Rabat Ajax moved an important step towards retaining their Premier League status as they defeated Melita 4-1 in a clash between the two teams who were promoted from Division 1 last season. A win which puts Rabat four points ahead of Hamrun Spartans – who are second from bottom and condemns Melita to playing in the First Division next season.
Hamrun have a game in hand and face Floriana on Sunday. In case of a win for Floriana, Rabat would retain their Premier League status. On the other hand, in case of a draw, a point would be enough for Rabat in their last game against Balzan. A win for the Spartans would once again put the pressure on the Magpies as they would need a win over Balzan next Thursday.
Justin Felice was ruled out for Rabat as he served a one-match ban while Matthew Borg, Nigel Rizzo, Jean Pierre Attard, Michael Martin and goalkeeper Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia were missing for Melita.
The Magpies missed a good opportunity on the 10th minute with Joseph Caruana’s close-range effort ending wide following a cross from the left. Five minutes later, Clifford Gauci sent Jose Luis Armario Negrin through but the latter’s dipper missed the target.
Rabat had a golden opportunity to take the lead on the 25th minute when Diego Carrillo was brought down inside the area by Rudi Alhinho but from the penalty spot, Jose Luis Armario Negrin’s effort was partially saved by goalkeeper Philip Schranz.
Clifford Gauci had a shot from the edge of the area deflected into a corner by a defender while Armario Negrin missed another good opportunity on the 32nd minute when released by Carrillo. A minute later, a powerful drive by Diego Carrillo was blocked by the Melita custodian.
Rabat finally managed to break the deadlock four minutes from the end of the first half when they were awarded another penalty for a foul by Tufegdzic on Diego Carrillo. Jose Luis Armario Negrin converted from the penalty spot.
Melita however levelled matters three minutes in the second half thanks to a fine shot by Julian Galea whose attempt hit the crossbar before ending at the back of the net.
David Azzopardi tried his luck with a direct freekick on the 50th but Schranz saved his attempt. Diego Carrillo latched on a cross by Manu Moral but his conclusion ended wide on the 64th.
Rabat regained the lead on the 68th thanks to a direct freekick by Diego Carrillo Pendas which gave the Melita goalkeeper no chance.
Manuel Moral Fuster had a first-time effort from the right blocked by the Melita goalkeeper when served by David Azzopardi on 77 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, a Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho shot from outside the area was neutralised by Sean Mintoff.
The Magpies went 3-1 ahead on 86 minutes thanks to Diego Carrillo Pendas who concluded a good move on the left flank with a diagonal shot which beat goalkeeper Philip Schranz.
Two minutes later, Rabat were reduced to ten men after Manuel Moral Fuster was sent off for a rough tackle on an opponent.
However one minute from time, the Ajax scored a fourth goal thanks to substitute Malcolm Licari, served on the left by Clifford Gauci, beating Schranz with another angled shot.
Diego Carrillo Pendas was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MELITA Philip Schranz, Luke Bianco, Ivan Tufegdzic, George Gribbon, Julian Galea, Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon, Luke Micallef (68’ Luke Sammut), Rudi Alhinho (78’ Andrew Caruana Scicluna), Alan Borg Olivier (46’ Antoine Attard), Karl Vella Petroni, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho.
Subs not used: Karl Zahra, Michael Valenzia.
Coach: Patxi Salinas
Asst. Coach: Alejandro Martinez Lopez
RABAT Sean Mintoff, Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana, Jose Luis Armario Negrin (80’ Malcolm Licari), Manuel Moral Fuster, Dylan Falzon, Patrick Borg (73’ Clive Brincat), Diego Carrillo Pendas, Yan Cauchi, David Azzopardi (82’ Gaetano Gesualdi), Clifford Gauci.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Neil Caruana, Etienne Scicluna, Aidan Azzopardi.
Coach: Silvio Vella
Asst. Coach: Joseph Galea
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Tufegdzic, Gauci, Galea, Bianco, Borg, Gribbon, Brincat
Red Cards: 88’ Manuel Moral Fuster
Scorers: 41’ Jose Luis Armario Negrin, 48’ Julian Galea, 68’ Diego Carrillo Pendas, 86’ Diego Carrillo Pendas, 89’ Malcolm Licari
Qormi registered a fourth consecutive win as they defeated Balzan 5-2 in a clash from the Relegation Pool.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation as Qormi lacked Roderick Sammut and Joseph Chetcuti while Firas Aboulezz and Dylan Grima were missing for Balzan.
Qormi were awarded a penalty on the 7th minute when Alfred Effiong was floored inside the area by Giglio. From the penalty spot, Moises Avila Perez converted to put them ahead.
Edison Bilbao Zarate doubled the score on 13 minutes with a rising shot from the edge of the area.
Two minutes from half-time, Balzan pulled one back thanks to a fine effort by Aaron Agius direct from a corner from the left which beat goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
Six minutes in the second half, Qormi went 3-1 ahead thanks to a freekick by Kris Thackray which beat goalkeeper Fredrick Tabone following a slight deflection.
Qormi added another on the 78th when off a Moises Avila Perez freekick, Bjorn Bondin headed the ball past Tabone for an own goal.
Balzan reduced the gap five minutes from time when they hit the upright but off the rebound, Jacob Borg served Ryan Darmanin whose close-range effort beat Matthew Farrugia.
Deep into stoppage time, Qormi were awarded another penalty for a foul inside the area. From the penalty spot, Moises Avila Perez made no mistake to seal the issue with a fifth goal.
Moises Avila Perez was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Matthew Bartolo (82’ Ismael Borg), Alfred Effiong (73’ Luke Sciberras), Moises Avila Perez, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Alessio Cassar, Christian Cassar, Dylan Pirotta (68’ Leighton Grech).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Gilmore Azzopardi, Shamison Zammit, Matthew Gauci.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
BALZAN Fredrick Tabone, Aaron Agius, Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre (74’ Andrew Cassar), Bjorn Bondin (85’ Shaun Bugeja), Kevin Camilleri, Christian Caruana, Ryan Darmanin, Rennie Forace, Stefan Giglio, Jacob Borg, Matthew Mendy.
Subs not used: Matthew Camilleri, Daniel Miguelez Martinez, Yessous Camilleri, Renato Garcia Conceicao, Jamie Pace.
Coach: Riccardo Tumiatti
Asst. Coach: Silvan Ciscaldi
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Caruana, Sciberras
Scorers: 8′ Moises Avila Perez pen; 13′ Edison Bilbao Zarate, 43′ Aaron Agius, 51′ Kris Thackray, 78’ own goal Bjorn Bondin, 85’ Ryan Darmanin, 90+2’ Moises Avila Perez