After holding them in a 3-3 draw in the first round, Sliema Wanderers dropped another two points in a goalless draw with Tarxien Rainbows.
The Wanderers have dropped seven points in the last four matches and stay six points behind Hibernians who however have a game in hand. On the other hand, for Tarxien, this was a positive result considering that they were coming from three consecutive defeats. However they are still third from bottom.
Tarxien lacked Carlo Mamo and former Sliema players Luca Martinelli and Josef Mifsud while for the Wanderers, Abubakar Bello-Osagie was missing but Paltemio Barbetti was back after serving a one match ban.
The Rainbows had the first attempt at goal on the 10th minute when off an assist by Karl Pulo, Jorge Santos Silva had a fine effort deflected into a corner by Bonello. Bonello then saved partially a Jorge Santos Silva attempt from outside the penalty area with Alessandro Rapino clearing the ball into safety on the 16th. Tarxien defender Andrew Agius and Sliema midfielder Mark Scerri had to be replaced just past the half-hour after a head-to-head collision. A Jorge Santos Silva freekick four minutes from the end of the first half was blocked by Bonello four minutes from the end of the first half.
The Wanderers tried to react, including Pape Gueye in the attack. On the 69th, the Senegalese striker headed just wide off a cross by Ohawuchi. Tarxien replied with a Ronaille Calheira Seara effort which justt missed the target. Nicky Vella performed a good save on a Stefano Bianciardi header, off a Trevor Cilia freekick on 82 minutes.
TARXIEN Nicholas Vella, Steven Sadowski, Fernando Lopez Alcantara, Andrew Agius (31’ Luke Zahra), Marko Potezica, Ronaille Calheira Seara (90’ Everton Souza Santos), Miguel Ciantar, Carlos Menendez Hevia, Karl Pulo, Steven Bonnici, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Ian Cutajar, Nigel Vella I, Matthew Cassar, Nigel Vella II.
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Alessandro Rapino (58’ Pape Gueye), John Mintoff, Mark Scerri (31’ Matias Muchardi), Stanley Ohawuchi, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods (78’ Jacob Borg), Trevor Cilia, Paltemio Barbetti, Stefano Biancardi.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Axl Xuereb, Gabriel Aquilina, Beppe Muscat.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi.
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Peter Abela.
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Bonnici, Alcantara, Sadowski, Barbetti, Pulo, Muchardi, Ronaille, Woods, Ohawuchi, Potezica, Cilia, Gatt Baldacchino
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Santos Silva
At the Hibernians Stadium, Balzan claimed three important points in a 2-0 win over Mosta.
For Mosta, who were hoping to move closer to securing a place in the Championship Pool, this was the second consecutive defeat which could see them lose the lead over the teams in sixth place diminish to just one point.
Balzan managed to take the lead on the 16th when Jose Luis Armario Negrin, served by Dylan Grima, entered the penalty area from the left and beat Omar Borg with a diagonal shot.
Mosta went close to equalising on the 32nd minute with a Gianmarco Piccioni freekick from the left which was tipped over the crossbar by Guilherme Lorenzi Schelski.
The Balzan goalkeeper turned into a corner a good header by Gianmarco Piccioni following a freekick from the left by Cristian Martins Fernandes on the 61st minute. Two minutes later, substitute Bojan Kaljevic was unlucky to hit the crossbar.
However in a swift counter-attack, on the 66th, Balzan doubled the score when off an inviting cross from the right, Lydon Micallef beat Omar Borg with a fine first-time effort.
Just before the final whistle, Bojan Kaljevic hit the posts once again, this time with a header which hit the upright.
MOSTA Omar Borg, Kane Farrugia, Tyrone Farrugia, Mark Brincat, Manolito Micallef (66′ Alex Cini), Ryan Grech, Ricardo Silva Faria, Armando Vieira dos Santos (46′ Bojan Kaljevic), Yuri de Jesus Messias, Cristian Martins Fernandes, Gianmarco Piccioni.
Subs not used: Kurt Rizzo, , Kurt Zammit, Giancarlo Sammut, James Brincat, Kyle Frendo.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
BALZAN Guilherme Lorenzi Schelski, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Gianluca Calabretta (91′ Mark Spiteri), Andrew Scicluna, Fabio Vignaroli, Dylan Grima (74′ Godwin Mckay)(85′ Firas Aboulezz), Lydon Micallef, Luke Sciberras, Jose Luis Armario Negrin, Aaron Agius.
Subs not used: Jacob Cipriott, , Michael Borg, Joselito dos Reis Santos, Ryan Darmanin.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Paul Caruana
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Agius, Grioli, Armando dos Santos, Piccioni, T. Farrugia, R. Grech
Scorers: 16′ Jose Luis Armario Negrin, 66′ Lydon Micallef
BOV Player of the Match: Dylan Grima