Tarxien Rainbows returned to winning ways as they registered a most comfortable 6-2 win over Rabat Ajax in a clash between the two teams lying in the bottom two positions.
Rabat, who remain anchored at the bottom of the table with six points, had to rely on the youths’ team goalkeeper Andrew Zammit as Pavle Velimirovic was suspended and Jonathan Azzopardi was ruled out injured. Also missing for Rabat were Adam Smeir and Aidan Azzopardi. Josef Mifsud was missing for Tarxien.
The Rainbows managed to take the lead on the 10th minute thanks to a William Barbosa header.
Karl Pulo doubled the score on the half-hour, hitting home from close range after goalkeeper Andrew Zammit partially saved a cross shot by Martinelli.
Rabat replied with a shot from outside the area by Ryan Micallef on 35 minutes which was neutralised by Nicky Vella.
Jorge Santos Silva made it 3-0 on 36 minutes with a low shot from the edge of the area which gave the young Rabat goalkeeper no chance.
Zammit then performed a good save on a Ronaille header one minute from the end of the first half.
Rabat could have pulled one back thirteen minutes in the second half when they were awarded a penalty as Malcolm Licari was floored inside the area. However Dani Pelaez’s effort from the penalty spot was parried by Nicky Vella.
The Magpies reduced the gap on 61 minutes thanks to a header by Malcolm Licari off a cross by Diego Carrillo.
Jorge Santos Silva made it 4-1 on 71 minutes with a rising shot which beat Zammit following a cross from the left.
A minute later, Ryan Micallef scored an intelligent goal with an angled shot from the left which gave Nicky Vella no chance.
Karl Pulo stole the ball off goalkeeper Andrew Zammit placing the ball at the back of the net with an angled shot from the left to score the fifth goal on 77 minutes.
Karl Pulo completed a hat-trick eight minutes from time after rounding a couple of players before beating Andrew Zammit with a diagonal shot from the right.
RABAT Andrew Zammit, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Dylan Falzon, Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana, Jonathan Bajada (31′ Wayne Borg), Daniel Peleaz Bellido (72′ Patrick Borg), Malcolm Licari, Ryan Micallef (84′ Chris Vella), Diego Carrillo Pendas.
Subs not used: Tyler Grech, Zachary Tanti, Sacha Cortis, Kurt Muscat
Coach: Steve D’Amato
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana (83′ Miguel Ciantar), Fernando Lopes Alcantara, Luca Martinelli, Ronaille Calheira Seara (67′ Marko Potezica), William Barbosa, Ryan Sammut, Carlos Menendez Hevia (87′ Nigel Vella), Karl Pulo, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski, Andrew Agius, Steve Bonnici.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Additional Assistant Referees: Paul Caruana, Sandro Spiteri
Fourth Official: Albert Borg Cardona
Yellow Cards: Diego Carrillo, Menendez Hevia, Falzon
Scorers: 10′ William Barbosa, 30′ Karl Pulo, 36′ Jorge Santos Silva, 61′ Malcolm Licari, 71′ Jorge Santos Silva, 72′ Ryan Micallef, 77′ Karl Pulo, 82′ Karl Pulo
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Santos Silva
Balzan maintained alive hopes of securing a top-six finish as they registered a narrow win over Qormi.
They are now seventh, one point ahead of Floriana and four behind Mosta. Qormi, on the other hand, are now joint-second from bottom.
Balzan lacked the suspended Fabio Vignaroli while Joao Gabriel da Silva was ruled out injured for Qormi.
The first half which lacked goal-mouth action, ending in a goalless stalemate. A back-pass by Alfred Effiong for Roderick Bajada was met by the latter’s attempt which ended a little bit high over the crossbar on the 5th. A minute later, Edison Bilbao Zarate’s low shot was neutralized by Matthew Farrugia. Christian Terrible served Gianluca Nucera with the latter’s diagonal shot parried by Emmanuel Bartolo. A Kurt Magro’s long-distance shot was blocked by the Qormi goalkeeper on 36 minutes and just before half-time, a rising shot by Pedro Calcado from a central position was easily blocked by Matthew Farrugia.
Two minutes in the second half, Jose Luis Armario Negrin flicked the ball in front of goal but his attempt was blocked by Matthew Farrugia. Two minutes later, Alfred Effiong advanced on the right and darted inside the penalty area but his attempt was deflected into a corner by Manuel Bartolo.
Balzan took the lead on 54 minutes when Pedro Calcado served Edison Bilbao Zarate and the latter’s cross brought Jose Luis Armario Negrin in an ideal position and the Spanish striker made no mistake placing the ball at the back of the net.
A direct freekick by Christian Terribile ended in Manuel Bartolo’s safe hands on 58 minutes. Six minutes later, a well-placed freekick by Triston Caruana was blocked again by the Balzan custodian. A rising shot by Roderick Bajada from a central position ended high over the bar on 74 minutes.
Three minutes from time, Qormi were reduced to ten men as Owen Bugeja was sent off by referee Clayton Pisani.
BALZAN Manuel Bartolo, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Lucas Ramon Dos Santos, Andrew Scicluna, Kurt Magro, Pedro Henrique dos Santos Calcado, Edison David Zarate Bilbao, Lydon Micallef (79’ Mark Spiteri), Dylan Grima, Jose’ Luis Armario Negrin (83’ Luke Sciberras).
Subs not used: Michael Falzon, Godwin McKay, Ryan Darmanin, Gianfranco Micallef, Firas Aboulezz.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
QORMIMatthew Farrugia, Owen Bugeja, Jonathan Bondin (44’ Emerson Vella), Roderick Bajada, Leighton Grech, Triston Caruana, Roderick Sammut, Christian Terrible, Alfred Effiong, Gianluca Nocera (65’ Abudulai Issaka), Duncan Pisani.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Terence Abela, George Portelli, Leonardo Gabrieli, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Karel Zeman
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap.
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: P. Calcado, C. Terrible, T. Caruana, A. Effiong, E. Zarate
Red Card: 87’ Owen Bugeja (Q)
Scorers : 54’ Jose Luis Armario Negrin
BOV Player of the Match: Pedro Henrique Dos Santos Calcado (Balzan)