Qormi defeated Rabat Ajax 3-0 to return to winning ways in an almost do-or-die clash for the Magpies who have now gone sixteen matches without a win.
Bottom-placed Rabat lie five points behind Tarxien, who however have a game in hand, six behind Vittoriosa and seven behind Qormi.
Rabat coach Steve D’Amato surprisingly started with Diego Carrillo, Dylan Falzon and Jonathan Bajada on the bench as the three players returned from suspension together with David Azzopardi. Dani Pelaez, Adam Smeir and Aidan Azzopardi were all ruled out injured. Qormi, on the other hand, welcomed back Roderick Sammut but Matthew Farrugia and Owen Bugeja were both missing due to injuries.
Qormi took the lead on the 15th minute when Alfred Effiong served Emerson Vella on the left and the latter hit hard part past Velimirovic.
Rabat went close four minutes later with a Chris Vella long-distance shot from the left which was not held by Steve Sultana. An Alfred Effiong volley from outside the area was neutralised by the Rabat goalkeeper on the 22nd.
On the 68th, Sorin Oproiescu served Ryan Micallef inside the area and teh latter’s powerful shot was blocked into a corner by Duncan Pisani. On the other side of the pitch, a goal-bound shot by Jorginho was deflected into a corner by Shaun Gauci.
Qormi sealed the issue with a second goal on the 75th when off a Triston Caruana freekick, Jorge Pereira da Silva’s first attempt was blocked in style by Velimirovic but off the rebound, the same player placed the ball at the back of the net.
Five minutes later, Alfred Effiong concluded a solo effort with a powerful drive which beat Velimirovic for Qormi’s third goal.
Ryan Micallef went close to scoring a consolation goal for Rabat with a rising shot from outside the area on 86 minutes. Two minutes later, Velimirovic performed a great save on Triston Caruana. On the 90th, Alfred Effiong hit the crossbar with a lob from the right.
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana (85′ Dylan Falzon), Wayne Borg (65′ Jonathan Bajada), Sorin Oproiescu, Malcolm Licari, Patrick Borg, Ryan Micallef, Chris Vella (46′ Diego Carrillo Pendas).
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Sacha Cortis, Stefan Cortis, Etienne Scicluna.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
QORMI Steve Sultana, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Roderick Sammut, Emerson Vella, Gabriel da Silva (91′ Karl Sciortino), Triston Caruana, Simone Quintieri, Jorge Pereira da Silva (80′ Giorgio Gianola), Lucas Cantoro (73′ Leighton Grech), Alfred Effiong.
Subs not used: Andreas Vella, Stefano Zampa, Roderick Bajada, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Karel Zeman
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Caruana, Gabriel, Carapic
Scorers: 15′ Emerson Vella, 75′ Jorge Pereira da Silva, 80′ Alfred Effiong
BOV Player of the Match: Joao Gabriel da Silva