Rabat Ajax made a good comeback to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with Melita. A result which however satisfied neither side as they remain in the bottom two places.
Melita seemed heading towards a comfortable win but Rabat rescued a point with two goals in the second half. Rabat now lie one point behind Hamrun Spartans and one ahead of Melita.
Rabat lacked Justin Felice, Clive Brincat and Yan Cauchi apart from the usual Adam Smeir, Christopher Schembri and Ryan Micallef. Luke Sammut and Luke Micallef were missing for Melita with coach Patxi Salinas awarding the number one shirt to young goalkeeper Philip Schranz instead of Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia in order to be able to field the other four foreign players.
The Magpies had the first attempt at goal with Manuel Moral Fuster testing Philip Schranz on the 8th minute.
However four minutes later, Melita forged ahead with a great cross shot from the left by Alan Borg Olivier which gave Sean Mintoff no chance.
Rabat replied with a great freekick by Diego Carrillo Pendas which hit the crossbar on 27 minutes.
One minute from half-time, the Amateurs doubled the score when off a Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho freekick, Ivan Tufegdzic headed the ball home.
Melita goalkeeper Philip Schranz performed a fine save on a Malcolm Licari header off a cross by David Azzopardi two minutes in the second half. Armario Negrin then missed a good opportunity to connect from close range after exchanging the ball with Diego Carrillo on the right on 54 minutes.
Rabat pulled one back on the hour when a cross by David Azzopardi from the left was not held by Schranz and Manuel Moral Fuster placed the ball at the back of the net.
Five minutes later, a freekick by Diego Carrillo was turned into a corner by the Melita custodian.
The Magpies levelled matters on 79 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after a defender handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Jose Luis Armario Negrin made no mistake.
Diego Carrillo Pendas was voted BOV Player of the Match.
RABAT Sean Mintoff, Gaetano Gesualdi (46’ Malcolm Licari), Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana, Jose Luis Armario Negrin, Manuel Moral Fuster, Dylan Falzon, Patrick Borg, Diego Carrillo Pendas, David Azzopardi, Clifford Gauci.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Zachary Tanti, Luke Cauchi, Wayne Borg, Aidan Azzopardi, Shaun Gauci.
Coach: Silvio Vella
Asst. Coach: Joseph Galea
MELITA Philip Schranz, Matthew Borg, Luke Bianco, Ivan Tufegdzic (53’ George Gribbon), Rudi Alhinho, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, Michael Martin (86’ Andrew Caruana Scicluna), Jean Pierre Attard, Alan Borg Olivier, Julian Galea, Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon (65’ Nigel Rizzo).
Subs not used: Karl Zahra, Karl Vella Petroni, Michael Valenzia, Marc Attard.
Coach: Patxi Salinas
Asst. Coach: Alejandro Martinez Lopez
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Borg Olivier, M. Borg, Gribbon, P. Borg, Caruana Scicluna
Scorers: 11′ Alan Borg Olivier (M); 44′ Ivan Tufegdzic (M); 60′ Manuel Moral Fuster (R); 79′ Jose Luis Armario Negrin (R)
Balzan and Qormi earned a point each in a highly entertaining 4-4 draw as the two teams edged closer to securing their Premier League status.
Balzan had the first attempt at goal after just one minute when Renato Conceicao released Ryan Darmanin on the left but the latter’s diagonal shot scraped past the post. Qormi replied with a Matthew Bartolo effort from the edge of the area which was parried by Fredrick Tabone on the 7th minute. Two minutes later, Alfred Effiong’s close range effort was saved by the Balzan goalkeeper.
On the 10th minute, Balzan managed to take the lead when Dylan Grima served Renato Conceicao who beat Matthew Farrugia with a fine shot from inside the area.
Ryan Darmanin served Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre whose close range effort was neutralised by Farrugia on 31 minutes.
Qormi levelled matters two minutes from time when Moises Avila Perez concluded a good run on the left flank with an assist for Joseph Chetcuti who hit home from close range.
Two minutes in the second half, a header by Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre was blocked by another Balzan player.
Qormi forged ahead on 52 minutes when Moises Avila Perez served Alfred Effiong who beat Tabone with a shot from the right.
Ryan Darmanin then hit just wide off a cross by Dylan Grima from the right on 54 minutes.
The score was level once again on 59 minutes when a Stefan Giglio freekick hit the woodwork and off the rebound, Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre placed the ball at the back of the net.
Qormi made it 3-2 on 65 minutes thanks to Alfred Effiong, served on the right by Joseph Chetcuti, who beat Fredrick Tabone with a low shot.
But once again, Balzan equalised as Renato Conceicao managed to beat Matthew Farrugia with a long-distance shot on 66 minutes.
Substitute Christian Cassar scored a fourth goal for Qormi on the 81st minute when off a Joseph Chetcuti corner, the ball reached the former Floriana, Marsaxlokk and Hamrun midfielder whose first-time effort beat the Balzan goalkeeper.
However Balzan’s reaction was immediate as they made it 4-4 on the 83rd when off a Firas Aboulezz corner, Conceicao headed the ball into the direction of Ryan Darmanin whose header hit the posts before ending at the back of the net.
Moises Avila Perez was voted BOV Player of the Match.
BALZAN Fredrick Tabone, Jacob Borg (83’ Clint Micallef), Aaron Agius (69’ Rennie Forace), Yessous Camilleri, Stefan Giglio, Bjorn Bondin (78’ Jonathan Francica), Jamie Pace, Dylan Grima, Renato Garcia Conceicao, Ryan Darmanin, Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre.
Subs not used: Daniel Miguelez Martinez, Jamie Pace, Kevin Camilleri, Shaun Bugeja,.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo (64’ Christian Cassar), Alfred Effiong, Joseph Chetcuti, Moises Avila Perez (87’ Leighton Grech), Luke Sciberras, Matthew Gauci, Jonathan Bondin, Alessio Cassar.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Duncan Pisani, Gilmore Azzopardi, Shamison Zammit, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Agius, Thackray, L. Grech, Conceicao
Scorers: 10’ Renato Conceicao (B); 43’ Joseph Chetcuti (Q); 52’ Alfred Effiong (Q); 59’ Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre (B); 65’ Alfred Effiong (Q); 66’ Renato Conceicao (B); 81’ Christian Cassar (Q); 83’ Ryan Darmanin (B)