Rabat Ajax collected their first three points as a goal by Diego Carrillo Pendas six minutes from time gave the Magpies a 1-0 win over Tarxien Rainbows. Three points which puts them one point ahead of Floriana.
Tarxien had their fair share of scoring opportunities during the first half but after the break, Rabat showed greater determination and to make things easier for them, the Rainbows had a player sent off for a second yellow card.
Both players were unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Carlo Mamo for Tarxien and Joseph Caruana for Rabat.
Tarxien were unlucky not to take the lead on the 4th minute when Ronaille Calheira Seara’s effort from the left hit the inner side of the upright and crossbar but bounced back before being cleared into safety by a defender. Rabat replied with a Clifford Gauci effort from inside the area which was saved in two attempts by Nicky Vella.
A cross shot from the left by Diego Carrillo on the 24th was not held by Vella but the ball was cleared into safety. On the other side of the pitch, in a counter-attack for Tarxien, Calheira Seara served Jorge Santos Silva whose powerful drive was turned into a corner by Velimirovic.
Eleven minutes in the second half, following a Diego Carrillo corner, there was a short clearance by a defender and Dani Pelaez’s powerful volley ended just over the bar. On the hour, Adam Smeir’s conclusion, off a cross by Carrillo was parried by Nicky Vella in two attempts.
Two minutes later, Tarxien were reduced to ten men after Fernando Lopes Alcantara picked a second yellow card for a foul on Diego Carrillo who was heading towards the area and was therefore sent off. From the resulting freekick, Dani Pelaez brought the best out of Nicky Vella who managed to tip the Spanish midfielder’s fine freekick into a corner. A Diego Carrillo freekick was turned into a corner by Vella on 67 minutes.
On the 75th, Everton served Jorge Santos Silva on the right and the latter’s shot was turned into a corner by the Rabat custodian.
Six minutes from time, Rabat managed to break the deadlock when off an inviting pass by Moises Avila Perez, Diego Carrillo Pendas slotted the ball past Vella.
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TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Manuel Caruana (19′ Karl Pulo), Fernando Lopez Alcantara, Andrew Agius, Luca Martinelli, Ronaille Calheira Seara, Miguel Ciantar (68′ Ryan Sammut), Everton Souza Santos, Josef Mifsud, Steve Bonnici, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski, Marko Potezica, Luke Aquilina, Luke Zahra.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Dylan Falzon, Ivan Carapic, Clifford Gauci, Diego Carrillo Pendas, Daniel Pelaez Bellido, Adam Smeir (79′ Malcolm Licari), Moises Avila Perez, Jonathan Bajada (84′ Ryan Micallef).
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Josef Tonna, Patrick Borg, Zachary Tanti, Chris Vella.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Martinelli, Alcantara, Carrillo, Avila Perez, Agius, Bajada
Red Cards: 62′ Fernando Lopes Alcantara
Scorers: 84′ Diego Carrillo Pendas
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Santos Silva