Mosta staged a brilliant comeback as they came back from two goals down to beat Hibernians 3-2.
Three important points in their battle for a place in the Championship Pool as they move five points ahead of seventh-placed Floriana. For Hibernians, it was yet another disappointing result for the Paolites as they suffered the third defeat in five matches.
Hibs coach Branko Nisevic could not count on Brazilians Rodolfo Soares and Marcelo Dias who moved to Lebanon. Mosta, on the other hand, lacked the suspended Bojan Kaljevic.
Hibernians held the initiative during the first half with the first attempt at goal occurring after just one minute with Tarabai testing Omar Borg’s handling skills but the attentive Mosta goalkeeper parried the Hibs striker’s attempt.
Hibs took the lead on the 3rd minute when a Clayton Failla low diagonal shot from outside the area ended at the back of the net.
Two minutes later, off a cross by Andrew Cohen for Obinna Obiefule, the striker’s attempt was partially saved by the goalkeeper, hitting the upright. On the other side of the pitch, Manolito Micallef sent Gianmarco Piccioni through with the Italian striker controlling the ball well before releasing a low shot which hit the upright. A long distance shot by Kurt Zammit was deflected into a corner by Muscat. On the half-hour, Omar Borg performed good saves on Obiefule and Tarabai from close range. Six minutes later, a Dyson Falzon cross was met by Piccioni’s header which ended high over the bar.
The Paolites doubled the score on the 39th minute. It was a direct freekick by Clayton Failla which gave Omar Borg no chance.
In the second half, Mosta coach Enrico Piccioni inserted Diego Pereira and his inclusion changed the proceedings.
Mosta reduced the gap on the 49th when off a cross by Dyson Falzon, Tyrone Farrugia’s header was partially blocked by Muscat and off the rebound, Manolito Micallef hit home.
The Blues were awarded a penalty on 62 minutes after Zoran Levnajic handled the ball inside the area following a shot by Diego Pereira. From the penalty spot, Gianmarco Piccioni’s low shot on the left hand side of the post ended at the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, Mosta scored the third goal. Following an assist by Lukas Duriska for Diego Pereira on the left flank, the latter darted inside the penalty area and his back pass was met by a Yuri de Jesus Messias first-time effort which beat the Hibs custodian.
This goal shocked the Paolites although on the 90th, Obinna Obiefule went close with a shot from outside the area which was however blocked by Omar Borg.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Andrew Cohen (68’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Zoran Levnaic, Matthew Bartolo (90’ Brandon Muscat), Obina Obiefule, Edison Luis dos Santos.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Scott Chircop, Jurgen Degabriele, Timothy Tabone, Jurgen Borg.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
MOSTA Omar Borg, Tyrone Farrugia, Manolito Micallef, Kane Farrugia (25’ Diego Pereira), Mark Brincat, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Kurt Zammit, Lukas Duriska (79’ Alex Cini), Cristian Martins Fernandes (58’ Yuri de Jesus Messias), Dyson Falzon, Gianmarco Piccioni.
Subs not used: Kurt Rizzo, James Brincat, Steve Schembri, Ishmael Grech.
Coach: Enrico Piccioni
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: R. Ekani, L. Duriska, J. Pearson, R. Camilleri, Z. Levnaic, Y. Messias.
Scorers: 3’ Clayton Failla (H), 39′ Clayton Failla (H), 49’ Manolito Micallef (M), 62’ Gianmarco Piccioni pen (M), 69’ Yuri de Jesus Messias (M)
BOV Player of the Match: Diego Pereira (Mosta)
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 646
At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Naxxar Lions registered a fourth consecutive win as they beat nine-man Rabat Ajax 3-0. A win which enables them to move a step closer to securing a place in the Championship Pool as they now lie just three points behind Sliema Wanderers.
The Magpies have now gone ten matches without a win. They lacked the injured Ryan Micallef and Adam Smeir. Naxxar, on the other hand, had Argentine defender David Alejandro Reano making his debut when he was included as a substitute.
Rabat had the first attempt at goal as they went close with a fine Dani Pelaez freekick on the 15th minute.
Three minutes later, Naxxar took the lead as Terence Scerri placed the ball at the back of the net from inside the goal area after Dylan Falzon failed to clear the ball into
Julian Azzopardi performed a good save on another Pelaez freekick on 25 minutes. Four minutes later, a freekick by Diego Carrillo was blocked by Azzopardi and from the resulting throw-in, there was a cross for Aidan Azzopardi who flicked the ball just past the upright.
Rabat were reduced to ten men on 32 minutes after Aidan Azzopardi was sent off for a foul on Bellia. A decision which seemed rather harsh on the young Rabat midfielder.
The two sides then went close with good headers – Ivan Carapic for Rabat and Andre Rocha da Silva for Naxxar.
Four minutes in the second half, Naxxar doubled the score when Andre Rocha da Silva’s curved shot beat Velimirovic.
Rabat were reduced to ten men on 57 minutes as referee Trustin Farrugia Cann sent off goalkeeper Pavle Velimirovic for a foul just outside the area on Terence Scerri.
Two minutes from time, Naxxar scored the third goal thanks to substitute Jurgen Debono who slotted the ball past Jonathan Azzopardi when served by Andre Rocha da Silva.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Victor Bellia (67′ Jurgen Debono), Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (73′ Daren Falzon), Andrew Decesare, Mattia Del Negro, Pablo Doffo (13′ David Alejandro Reano), Thiago Lopes de Souza, Andre Rocha da Silva, Terence Scerri.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, John Debono, Yuri Martines de Oliveira.
Coach: Winston Muscat
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Dylan Falzon, Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana, Jonathan Bajada, Daniel Pelaez Bellido, Diego Carrillo Pendas, Malcolm Licari (58′ Jonathan Azzopardi gk), Aidan Azzopardi.
Subs not used: Zachary Tanti, Chris Vella, Kurt Muscat, Patrick Borg, Sacha Cortis, Etienne Scicluna.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Bellia
Red Cards: 32′ Aidan Azzopardi, 58′ Pavle Velimirovic
Scorers: 18′ Terence Scerri, 49′ Andre Rocha da Silva, 88′ Jurgen Debono
BOV Player of the Match: Terence Scerri
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 614