A goal by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza three minutes from time put Birkirkara back on track as they defeated Hibernians 1-0. A win which puts the Stripes alone in second place, four points behind Valletta.
For Hibernians, this was yet another disappointing result as this was the third defeat in four matches.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Hibernians lacked Adrian Pulis and Zoran Levnajic with coach Michael Woods opting to start with Daniel Balzan in goal. Birkirkara lacked Paul Fenech and Joselito dos Reis.
Birkirkara went close to taking the lead on 24 minutes with a freekick by Jhonnattann ending inches wide past the upright. Hibs replied with a through pass by Cohen for Dias but the latter’s effort was neutralised by Gauci on the half-hour. Two minutes from half-time a cross by Shodiya from the right was well controlled by Jhonnattan whose conclusion hit the side netting.
Seven minutes in the second half, another freekick by Jhonnattann from the left was parried by Daniel Balzan. Substitute Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza then tested the Hibs goalkeeper with a powerful shot from outside the area on 57 minutes.
A freekick by Clayton Failla was cleared by the Birkirkara defence and off the rebound, Andrew Cohen’s effort was neutralised by substitute goalkeeper Ini Akpan on the 8oth. Three minutes later, off a clearance by Akpan, Triganza released Jhonnattann but his conclusion was blocked by the Hibs goalkeeper.
Birkirkara scored the all-important goal three minutes from time when Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza received a through pass by Joseph Zerafa and his beautiful rising shot beat goalkeeper Balzan.
Marcelo Dias was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
BIRKIRKARA Rebuen Gauci (77′ Ini Etim Akpan), Edward Herrera, Joseph Zerafa, Ryan Camenzuli, Rowen Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Gareth Sciberras, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Zach Muscat (68’ Ryan Scicluna), Jhonnattann da Conceicao, Shola Shodiya Haruna (55’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza).
Subs not used: Godwin McKay, Antoine Borg, David Spiteri, Andre Cassar.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
HIBERNIANS Daniel Balzan, Brandon Muscat (90′ Anderson Mendez Ribeiro), Rodolfo Soares, Ryan Camillieri, Bjorn Kristensen, Marcelo Dias, Jackson De Lima Siqueira, Steve Pisani (67’John Nwoba), Andrew Cohen, Clayton Failla, Jean Pierre Farrugia (85′ Johann Bezzina).
Subs not used: Mario Muscat, Udo Nwoko, Scott Chircop, Ayrton Azzopardi,
Coach: Michael Woods
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Zach Muscat (B), Edward Herrera (B), Jhonnattan da Conceicao (B), Ryan Camenzuli (B), Jackson De Lima Siqueira (H), Marcelo Dias (H)
Scorers: 87′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganz
Despite lacking no less than four players ruled out through suspension, Tarxien Rainbows collected another three precious points as they beat Floriana by the odd goal in five.
The Greens managed to take the lead twice but each time, Tarxien restored equilibrium, notching the winner mid-way through the second half. Tarxien strengthen their sixth place, moving five points clear of Floriana who were suffering the third defeat in four matches.
Justin Grioli, Manuel Caruana, Daniel Mariano Bueno and Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito were all suspended for Tarxien but Evaldo Silva dos Santos returned after serving a two-match ban. Floriana, on the other hand, lacked Owen Bugeja but welcomed back Aaron Brown after a three-match ban.
Floriana took the lead on the third minute when off an Aman Verma cross from the right, Tarxien goalkeeper Nicky Vella failed to hold the ball and from a loose ball, Ryan Darmanin tapped the ball into an empty net.
Tarxien levelled matters on 17 minutes when a freekick by Evaldo Silva Dos Santos was partially saved by Tony Warner and off the rebound, Karl Pulo beat the Floriana goalkeeper with a low diagonal shot.
The Greens regained the lead on 27 minutes as an Aman Verm freekick hit the upright and Francis Jeffers headed the ball home off the rebound.
Jeffers went close once again with a powerful shot, deflected by a defender, which was turned into a corner by Nicky Vella.
The score was once again draw on 39 minutes. Roderick Bajada sent Karl Pulo through on the left and the latter advanced into the area, serving the unmarked Danilo Meira Santos who hit home from close range.
Eight minutes in the second half, Mark Tanti released Karl Pulo on the left and the latter’s powerful shot was deflected into a corner by Warner. Karl Pulo then headed the ball over the bar on the hour and four minutes later, an Anonam effort was neutralised by Warner.
Tarxien forged ahead on 73 minutes when Luiz Romulo de Castro’s through pass put Danilo Meira Santos inside the area and the latter hit low past the Floriana goalkeeper.
Floriana tried their luck with a rising shot by Tyrone Farrugia which was blocked into a corner by Nicky Vella on 81 minutes and one minute from time, a Ryan Darmanin effort went inches wide past the upright.
Karl Pulo was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Aaron Brown, Thomas Paris, Trevor Cilia (60’ Joseph Borg), Aman Verma (60’ Sunday Wasiu), Francis Jeffers, Kane Farrugia, Duncan Pisani, Ryan Darmanin, Tyrone Farrugia, Clyde Borg (73’ Brooke Farrugia).
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Jermaine, Brincat, Carl Tremarco, Sacha Borg.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Tarxien R. Nicholas Vella, Steven Sadowsi (81’ Andrew Agius), Carlo Mamo (46’ Luis Romulo de Castro), Evaldo Silva Dos Santos, Roderick Bajada (85’ Clive Fenech), Danilo Meira Santos, Karl Pulo, Mark Tanti, David Fenech, Orosco Anonam, Steven Bonnici.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Nigel Vella, Luke Zahra, Warren Zerafa.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Alan Camillieri
Fourth Official: Andrea Arciola
Yellow Cards: Steve Sadowski (T), Danilo Meira Santos (T), Thomas Paris (F)
Scorers: 3’ Ryan Darmanin (F), 17’ Karl Pulo (T), 27’ Francis Jeffers (F), 39’ Danilo Meira Santos (T); 73’ Danilo Meira Santos (T)