Birkirkara continue to enjoy a two-point lead on top the BOV Premier League after earning a point in a 1-1 draw with Hibernians despite having to play for almost eighty minutes in ten men.
The game had a most dramatic finale as the Stripes took the lead on the 90th and Hibs levelled matters two minutes in added time.
Gareth Sciberras returned for Birkirkara after missing the game with Sliema while Mario Muscat and Jean Paul Farrugia were back for Hibernians after serving a one-match ban. Obinna Obiefule made his debut for the Paolites when he was included as a substitute.
Birkirkara were reduced to ten men after just eleven minutes when Alejandro Mendoza Corujo was dismissed as he brought Edison Luis dos Santos down who was dashing towards the penalty area. From the resulting freekick, Tarabai had his attempt neutralised by Justin Haber.
An angled shot by Tarabai on the 16th was parried by the Malta international goalkeeper. One minute later, another shot by the Brazilian striker was partially saved by Haber with Rodrigo Pereira was cleared into safety.
Hibs went close once again on the 34th minute when Clayton Failla had a great freekick parried by Haber. On the other side of the pitch, a freekick by Jhonnattann was blocked by Muscat on the 36th.
On the hour, following a good run by Jean Paul Farrugia in the right flank, he entered the area from the side and passed the ball back to Edison Luis dos Santos who however hit just over the bar.
Hibernians continued to hold the initiative in the remaining minutes but the Stripes’ rear-guard controlled well to take home a draw.
Three minutes from time, Hibs were also reduced to ten men after Rodolfo Soares picked a second yellow card for a foul on Paul Fenech just outside the area following a counter-attack for the Stripes.
Birkirkara managed to break the deadlock on the 90th when in a counter-attack led by Shola Shodiya, he served Zach Muscat who released Paul Fenech on the right, Fenech’s conclusion was partially saved by Mario Muscat, the ball reached Shola Shodiya who placed the ball at the back of the net.
But the game was not over yet as two minutes in added time, Hibs were awarded a penalty by referee Marco Borg as Nikola Vukanac seemed to push Obinna Obiefule slightly inside the area. A decision which brought harsh protests by the Stripes. From the penalty spot, Clayton Failla converted to level matters.
A minute later, Paul Fenech was also sent off for Birkirkara for violent conduct.
Justin Haber was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Zoran Levnajic (60’ Obinna Obiefule), Marcelo Dias (46’ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Edison Luis dos Santos, Jean Paul Farrugia (78’ Adrian Pulis).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Keith Tanti, Ayrton Azzopardi, Brandon Muscat.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
B’KARA Justin Haber, Edward Herrera, Nikola Vukanac, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Rodrigo Pereira, Rowen Muscat, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (67’ Harun Shola Shodiya), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (46’ Ryan Scicluna).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Zach Muscat, Ryan Camenzuli, Yosimar Hernandez, Joselito dos Reis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Simon Grech
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Fourth official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Soares, Fenech, Dias, R. Muscat, Pereira, Farrugia, Obiefule, Sciberras
Red Cards: 11’ Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, 87’ Rodolfo Soares, 90+3’ Paul Fenech
Scorers: 90’ Harun Shola Shodiya, 90+2′ Clayton Failla pen
Mosta suffered their eighth consecutive defeat as they lost 2-4 to Tarxien Rainbows who therefore returned to winning ways after two defeats in the previous two matches.
The Rainbows are still fifth but move to just one point behind Sliema Wanderers.
Both sides had several changes from their last matches with Justin Grioli and Branislav Timotic missing for Tarxien, Steve Onyii Chiemeka, Steve Bezzina and Carlos Campagnoli missing for Mosta.
The Rainbows went close on the 10th minute when Andrew Agius served Daniel Mariano Bueno whose effort was turned into a corner by Noel Attard. Six minutes later, Mark Tanti released Bueno inside the area and the latter’s shot was deflected into another corner by the Mosta goalkeeper.
However Mosta took the lead on the 19th minute thanks to a great freekick by Fabio Vignaroli after Manolito Micallef was floored just outside the area.
Daniel Mariano Bueno had another shot neutralised by Noel Attard on 24 minutes.
One minute later, Bueno served Mark Tanti whose diagonal shot from the left beat the Mosta custodian.
Nicky Vella came to the rescue for Tarxien turning into a corner a good Danail Mitev effort on the 27th.
Tarxien took the lead in added time when a Andrezinho effort was blocked and off the rebound, the same player served Daniel Mariano Bueno who headed home from close range.
The Rainbows increased the lead five minutes in the second half when off an Andrezinho freekick, Andrew Agius’ header was blocked by Noel Attard with Carlo Mamo placing the ball at the back of the net.
Danail Mitev entered the penalty area from the right and had a rising shot hitting the crossbar on 56 minutes.
Seven minutes later, Tarxien scored the fourth goal when a powerful shot from the right by Gianluca Calabretta was partially saved by Noel Attard and off the rebound, Daniel Mariano Bueno slammed the ball home.
Danail Mitev concluded a fine solo effort with a low shot from the left to beat Nicky Vella on the 67th for Mosta’s second goal.
Eight minutes from time, Mano Micallef hit the crossbar with a header off a cross by Mitev from the left.
Daniel Mariano Bueno was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana (66’ Clive Fenech), Andrew Agius, Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Mark Tanti (83’ Nigel Vella), Daniel Mariano Bueno, David Fenech, Gianluca Calabretta, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Roderick Bajada, Leandro da Silva Almeida, Ryan Sammut, Orosco Anonam.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Michael Church
MOSTA Noel Attard, Ferdinando Apap (59’ Kurt Magro), Tyrone Farrugia, Bryan Agius (73’ Giancarlo Sammut), Mano Micallef, Ryan Grech, Danail Mitev, Alex Cini, Fabio Vignaroli, Bruno Chikwadu Mbonu (67’ Jonathan Bajada), Kurt Zammit.
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Adrian Farrugia, Samuel Kehinde.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Mark Vella
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 19′ Fabio Vignaroli; 25′ Mark Tanti, 45+1′ Daniel Marino Bueno, 50′ Carlo Mamo, 63′ Daniel Mariano Bueno, 67′ Danail Mitev