Naxxar Lions returned to winning ways as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 3-1 despite having to play for over twenty minutes in ten men.
The team led by Winston Muscat held the initiative throughout the ninety minutes and although Tarxien had levelled matters, the Lions were quick to regain the lead. For the Rainbows, this was the third defeat in four matches.
Naxxar lacked Terence Scerri and Kurt Drago but welcomed back Thiago Lopes de Souza while Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro started the game on the bench. Ryan Sammut was missing for Tarxien but Miguel Ciantar returned to their starting line-up.
Naxxar went close on the 3rd minute with a Daren Falzon header, off a freekick by Pablo Doffo, turned into a corner by Nicky Vella. Tarxien replied with a Miguel Ciantar effort which was also deflcted into a corner on the 11th.
The Lions took the lead on the 15th when off a Pablo Doffo freekick, Andre Rocha da Silva had a shot blocked by the goalkeeper and off the rebound, Thiago Lopes de Souza headed the ball home.
On the 22nd minute, Marko Potezica released Jorge Santos Silva whose conclusion was neutralised by the Naxxar goalkeeper.
Tarxien levelled matters on the 45th when off a cross by Miguel Ciantar, Jorge Santos Silva headed the ball home from close range.
However in stoppage time, Naxxar were awarded a penalty after a defender handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Andre Rocha da Silva’s well-placed effort gave Nicky Vella no chance.
Nicky Vella performed a great save into a corner on a Daren Falzon shot from the edge of the area on the 53rd minute.
Naxxar were reduced to ten men on 68 minutes as Angus Buhagiar was sent off by referee Trustin Farrugia Cann after hitting Josef Mifsud in an off-the-ball situation.
The Lions however continued to hold the initiative and five minutes from time sealed the issue with the third goal as in a counter-attack, Gilmar Ribeiro served Andre Rocha da Silva on the left and the latter slotted the ball past Vella.
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NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Marlon Briffa, Angus Buhagiar, Andrew Decesare, Mattia Del Negro, Pablo Doffo, Daren Falzon (84’ Victor Bellia), Thiago Lopes de Souza, Andre Rocha da Silva (91’ John Debono), Evaldo Silva dos Santos, Ousseni Zongo (72’ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro).
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Louis John Cutajar, Jurgen Debono.
Coach: Winston Muscat
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana (69’ Everton Souza Santos), Fernando Lopes Alcantara, Luca Martinelli, Marko Potezica (61’ Andrew Agius), Ronaille Calheira Seara (31’ Karl Pulo), Miguel Ciantar, Josef Mifsud, Steven Bonnici, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski, Clive Fenech, Nigel Vella.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Marco Borg, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Alan Camilleri
Yellow Cards: Potezica, Pulo, Mamo, Zongo, Andre Rocha, Mifsud, Doffo, Alcantara, Bellia, Agius
Red Cards: 68’ Angus Buhagiar
Scorers: 15’ Thiago Lopes de Souza (N); 44’ Jorge Santos Silva (T); 45+1’ Andre Rocha da Silva pen (N); 85’ Andre Rocha da Silva (N)
BOV Player of the Match: Andre Rocha da Silva