Despite lacking no less than five suspended players, Birkirkara were strong enough to beat Sliema Wanderers 4-1 to move third in the BOV Premier League table.
The Stripes are now third on 35 points, two ahead of Floriana.
Birkirkara lacked Rodrigo Pereira, Nikola Vukanac, Angus Buhagiar, Rowen Muscat and Shaun Bajada as they were all suspended. Andrew Decesare, Rumen Galabov, Emiliano Lattes and Jerry Ani were unavailable for the Wanderers.
Birkirkara made their intentions clear right from the start going close with a Ryan Camenzuli effort which hit the crossbar on 3rd minute.
They managed to take the lead on 14 minutes when a shot by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was blocked, the same player took the rebound, serving Moises Avila Perez who placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
Birkirkara doubled the score on 18 minutes when off a cross by Moises Avila Perez, Alan Tabone slotted the ball past Curmi.
Sliema pulled one back on 25 minutes when off a pass by Beppe Muscat from the right, Trevor Cilia hit low past goalkeeper Reuben Gauci.
A cross shot by Trevor Cilia from the left hit the woodwork on 33 minutes and four minutes later, Ryan Camenzuli hit the posts for Birkirkara.
Alan Tabone restored a two-goal lead for the Stripes five minutes in the second half thanks to a fine shot from outside the area which gave Anthony Curmi no chance.
Birkirkara sealed the issue with a fourth goal on 62 minutes when off a counter-attack, Fabian Zammit served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who advanced into the area, hitting low past the Sliema custodian.
Alan Tabone was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA Anthony Curmi, Alex Muscat, Ryan Fenech, Nikola Bogdanovic, Josef Mifsud, Mark Scerri (51’ Ryan Grech), Danial Mitev, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Trevor Cilia (68’ Cleavon Frendo), Andrew Caligari (65’ Steve Bezzina), Beppe Muscat.
Subs not used: Henry Bonello, Gabriel Aquilina, Dejan Vukovic, Keane Cutajar.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Saviour Debono Grech
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Ryan Camenzuli, Joseph Zerafa, Jean Pierre Mfisud Triganza, Gareth Sciberras, Fabian Zammit, Harun Shola Shodiya, Paul Fenech, Ryan Scicluna, Alan Tabone (85’ Ian Schembri), Moises Avila Perez.
Subs not used: Karl Magri, David Spiteri, McAllister Clinch, Roderick Taliana, Michael Camilleri, Jorge Santos Silva.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Zammit, Bogdanovic, Avila Perez, Mifsud, Zerafa
Scorers: 14’ Moises Avila Perez (B); 18’ Alan Tabone (B); 25’ Trevor Cilia (S); 50’ Alan Tabone (B); 62’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (B)
Hibernians scored three in the second half as they returned to winning ways, beating Balzan Youths 3-0.
Balzan lacked Jonathan Francica, Clifton Ciantar, Dylan Grima and Pedro dos Santos Calcado. Hibernians, on the other hand, were in full strength.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal with an Andrew Cohen header ending just over the bar on the 18th minute.The same player had a freekick from the left ending just wide on 36 minutes.
Hibernians took the lead on 48 minutes when off a Clayton Failla corner, Jason Vandelannoite headed home past goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri.
Rodolfo Soares doubled the score on 55 minutes, hitting home from close range off a corner by Jackson Lima from the left.
Balzan were then reduced to ten men on 57 minutes as Jamie Pace was sent off for a foul on Andrew Cohen.
Hibs could have increased the lead further on 63 minutes as Andrew Cohen went close with a freekick ending just over the bar.
Andrew Cohen made it 3-0 on 72 minutes thanks to a great shot from outside the area which gave Matthew Camilleri no chance.
Andrew Cohen was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Jonathan Pearson (59’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Rodolfo Soares, Clayton Failla, Jason Vandelannoite, Bjorn Kristensen (76’ Edison Luis dos Santos), Jackson Di Lima Siqueira (61’ Brandon Muscat), Edward Herrera, Andrew Cohen, Marcelo Dias, Ryan Camilleri.
Subs not used: Luke Bonnici, Peter Anizoba, Aaron Xuereb, Adrian Pulis.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Roderick Farrugia, Yessous Camilleri, Rennie Forace, Nikola Tasic, Bledjon Guga, Jamie Pace, Bjorn Bondin, Miguel Ciantar (68’ Michael Borg), Glenn Bonello (54’ Lydon Micallef), Martin Deyanov.
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Nicholas Zammit, Donovan Micallef, Jurgen Muscat, Kevin Camilleri.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Guga, Kristensen, Bondin
Red Cards: 57’ Jamie Pace
Scorers: 48’ Jason Vandelannoite, 55’ Rodolfo Soares, 72’ Andrew Cohen