Bojan Kaljevic and Diego Pereira scored two goals each as Mosta hit four past Naxxar Lions in the derby. A win which puts the Blues just two points behind Sliema Wanderers.
Mosta were a superior side throughout the ninety minutes and especially after taking the lead, there were no doubts which way the three points were going.
For Naxxar Lions, this was the third consecutive defeat which leaves them in seventh place, one point behind Balzan with one match to go for the end of the first phase. On Sunday, Naxxar face Hibernians and Balzan meet Valletta.
Mosta coach Enrico Piccioni could not count on Dyson Falzon and Gianmarco Piccioni but had Italian midfielder Antonio Carrozza making his debut along with Ian Zammit who was included as a substitute. On the other hand, making his first appearance for Naxxar was former Valletta midfielder Raimi Bakare.
Mosta went close on the 17th when off an Antonio Carrozza corner from the right, Tyrone Farrugia hit just wide. Naxxar replied with a good pass by Angus Buhagiar for Terence Scerri whose powerful shot was blocked into a corner by Azzopardi on 26 minutes. A minute later, Yuri de Jesus Messias released Manolito Micallef whose long-distance shot ended just over the bar.
On 32 minutes, Bojan Kaljevic controlled a cross from the right by chesting the ball down and unleashing a powerful shot which scraped past the post.
Mosta managed to take the lead one minute from the end of the first half when David Alejandro Reano floored Manolito Micallef inside the area. Referee Andre Arciola ordered a penalty and from the penalty spot, Bojan Kaljevic converted.
Hardly thirty seconds in the second half had passed that Mosta doubled the score thanks to another goal by Bojan Kaljevic who received a pass inside the area, hitting low past Julian Azzopardi.
Naxxar replied with attempts by Andre Rocha da Silva and Victor Bellia ending just wide.
However on the 70th, Mosta scored the third goal when off a cross by Antonio Carrozza from the left, Diego Pereira headed the ball home from close range.
Thiago Lopes de Sousa was lucky not to be cautioned on the 77th after hitting Tyrone Farrugia inside the area.
Six minutes from time, the Blues scored the fourth goal when a shot by substitute Ian Zammit was partially saved by Julian Azzopardi, Diego Pereira took the rebound, rounding the goalkeeper and placing the ball at the back of the net.
Naxxar were reduced to ten men on the 88th when Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro received a second yellow card for protests.
Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
MOSTA Omar Borg, Tyrone Farrugia, Mark Brincat, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Ishmael Grech, Ryan Grech, Kurt Zammit, Manolito Micallef, Antonio Carrozza (78′ Alex Cini), Yuri de Jesus Messias (75′ Ian Zammit), Bojan Kaljevic (60′ Diego Pereira).
Subs not used: Kurt Rizzo, Steve Schembri, James Brincat, Harouna Bara.
Coach: Enrico Piccioni
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Raimi Bakare, Victor Bellia, Angus Buhagiar (78′ Jurgen Debono), Ryan Gilmour Cassar (54′ Daren Falzon), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Andrew Decesare, Thiago Lopes de Souza, David Alejandro Reano, Andre Rocha da Silva (85′ Filip Stojanovic), Terence Scerri.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, John Debono, Mattia Del Negro.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Peter Abela
Additional Assistant Referees: Marco Borg, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Albert Borg Cardona
Yellow Cards: Bellia, Bakare, R. Grech, Azzopardi, Reano, Scerri, Kaljevic, Gilmar, Pereira, Buhagiar
Red Cards: 88′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro
Scorers: 44′ Bojan Kaljevic pen, 46′ Bojan Kaljevic, 70′ Diego Pereira, 84′ Diego Pereira
BOV Player of the Match: Bojan Kaljevic