Birkirkara were in a class of their own as they registered a 4-0 win over Mosta who were coming from a series of six consecutive wins.
In fact, this was the first defeat for the Blues since Enrico Piccioni took over as Mosta coach in December. For Birkirkara, this was the sixteenth win in seventeen matches.
The Stripes lacked Gareth Sciberras and Rowen Muscat while Mosta could not count on the injured Dyson Falzon.
Birkirkara had an excellent start, taking the lead on the 11th minute as Haruna Shola Shodiya released Joseph Zerafa on the left and the latter advanced into the area, avoiding a defender and hitting home past goalkeeper Omar Borg.
Haruna Shola Shodiya was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a fine header on the 33rd minute off a corner by Jhonnattann from the right.
However two minutes later, the Stripes doubled the score thanks to Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao whose powerful shot from the right was too strong for the Mosta custodian with the ball ending at the back of the net.
Birkirkara could have increased the lead further on the 36th when a powerful drive by Jhonnattann from the edge of the area was partially saved by Omar Borg but the Mosta goalkeeper managed to anticipate Ronaille Calheira Seara before he could connect off the rebound.
Five minutes in the second half, Jhonnattann missed a good opportunity hitting wide from close range off an inviting cross by Ronaille Calheira Seara. On the other side of the pitch, Justin Haber came to the rescue blocking an erratic clearance by a defender off a corner from the right by Ian Zammit.
Birkirkara scored the third goal on the 56th when off a through pass by Edward Herrera for Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, goalkeeper Omar Borg rushed out of the area in an attempt to anticipate the Brazilian striker but missed the ball, leaving Jhonnattann all alone to deposit the ball inside the empty net.
Substitute Ryan Camenzuli hit the upright from close range following an inviting cross from the right on 67 minutes for Birkirkara.
Eleven minutes from time, Birkirkara made it 4-0 when off a freekick from the right by Haruna Shola Shodiya, Nikola Vukanac hit home from close range.
B’KARA Justin Haber, Zach Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa (61′ Ryan Camenzuli), Haruna Shola Shodiya (80′ Frank Temile), Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, Paul Fenech, Edward Herrera, Ronaille Calheira Seara, Ryan Scicluna (74′ Daniel Zerafa).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Daniel Zerafa, Antoine Borg, Jonathan Licari, Terence Vella.
Coach: Paul Zammit
MOSTA Omar Borg, Tyrone Farrugia, Mark Brincat, Manolito Micallef, Antonio Carrozza, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Ryan Grech (75′ Ricardo Silva Faria), Gianmarco Piccioni (65′ Diego Pereira), Bojan Kaljevic, Ishmael Grech (35′ Kurt Zammit), Ian Zammit.
Subs not used: Kurt Rizzo, James Brincat, Steve Schembri, Alex Cini.
Coach: Enrico Piccioni
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Scicluna, Haber, Herrera, Muscat, Carrozza
Scorers: 11′ Joseph Zerafa, 35′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, 56′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, 79′ Nikola Vukanac
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 821
At the National Stadium, Valletta bounced back from the draw with Sliema Wanderers as they beat Hibernians 3-1.
Jonathan Pearson and Edison Luis dos Santos was missing for Hibernians as he served a one-match ban while Valletta were practically in full strength as they welcomed back Lateef Elford-Alliyu.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal on the 14th minute when off a cross by Andrew Cohen, Obinna Obiefule, despite being closely marked by three Valletta defenders, saw his low shot being deflected by Roderick Briffa into a corner. Valletta replied with a Ryan Fenech insidious shot which ended over the bar on the 20th following a cross by Shaun Bajada.
Valletta took the lead on the 34th minute when off a swift counter-attack Denni Rocha dos Santos controlled well a cross by Abdelkarim Nafti and dribbled past goalkeeper Jurgen Borg, placing the ball at the back of the net.
Two minutes later, the Citizens doubled the score when a corner by Shaun Bajada was met by Jonathan Caruana’s perfect header who sent the ball past the Hibs custodian.
The first half was claimed by Valletta’s territorial supremacy and it was no surprise that the first half score read 0-2.
Valletta sealed the issue with the third goal thirteen minutes in the second half when off a cross from the right by Ryan Fenech, Lateef Elford Alliyu controlled the ball well, serving Abdelkarim Nafti who placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
Hibernians pulled one back on the 70th thanks to a swerving shot by Jean Paul Farrugia from inside the area.
Jurgen Borg came to the rescue three minutes later with two consecutive saves – first on Edmond Agius attempt from a central position and then on a Denni powerful low shot from close range off the rebound. On the other side of the pitch, a Jurgen Degabriele low diagonal shot was neutralised by Revishvili three minutes from time.
HIBS Jurgen Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Igor Radusinovic, Matthew Bartolo (46’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Scott Chircop, Andrew Cohen (62′ Jurgen Degabriele), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Zoran Levnajic, Jackson di Lima Siqueira (62’ Johann Bezzina), Obinna Obiefule.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Dunstan Vella, Zachary Scerri, Neil Falzon.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
VALLETTA Nukri Revishvili, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech (85’ Llywelyn Cremona), Edmond Agius, Roderick Briffa, Shaun Bajada, Denni Rocha dos Santos (82’ Alan da Silva Souza), Irakli Maisuradze, Lateef Elford–Alliyu (63’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Abdelkarim Nafti.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Ian Azzopardi, Luke Montebello, Luke Dimech.
Coach: Andre Paus
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Albert Borg Cardona
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Glen Tonna
Fourth Official: Roberto Vella
Yellow Cards: I. Radusinovic, B. Kristensen, N. Revishvili
Scorers: 34’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos, 36’ Jonathan Caruana, 58’ Abdelkarim Nafti, 70’ Jean Paul Farrugia.
BOV Player of the Match: Abdelkarim Nafti (Valletta)
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1,018