Hibernians maintained their hundred percent record as they came from one goal down to beat Rabat Ajax 4-1.
The Paolites therefore regain sole leadership, two points ahead of Birkirkara while Rabat remain second from bottom, two points ahead of Floriana.
Hibernians lacked Jonathan Pearson and Bjorn Kristensen while Dylan Falzon and Joseph Caruana were missing for Rabat. Adam Smeir returned for the Ajax after almost eleven months when he was included as a substitute.
The Magpies managed to take the lead on the 7th minute when off a Diego Carrillo corner from the left, Mario Muscat punched the ball out of the area and Dani Pelaez placed the ball with a fine volley.
Hibernians went close with a Clayton Failla freekick, blocked by a defender, and then with a cross shot from the right by Marcelo Dias, turned into a corner by Velimirovic.
The Paolites equalised on the 32nd minute when off a freekick by Jackson Lima, there was an erratic clearance by a defender and Edison Luis dos Santos headed home from close-range.
Just before half-time Pavle Velimirovic performed a great save on a powerful drive on Clayton Failla.
Jackson Lima tried his luck with a powerful shot from outside the area when served by Marcelo Dias but his conclusion ended just over the bar on 55 minutes.
Two minutes later, Hibs took the lead when off a cross by Failla from the left, Jackson di Lima Siqueira beat Velimirovic with a first-timer from close range.
The Paolites increased the lead on 61 minutes when a cross from the right by Marcelo Dias was partially saved by Velimirovic, Tarabai hit low with Andrew Cohen deflecting the ball to end at the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, Hibs sealed the issue with the fourth goal when off a cross by Jackson Lima from the right, Edison Luis dos Santos controlled the ball in style, beating the Rabat goalkeeper with a fine shot.
Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
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HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri (71’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen, Clayton Failla (67’ Matthew Bartolo), Matthew Tabone, Zoran Levnajic, Johann Bezzina, Edison Luis dos Santos (87’ Jurgen Degabriele).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Scott Chircop, Ayrton Azzopardi, Obinna Obiefule,.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Ivan Carapic, Shaun Gauci (85’ Zachary Tanti), Diego Carrillo Pendas, Clifford Gauci, Jonathan Bajada (68’ Adam Smeir), Daniel Pelaez Bellido, Josef Tonna, Patrick Borg, David Azzopardi, Moises Avila Perez (71’ Malcolm Licari).
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Ryan Micallef, Wayne Borg, Aidan Azzopardi.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Albert Borg Cardona
Additional Assistant Referees: Paul Caruana, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: A. Cohen, P. Borg, Tarabai, J. Bajada, M. Dias
Scorers: 7’ Daniel Pelaez Bellido (R); 32’ Edison Luis dos Santos (H); 57’ Jackson di Lima Siqeuira (H); 61’ Andrew Cohen (H); 70’ Edison Luis dos Santos (H)
BOV Player of the Match: Marcelo Dias
Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
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At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Floriana defeated Vittoriosa 2-1 in a match which came to life in the final minutes.
The Greens were the better side throughout the whole ninety minutes but it was only the inclusion of Daniel Bogdanovic and Igor Coronado made the whole difference as they created more goal-scoring opportunities, eventually obtaining the goals which gave them the three points. Three points which put them on minus two points.
Floriana had the first attempt at goal on the 16th minute with a freekick by Gary Muir which was blocked by Sean Cini. Two minutes later, Cini performed a good save on a Brooke Farrugia header following a corner by Clyde Borg. Brooke Farrugia hit the upright with a long-distance effort on the 25th. On the other side of the pitch, Marcelo Pereira had a shot blocked by Floriana goalie Daniel Hanford. Just before half-time, an insidious cross inside the penalty box from Clyde Borg was met by a Steve Pisani’s lob which ends a little bit high over the crossbar.
Igor Coronado intelligently served Clyde Borg inside the area and the latter’s first-timer hit the crossbar on 74 minutes and a minute later, Steve Pisani’s diagonal shot inside the penalty box ended inches wide past the upright. A freekick by Marcio Teruel was neutralised by Hanford.
Floriana managed to break the deadlock three minutes from time. Igor Coronado exchanged the ball with Daniel Bogdanovic and the latter’s rising shot from inside the area beat the Vittoriosa goalkeeper.
The Greens doubled the score on the 90th when off a Clyde Borg cross, Steve Pisani’s header anticipated Sean Cini to end at the back of the net.
Three minutes in added time, off a cross from the left by Gilbert Martin, Oscar Dario Guerrero Alvarado flicked the ball past Hanford.
Substitute Daniel Bogdanovic put the Greens ahead on 87 minutes. Steve Pisani doubled the score on the 90th with Oscar Guerrero scoring a consolation goal two minutes in added time.
FLORIANA Daniel Hanford, Andre Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Gary Roberts, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Joseph Borg, Brooke Farrugia (53’ Daniel Bogdanovic), Gary Muir, Diogo Pinneiro De Sousa (61’ Igor Coronado), Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Sunday Eboh, Christian Caruana, Luca Casha, Francesco Guzman.
Coach: Ian Dawes
VITTORIOSA Sean Cini, Lucas Ramon Dos Santos, Marcio Teruel, Siraj Arab Eddin (61’ Gilbert Martin), Oscar Dario Guerrero, Clive Spiteri (64’ Ryan Mifsud), Michael Camilleri, Samir Arab (44’ Adam Spiteri), Marcelo Pereira, Jose Filipe Aguiar Calderia, Malcolm Buttigieg.
Subs not used: Jean Mathias Vella, Justin Camilleri, Mark Barbara, Liam Gauci.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: A. Spiteri, S. Borg, G. Roberts
Scorers: 87’ Daniel Bogdanovic (F); 90’ Steve Pisani (F); 93’ Oscar Dario Guerrero (V)
BOV Player of the Match: Clyde Borg (Floriana)