Mosta bounced back from three consecutive defeats with a 3-1 win over Melita to secure a place in the Championship Pool.
The Blues made their intentions clear right from the start, scoring three goals without reply during the first half and controlling their opponents after the break.
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Mosta had three new players in squad – Chikwado Bruno Mbonu, Samuel Kehinde and Ugochukwu Okoro although the latter two started the game on the bench. Steve Bezzina, Alex Cini and David Maia dos Santos were all missing. Melita, on the other hand, lacked Matthew Borg but had Marco Calleja making his debut when he was included as a substitute.
Mosta managed to take the lead on the 28th minute when Chikwado Bruno Mbonu, served by Kurt Magro from the right, managed to beat goalkeeper Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia with a powerful shot from inside the area.
Danail Mitev doubled the score on 37 minutes when he received a pass by Carlos Campagnoli and beat Gabilondo Garcia with a rising shot from outside the area.
Four minutes later, Manolito Micallef made it 3-0, concluding a solo effort on the left flank with an angled shot which beat the Melita goalkeeper.
Just before half-time, Melita were reduced to ten men after Andrew Caruana Scicluna was sent off by referee Malcolm Spiteri.
Melita pulled one back on 68 minutes when off a Marco Calleja corner, Ivan Tufegdzic headed the ball home past goalkeeper Farrugia.
In the dying minutes, substitute Ugochukwu Okoro almost surprised Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia with a shot from outside the area but the Melita goalkeeper saved in two attempts.
Chikwado Bruno Mbonu was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MOSTA Jeffrey Farrugia, Mano Micallef, Bryan Agius, Ferdinando Apap, Ryan Grech, Carlos Campagnoli, Daniel Mitev, Tyrone Farrugia, Fabio Vignaroli (64’ Ugochukwu Okoro), Kurt Magro, Chikwado Bruno Mbonu.
Subs not used: Noel Attard, Adrian Farrugia, Steve Onyii Chiemeka, Jonathan Bajada, Samuel Kehinde, Giancarlo Sammut.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Asst. Coach: Mark Vella
MELITA Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, Jorge Veloso Lourido (60’ Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon), Ivan Tufegdzic, Karl Vella Petroni, George Gribbon, Michael Martin, Andrew Caruana Scicluna, Nigel Rizzo, Luke Sammut (59’ Marco Calleja), Luke Micallef (77’ Jean Pierre Attard).
Subs not used: Andrew Abela, Rudi Alhinho, Michael Valenzia, Marco Calleja, Michael Cachia.
Coach: Alejandro Martinez Lopez
Asst. Coach: Alfred Zammit
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: K. Vella Petroni, B. Agius, R. Grech
Scorers: 28’ Chikwado Bruno Mbonu, 37’ Danail Mitev, 41’ Manolito Micallef (Mos); 68′ Ivan Tufegdzic (Mel)
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Meanwhile Hibernians failed to take temporary leadership in the BOV Premier League as they lost 0-1 to Floriana. The Greens therefore returned to winning ways after collecting five points in five draws in the previous six matches.
Floriana had Brazilian striker Rodrigo Branco, Englishman Harry Agombar, Nigerian-born forward Udo Nwoko together with Steve Pisani making their debut. Kane Farrugia and Carl Tremarco were ruled out as they were serving a one-match ban and Thomas Paris was ruled out injured. Hibernians lacked Adrian Pulis and Jonathan Pearson.
After having a goal disallowed for an offside, the Greens went close to take the lead on the 5th minute with a goal-bound shot by Rodrigo Branco cleared off the gaol line by Zoran Levnajic. A few seconds later, Mark Spiteri served Branco who hit high from inside the area. On the other side of the pitch, Andrew Cohen’s effort was turned into a corner by Tony Warner. Jean Paul Farrugia headed just wide off a cross by Scott Chircop on the 13th. Warner then blocked into another corner a Clayton Failla effort when served by Cohen.
Hibs maintained the pressure and a Jackson Lima attempt was deflected into a corner by Tony Warner. On the 28th minute, off a cross by Clayton Failla, Jean Paul Farrugia served Andrew Cohen whose shot was neutralised by the Floriana goalkeeper.
However Floriana managed to take the lead on the 45th minute when off a Trevor Cilia corner from the right, Igor Coronado headed the ball home past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Four minutes in the second half, Jean Paul Farrugia was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a good header off an Andrew Cohen freekick and off the rebound, Rodolfo Soares headed just wide. Soares also hit the crossbar with a header on the 64th minute off a Jackson Lima freekick.
Floriana replied with an angled shot by Rodrigo Branco from the right which ended just wide. Another shot by Branco on 82 minutes was turned into a corner by Mario Muscat.
Rodrigo Branco was voted BOV Player of the Match.
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Owen Bugeja, Trevor Cilia, Gary Roberts, Igor Coronado (92′ Harry Agombar), Rodrigo Branco, Mark Spiteri (60’ Steve Pisani), Brooke Farrugia, Clyde Borg, Sacha Borg, Udo Nwoko.
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Francesco Guzman, Luca Casha, Isaac Galea, Luke Scorfna.
Asst. Coach: Gary Howard
HIBS Mario Muscat, Scott Chircop (76’ Johann Bezzina), Ryan Camilleri, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen (69’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Clayton Failla, Zoran Levnajic, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Jean Paul Farrugia, Rodolfo Soares (80′ Brandon Muscat).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Tim Tabone Desira, Neil Chetcuti, Keith Tanti, Brandon Muscat.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: O. Bugeja, C. Borg, S. Borg, A. Cohen, G. Roberts, Z. Levnajic, C. Failla
Scorers: 45’ Igor Coronado