Floriana maintained their positive run as they held Tarxien Rainbows in a 1-1 draw, therefore denying the Rainbows the possibility of joining Valletta and Birkirkara in second place.
Tarxien are now fourth on 28 points, together with Mosta, one point ahead of Sliema Wanderers. For Floriana, this was the sixth consecutive positive result and remain seventh, six points behind the Wanderers.
Floriana lacked Mark Spiteri, Ryan Darmanin and Clyde Borg apart from Aman Verma and Sunday Wasiu who were released following a decision of the MFA Players, Coaches and Member Clubs’ Complaints Board. The Rainbows, on the other hand, lacked Evaldo Silva dos Santos, Carlo Mamo and Karl Pulo.
The Greens had the first attempt at goal on the 12th minute with Trevor Cilia serving Igor Coronado on the left and the latter’s effort was neutralised by David Cassar. On the 35th minute, Danilo Meira Santos then served Daniel Mariano Bueno on the left and the latter’s diagonal shot ended just wide. A minute later, a Mark Tanti effort was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, Andrezinho’s attempt was somehow saved by goalkeeper Tony Warner.
Tarxien took the lead four minutes from the end of the first half when off an Andrezinho freekick from the left, Danilo Meira Santos flicked the ball home past Tony Warner.
Just before half-time, Cassar performed a good save on a Valdo Alhinho header following a cross from the right by Trevor Cilia.
Danilo Meira Santos tried his luck with an angled shot from the right seven minutes in the second half but his conclusion just missed the target. On the 67th minute, following another freekick by Andrezinho, Daniel Mariano Bueno headed the ball into the direction of Steven Bonnici whose effort was parried by the Floriana custodian.
Floriana equalised eleven minutes from time when off a Carl Tremarco throw-in from the left, Owen Bugeja headed the ball home.
Three minutes from time, Orosco Anonam almost put the Rainbows ahead once again when he controlled a cross from the right and tried his luck with a powerful shot which was however turned into a corner by Warner. The Floriana custodian finally performed a good save on an Andrezinho header on the 90th.
Andrezinho was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN David Cassar, Manuel Caruana, Justin Grioli, Roderick Bajada, Danilo Meira Santos, Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Ryan Sammut, Mark Tanti (63’ David Fenech), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Orosco Anonam, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Andrew Agius, Luiz Romulo de Castro, Clive Fenech, Nigel Vella.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Kane Farrugia, Owen Bugeja, Thomas Paris, Trevor Cilia (58’ Brooke Farrugia), Valdo Alhinho (64’ Carl Tremarco), Igor Coronado, Duncan Pisani, Haygnner Celestino (74’ Luca Casha), Tyrone Farrugia, Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Joseph Borg, Francesco Guzman, Manuel Briffa.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Celestino, Bueno, Bonnici, Anonam, Paris, Sammut
Scorers: 41’ Danilo Meira Santos (T); 79’ Owen Bugeja (F)
Qormi returned to winning ways as they scored four in the second half to beat neighbours Hamrun Spartans 4-0.
Hamrun were reduced to ten men after just fifteen minutes but although Qormi were clearly a better side, their strikers were kept under control for the rest of the first half. However once Qormi managed to break the deadlock they never looked back.
For Hamrun, this was the seventh consecutive defeat, therefore staying just three points ahead of Melita.
The Spartans welcomed back Roderick Fenech and Anton Vergilov but Angel Yoshev was once again missing. Qormi lacked goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia, Roderick Sammut, Abubakar Bello-Osagie and Vincenzo Pisani.
Massimo Grima went close for Hamrun after just one minute with the ball ending on the upright.
However on the 15th minute, the Spartans were reduced to ten men after goalkeeper Andrea Cassar handled the ball outside the area in an attack for Qormi. Referee Esther Azzopardi had not option other than send off the Hamrun goalkeeper with goalkeeper Anthony Curmi replacing Glenn Azzopardi.
Curmi blocked a close-range effort by Sebastian Aurelio Siritto into a corner on the half-hour.
Qormi forged ahead nine minutes in the second half when a Siritto effort was blocked by Curmi and off the rebound, Edison Bilbao Zarate headed the ball home.
Anthony Curmi perfomed a good save on 61 minutes as he turned into a corner a freekick by Joseph Chetcuti.
However two minutes later, Qormi doubled the score when Jonathan Bondin sent Sebastian Aurelio Siritto through and the latter hit low past Curmi.
Hamrun replied with a cross shot by Gianluca Calabretta which was parried by Steve Sultana.
Edison Bilbao Zarate made it 3-0 on 68 minutes when he controlled a pass by Joseph Chetcuti and concluded a good move with a low diagonal shot which beat the Hamrun goalkeeper.
Joseph Chetcuti increased the lead further on the 78th minute with a low shot from the left which ended in the bottom right corner behind Curmi.
In added time, substitute Gabriel Buttigieg went close to adding another goal but his powerful shot from inside the area ended just wide.
Edison Bilbao Zarate was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Steve Sultana, Kris Thackray, Joseph Chetcuti, Luke Sciberras, Matthew Gauci, Sebastiano Aurelio Siritto, Edison Bilbao Zarate (85’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Jonathan Bondin (80’ Carmelo Farrugia), Alessio Cassar, Stephen Wellman, Leighton Grech (73’ Matthew Bartolo).
Subs not used: Steven Baldacchino, Roberto Sarcia, Dormond Micallef, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Adrian Ivanov, Roderick Fenech, Anton Vergilov, Lyubomir Vitanov, Massimo Grima, Ryan Spiteri (59’ Luke Grech), Gianluca Calabretta, Terence Vella (76’ Adrian Borg), Glenn Azzopardi (16’ Anthony Curmi), David Camilleri.
Subs not used: Gabriel Formosa, Melvin Busuttil, Gianluca Debattista, Daniel Zerafa.
Coach: Stefan Sultana
Asst. Coach: Atanas Marinov
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Vitanov, Vella, Grima
Red Cards: 15’ Andrea Cassar
Scorers: 54’ Edison Bilbao Zarate, 63’ Sebastian Aurelio Siritto, 68’ Edison Bilbao Zarate, 78’ Joseph Chetcuti