Naxxar Lions continued to pile more misery on wooden-spoonists Rabat Ajax as the Lions came from behind to beat them 2-1 to move alone in sixth place.
On the other hand, Rabat remain anchored at the bottom of the table without any points from seven matches. They had a good start, taking the lead but once Naxxar equalised, the latter immediately gained control.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Joseph Caruana for Rabat, Louis Cutajar, Andre Rocha da Silva and Terence Scerri for Naxxar.
Naxxar went close to taking the lead after just three minutes when off a Mattia Del Negro cross from the right, Ousseni Zongo hit the crossbar with a good header. Rabat replied with a good pass by Moises Avila Perez for Adam Smeir but the ball was cleared into a corner.
The Magpies managed to take the lead on 22 minutes thanks to a great freekick from an angled position on the left by Diego Carrillo Pendas with the ball hitting the upright before ending at the back of the net.
Diego Carrillo went close once again on 34 minutes, hitting just wide off a Dani Pelaez freekick. Five minutes from half-time, a Daren Falzon freekick missed the target by a whisker.
Five minutes in the second half, a Pablo Doffo freekick was deflected by Velimirovic onto the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Naxxar levelled matters when off a cross from the right, Daren Falzon served Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro with a perfect back-heel pass and the Brazilian striker hit the ball past the Rabat goalkeeper.
Naxxar took the lead on 61 minutes thanks to Angus Buhagiar who concluded a fine move with a perfect flick past Velimirovic.
Gilmar could have added another a minute later when he took advantage of loose marking by the Rabat defence, however hitting just wide. On the 68th, Zongo served Gilmar on the left but the latter’s shot was turned into a corner by Velimirovic. Marlon Briffa, then rounded two players, before having his close-range effort neutralised by the Rabat goalkeeper on 84 minutes. Diego Carrillo tried his luck with another freekick on 87 minutes but the ball ended just wide.
Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
no images were found
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Dylan Falzon, Daniel Pelaez Bellido, Patrick Borg (67′ Malcolm Licari), Clifford Gauci, Adam Smeir, Diego Carrillo Pendas, Ivan Carapic, Moises Avila Perez.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Josef Tonna, Chris Vella, Zachary Tanti, Jonathan Bajada, Aidan Azzopardi.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Marlon Briffa, Angus Buhagiar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Andrew Decesare, Mattia Del Negro (46′ Victor Bellia), Pablo Doffo, Daren Falzon (81′ Jeremiah Ani), Thiago Lopes de Souza, Evaldo Silva dos Santos, Ousseni Zongo.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, John Debono, Jurgen Debono, Kurt Drago.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Doffo, Smeir, Briffa, Zongo, Falzon
Scorers: 22′ Diego Carrillo Pendas (R); 52′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (N); 61′ Angus Buhagiar (N)
BOV Player of the Match: Daren Falzon