Champions Birkirkara continued their triumphant march at the top of the BOV Premier League as goals by Jhonnattann and Shola Shodiya gave them a 3-1 win over Tarxien Rainbows – the thirteenth consecutive win for Paul Zammit’s side.
The Stripes regain a six-point lead over Valletta – their opponents in Sunday’s big match from the BOV Premier League.
Birkirkara lacked Rowen Muscat while Carlo Mamo was missing for Tarxien.
The Stripes could have taken the lead on 27 minutes when Shola Shodiya was unlucky to be in the part of Jhonnattann’s goal-bound shot from the left with Nicky Vella beaten. On 44 minutes, Ronaille Calheira Seara brought the best out of goalkeeper Justin Haber with a rising shot from the right as the latter managed to turn the ball into a corner in style.
However in added time, Birkirakra managed to take the lead thanks to a goal by Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao whose diagonal shot from the left beat goalkeeper Nicky Vella.
Paul Fenech went close to doubling the score on 62 minutes with a shot from outside the area ending just wide.
Haruna Shola Shodiya eventually made it 2-0 on 71 minutes when he concluded a fine solo effort with a powerful shot from the edge of the area which gave the Tarxien custodian no chance.
Jhonnattann could have added another on the 80th but Jhonnattann’s goal-bound shot was cleared off the goal line by Steve Bonnici. A minute later, Nikola Vukanac was unlucky to hit the upright with a shot from close range. In a counter attack for Birkirkara five minutes from time, Jhonnattann served Frank Temile whose close-range shot was deflected into a corner.
Tarxien pulled one back through Jorge Santos Silva whose low shot from the right beat goalkeeper Justin Haber on the 88th.
However one minute later, substitute Daniel Zerafa made it 3-1 for Birkirkara with a diagonal shot from the left.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Manuel Caruana, Fernando Lopez Alcantara (76′ Miguel Ciantar), Andrew Agius (54′ Karl Pulo), Luca Martinelli, Ronaille Calheira Seara, William Barbosa (45′ Josef Mifsud), Ryan Sammut, Carlos Menendez Hevia, Steve Bonnici, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski, Luke Zahra, Nigel Vella.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
B’KARA Justin Haber, Joseph Zerafa, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Nikola Vukanac, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (90′ Zach Muscat), Gareth Sciberras, Frank Temile, Ryan Scicluna (79′ Daniel Zerafa), Haruna Shola Shodiya (73′ Ryan Camenzuli), Paul Fenech, Edward Herrera.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, , Russell Gatt De Raffaele, Terence Vella, Matheus Bissi da Silva.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Agius, Zerafa, Sammut, Sciberras, HeviaScorers: 45+1′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (B), 71′ Haruna Shola Shodiya (B), 88′ Jorge Santos Silva (T), 89′ Daniel Zerafa (B)
BOV Player of the Match: Gareth Sciberras