spiteri (61’ Ryan Spiteri).
Subs not used: Jean Claude Debattista, Glen Azzopardi, Roderick Fenech, Luke Grech.
Coach: Stefan Sultana
Asst. Coach: Marco Grech
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Sammy Attard, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Thackray, Chetcuti, Agius, Hartvig
Scorers: 45+2’ Abubakar Bello Osagie (pen); 50’ Abubakar Bello Osagie; 65’ Jorge Pereira da Silva; 68’ Matthew Bartolo; 88’ Luke Sciberras; 90+3’ Roderick Sammut (pen)