After earning a point in their first outing, Naxxar Lions and Balzan both registered their first win as they defeated Qormi 2-1 and Rabat Ajax 2-0 respectively.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg
At the National Stadium, a brace by Brazilian striker Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro gave newly-promoted Naxxar Lions a 2-1 win over Qormi.
For the latter, this was the second defeat in two matches after losing 0-4 to Sliema Wanderers last week.
Qormi had Giuseppe Bellucci making his debut while Roderick Sammut and Leighton Grech returned after missing the first game. Naxxar, on the other hand, were in full strength with Brazilian defender Evaldo Silva dos Santos making his first appearance.
Naxxar had the first attempt at goal with an Andre Rocha Da Silva attempt from outside the penalty box ending high over the crossbar after just two minutes.
The Lions took the lead on the 18th thanks to a well-placed freekick by Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro from the left which left Matthew Farrugia astounded with the ball ending at the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Naxxar doubled the score. It was Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro who dribbled past a Qormi defender inside the penalty box and his low diagonal shot beat Mattthew Farrugia.
Qormi replied with a cross shot by Duncan Pisani which was deflected by the Naxxar keeper into a corner. On 26 minutes, Andre Rocha da Silva’s attempt from inside the area hit the upright following a Pablo Doffo corner.
A freekick by Simone Bezzicheri was blocked by Julian Azzopardi and then on 34 minutes, Emerson Vella released Alfred Effiong whose cross to the centre was met by Simone Bezziccheri whose effort ended a little bit wide.
Qormi pulled one back three minutes in added time when a Roderick Bajada corner from the left, followed by a melee in the centre with Roderick Sammut’s low shot ended at the back of the net.
Three minutes in the second half, substitute Daren Falzon tested Matthew Farrugia with a low powerful shot but the Qormi goalkeeper neutralised. Roderick Bajada then released Leighton Grech but the on rushing Naxxar goalkeeper blocked before the Qormi player could do any harm. On the 59th, Gilmar darted inside the penalty area with his low shot parried by the Qormi goalkeeper.
A long-distance shot by Pablo Doffo ended just over the bar on 61 minutes. A powerful freekick by Pablo Doffo, five minutes later, was deflected in extremis by the goalkeeper into a corner and finally substitute Osi Lucky Agboebina came into possession of the ball outside the penalty area and advanced into the area but his feeble shot was easily blocked by Matthew Farrugia.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Alfred Effiong, Roderick Sammut, Giuseppe Belluci, Leighton Grech, Roderick Bajada, Simone Bezziccheri (71’ Joseph Chetcuti), Triston Caruana (89’ Federico Santaguida), Emerson Vella, Owen Bugeja, Duncan Pisani.
Subs not used: Sultana Steve, Gianluca Nucera, Karl Sciortino, Leonardo Gabrieli, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Tommaso Volpi
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Marlon Briffa, Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro (84’ Osi Lucky Agboebina), Andrew Decesare, Pablo Doffo, Thiago Lopes De Souza, Andre Rocha Da Silva, Terence Scerri (30’ Daren Falzon), Evaldo Silva Dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Victor Bellia, John Debono, Jurgen Debono, Kurt Drago.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Additional Assistant Referees: Paul Caruana, Mario Apap
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Bellucci, Pisani, Buhagiar, Caruana, Gilmar, Decesare, Andre Rocha, Azzopardi
Scorers: 18′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (N); 20′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (N); 45’ Roderick Sammut (Q)
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (N)
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg
Balzan defeated Rabat Ajax 2-0 in a match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
Both sides had a Spanish striker making his debut – former Rabat striker Jose Luis Armario Negrin making his first appearance for Balzan and Moises Avila Perez making his debut for Rabat Ajax. Aaron Agius was missing for Balzan as he was suspended while Justin Grioli, Erjon Beu and Luke Sciberras were unavailable. Rabat lacked the injured Joseph Caruana and Adam Smeir.
The Magpies went close on 15 minutes after Moises Avila Perez took advantage of an erratic backpass but the Spanish striker’s effort was blocked into a corner by Dani Miguelez. Balzan replied with a shot from the edge of the area by Lydon Micallef ending just wide on the 18th.
Balzan managed to take the lead on 24 minutes when a powerful shot by Firas Aboulezz from the right was deflected by David Azzopardi, deceiving goalkeeper Velimirovic to end at the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Jose Luis Armario Negrin almost surprised the Rabat goalkeeper as his shot was deflected by Carapic. Andrew Scicluna then came to the rescue on 38 minutes clearing off the goal line a header by Malcolm Licari, off a cross from the left by David Azzopardi. One minute from half-time, Moises Avila Perez missed a good opportunity with a shot from the right, blocked by the Balzan goalkeeper.
On the hour, Diego Carrillo concluded a good move on the right flank with an angled shot which was deflected into a corner. David Azzopardi almost surprised Dani Miguelez with a cross shot from the left but the Balzan custodian turned the ball into another corner. A great freekick by Diego Carrillo hit the upright on 65 minutes.
Balzan doubled the score on the 75th minute thanks to a fine shot from the left by Steve Bezzina which gave goalkeeper Pavle Velimirovic no chance.
Jose Luis Armario Negrin hit the crossbar with a good header off a corner from the right by Firas Aboulezz on the 82nd minute. Three minutes later, a fierce shot by substitute Ryan Darmanin was neutralised by the Rabat goalkeeper.
BALZAN Daniel Miguelez Martinez, Firas Aboulezz, Steve Bezzina, Dylan Grima, Lydon Micallef (88′ Michael Borg), Jose Luis Armario Negrin (82′ Ryan Darmanin), Rodrigo Frank Pereira, Andrew Scicluna, Mark Spiteri, Gianluca Calabretta, Fabio Vignaroli.
Subs not used: Michael Falzon, Andrew Cassar, Kevin Camilleri.
Coach: Riccardo Tumiatti
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Ivan Carapic, Shaun Gauci, Clifford Gauci (76′ Zachary Tanti), Malcolm Licari (62′ Ryan Micallef), Jonathan Bajada (70′ Justin Felice), Dylan Falzon, Daniel Pelaez Bellido, Diego Carrillo Pendas, David Azzopardi, Moises Avila Perez.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Josef Tonna, Etienne Scicluna, Chris Vella.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: D. Pelaez, M. Borg
Scorers: 24′ Firas Aboulezz, 75′ Steve Bezzina
BOV Player of the Match: Daniel Miguelez Martinez