Tarxien Rainbows defeated Sliema Wanderers 2-1 to maintain the challenge for a place in the Championship Pool as they now move fifth, leaving the Blues in sixth place one point behind them.
For the Wanderers, this was another disappointing result after losing to Floriana in the previous outing.
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Tarxien welcomed back Danilo Meira Santos but lacked Luiz Romulo de Castro and the injured Carlo Mamo. Sliema, on the other hand, could not count on Luca Martinelli and the suspended Henry Bonello, Andrew Decesare and Mark Scerri.
The Rainbows took the lead on the 16th minute when off an Andrezinho corner from the right, Orosco Anonam’s powerful header hit the upright with the ball bouncing on the goalkeeper before ending at the back of the net.
Sliema levelled matters five minutes later when off a corner by Miguel Ciantar, there was a short clearance by Evaldo and Clifford Gatt Baldacchino’s diagonal shot from the right beat goalkeeper David Cassar.
Tarxien regained the lead seven minutes in the second half when Daniel Mariano Bueno managed to serve Mark Tanti on the right and the latter beat Zammit with a diagonal shot.
A minute later, the Rainbows went close with a rising shot by Evaldo from close range but the ball was deflected into a corner. Tarxien then missed a good chance through Mark Tanti who hit wide following an inviting pass by Danilo Meira Santos.
In the dying minutes, Sliema went close to equalising but Luigi Ruggiero’s effort was neutralised by Cassar aided by the posts.
Mark Tanti was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Paltemio Barbetti, John Mintoff, Luigi Ruggiero, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods (72’ Marlon Briffa), Matias Muchardi (77’ Alain Faccini), Miguel Ciantar, Beppe Muscat (55’ Josef Mifsud), Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Keane Cutajar, Omar El Ghaouti, Ariel Laudisi, Gabriel Aquilina.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Asst. Coach: Jo Jo Bajada
TARXIEN David Cassar, Evaldo Silva dos Santos, Justin Grioli, Roderick Bajada, Danilo Meira Santos (89’ Karl Pulo), Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Ryan Sammut, Mark Tanti (76’ David Fenech), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Orosco Anonam (61’ Manuel Caruana), Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Andrew Agius, Clive Fenech.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Barbetti, Evaldo, Andrezinho, R. Sammut
Scorers: 16’ Orosco Anonam (T); 21’ Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (S); 52’ Mark Tanti (T)
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Meanwhile Floriana scored a goal in each half to beat Hamrun Spartans 2-0 in a clash between two teams from the lower part of the table.
For the Greens, this was the second successive win which puts them three points clear of Hamrun. For the Spartans, this was the fourth successive defeat.
Trevor Cilia returned for Floriana but Owen Bugeja, Brooke Farrugia, Thomas Paris and Carl Tremarco were all ruled out injured while Tyrone Farrugia was suspended. On the other hand, Hamrun lacked Gianluca Calabretta as he served a one-match ban.
Floriana took the lead on 36 minutes when off an Igor Coronado corner from the left, Mark Spiteri headed home past goalkeeper Andrea Cassar.
Just before half-time, a Ryan Darmanin effort was saved in two attempts by the Hamrun goalkeeper.
Andrea Cassar performed a good save on an Igor Coronado long-distance shot on 54 minutes. Then on 63 minutes, off a cross by Igor Coronado, Mark Spiteri had a shot from close range blocked by Andrea Cassar. Three minutes later, Coronado concluded a solo effort with a shot from outside the area ending just wide. A freekick by the same Brazilian midfielder was turned into a corner by Cassar on 76 minutes.
Hamrun goalkeeper Andrea Cassar was once again prominent with a good save at point blank on Ryan Darmanin, served by Mark Spiteri from the right, turning the ball into a corner on 84 minutes.
Floriana sealed the issue three minutes from time as they doubled the score when off a corner by Aman Verma from the left, Ryan Darmanin headed the ball home.
Igor Coronado was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Adrian Ivanov, Angel Yoshev, Roderick Fenech, Anton Vergilov, Daniel Zerafa (82’ Glenn Azzopardi), Massimo Grima, David Camilleri (46’ Christian Cassar), Nikolay Bozhov (81’ Luke Grech), Ryan Spiteri, Terence Vella.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Adrian Borg, Gianluca Debattista, Lyubomir Vitanov.
Coach: Stefan Sultana
Asst. Coach: Atanas Marinov
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Kane Farrugia, Trevor Cilia (70’ Joseph Borg), Aman Verma, Mark Spiteri, Igor Coronado (86’ Akanni-Sunday Wasiu), Duncan Pisani, Ryan Darmanin, Henrique Celestino, Clyde Borg (89’ Francesco Guzman), Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Mario Eriksson, Valdo Alhinho, Isaac Galea.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Asst. Coach: Alan Keeling
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Eman Grech
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: C. Borg, A. Ivanov
Scorers: 36’ Mark Spiteri, 87’ Ryan Darmanin