Rabat Ajax registered a second consecutive win as they turned defeat into victory beating ten-man Qormi 2-1. A win which puts the Magpies in fourth place in the Relegation Pool, one point ahead of Hamrun Spartans and two ahead of Melita.
Rabat created several goal scoring opportunities during the first half but ironically, Qormi managed to take the lead and seemed heading for victory before the Magpies scored two late goals to take home the three points.
Missing for Rabat were Justin Felice and Patrick Borg apart from the usual Chris Schembri, Adam Smeir and Ryan Micallef. Roderick Sammut, Matthew Gauci and Matthew Bartolo were missing for Qormi.
Rabat Ajax went close to taking the lead on the 19th minute when off a cross by Diego Carrillo, Jose Luis Armario Negrin’s first-time effort was blocked by Steve Sultana into a corner. Dylan Falzon missed a good opportunity on 24 minutes, failing to connect off a Diego Carrillo corner. On the half-hour, off a cross by Manuel Moral Fuster from the right, Negrin concluded badly.
The Magpies paid dearly for these missed opportunities as two minutes later, Qormi took the lead when off a cross by Leighton Grech from the right, Edison Bilbao Zarate placed the ball at the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Rabat were awarded a penalty after Duncan Pisani pushed Diego Carrillo down inside the area. However from the penalty spot, Jose Luis Armario Negrin’s effort was partially saved by Steve Sultana who also managed to block the Spanish’s striker second attempt off the rebound.
Qormi were reduced to ten men on the hour after Jonathan Bondin picked a second yellow card for a foul on Yan Cauchi.
Manuel Moral Fuster tried his luck with a shot from outside the area ending just wide on the 70th. Six minutes later, Avila Perez sent Alfred Effiong through but the latter’s low shot was deflected into a corner by Sean Mintoff
Rabat equalised on the 83rd minute. A header by Malcolm Licari was deflected into a corner by Kris Thackray and from the resulting corner by Diego Carrillo, Malcolm Licari headed the ball home in style past Sultana.
Stephen Wellman came to the rescue for Qormi clearing off the goalline a Jose Luis Armario Negrin effort on the 88th.
However one minute in added time, Rabat notched the winner when off a cross from the left, Yan Cauchi slammed the ball home past Sultana to hand the Magpies the three points.
Diego Carrillo Pendas was voted BOV Player of the Match.
RABAT Sean Mintoff, Gaetano Gesualdi (69’ Malcolm Licari), Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana, Jose Luis Armario Negrin, Manuel Moral Fuster, Dylan Falzon (41’ Yan Cauchi), Clive Brincat, Diego Carrillo Pendas, David Azzopardi, Clifford Gauci.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Neil Caruana, Kurt Muscat, Shaun Gauci, Chris Vella.
Coach: Silvio Vella
Asst Coach: Joe Galea
QORMI Steve Sultana, Kris Thackray, Alfred Effiong, Christian Cassar, Moises Avila Perez, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Alessio Cassar (39’ Joseph Chetcuti), Stephen Wellman, Leighton Grech (64’ Luke Sciberras).
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Dormond Micallef, Gillmore Azzopardi, Ismael Borg, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: J. Bondin, D. Pisani, D. Carrillo, Zarate, Avila Perez, C. Gauci, Sultana
Red Cards: 60’ Jonathan Bondin
Scorers: 32’ Edison Bilbao Zarate (Q); 83’ Malcolm Licari (R); 90+1’ Yan Cauchi (R)
Floriana kicked-off their Relegation Pool commitments on a positive note as they registered a 2-1 win over Melita. A win which puts the Greens on the 15-point mark.
Melita lacked Karl Vella Petroni, Luke Sammut and Jorge Veloso Lourido while coach Patxi Salinas was unable to lead the team from the bench as he was serving the first of a two-match ban. Gary Roberts and Sacha Borg were suspended for Floriana but Carl Tremarco and Kane Farrugia were back after missing the last game.
The Amateurs went out in search of an early goal and went close with a Julian Galea effort when served by Luke Micallef on the 7th minute. On the other side of the pitch, Brooke Farrugia hit high from inside the area following a short clearance by a defender ten minutes later.
Floriana took the lead on the 27th minute when Igor Coronado concluded a good run on the left with a low diagonal shot which beat Melita goalkeeper Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia.
Melita replied with a Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon freekick ending wide on the 33rd minute.
After a quiet start to the second half, the Greens doubled the score on 67 minutes when Brooke Farrugia served Udo Nwoko from the right and the latter beat the Melita goalkeeper with a well-placed shot.
A minute later, Floriana risked committing an own goal when a back-pass by Kane Farrugia caught Tony Warner unprepared but the ball ended into a corner.
Melita pulled one back on the 80th as George Gribbon headed the ball down for Julian Galea who hit home from close range.
Two minutes from time, Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon hit wide off an inviting cross by Julian Galea.
Igor Coronado was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MELITA Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, George Gribbon, Ivan Tufegdzic, Matthew Borg, Julian Galea, Michael Martin, Andrew Caruana Scicluna (71’ Jean Pierre Attard), Nigel Rizzo, Luke Micallef, Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon.
Subs not used: Andrew Abela, Rudi Goncalves Alhinho, Michael Valenzia, Marc Attard, Marco Calleja, Luke Bianco.
Coach: Alejandro Martinez Lopez
Asst Coach: Alfred Zammit
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Trevor Cilia, Kane Farrugia, Owen Bugeja, Carl Tremarco, Thomas Paris, Clyde Borg, Brooke Farrugia, Udo Nwoko, Steve Pisani, Igor Coronado (72’ Mark Spiteri).
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Francesco Guzman, Isaac Galea, Joseph Borg, Luke Scorfna, Luca Casha.
Coach: Iain Brunskill
Asst. Coach: Gary Howard
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Eman Grech
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: S. Pisani, M. Borg, T. Warner, A. Caruana Scicluna, O. Bugeja
Scorers: 27’ Igor Coronado; 67’ Udo Nwoko (F); 80’ Julian Galea (M)