Tarxien take sole leadership in the Relegation Pool as two second-half goals enabled them to beat ten-man Rabat Ajax 2-0.
This was the third consecutive win for Tarxien which puts them on the 18-points mark, one ahead of Floriana and Qormi, three ahead of Naxxar and five ahead of Vittoriosa. Rabat, on the other hand, remain anchored at the bottom of the table with four points.
The Rainbows lacked Luca Martinelli while David Azzopardi, Patrick Borg, Dani Pelaez, Adam Smeir and Wayne Borg were missing for Rabat.
Goal-mouth action was rather lacking in the second half with hardly any shots at goal.
Tarxien managed to take the lead on 52 minutes when off a cross by Lucas Goncalves da Silva from the left, Jorge Santos Silva controlled the ball before hitting past Velimirovic.
To make matters worse for Rabat, two minutes later, Jonathan Bajada received a second yellow card and was therefore sent off by referee Sandro Spiteri.
The Rainbows doubled the score on 65 minutes when off a cross by Daniel Mariano Bueno, Demba Toure beat Velimirovic from close range.
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, Zachary Tanti, Dylan Falzon (46′ Ivan Carapic), Joseph Caruana, Sorin Oproiescu (74′ Sacha Cortis), Jonathan Bajada, Diego Carrillo Pendas, Aidan Azzopardi (83′ Luke Cauchi), Ryan Micallef, Malcolm Licari.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Stefan Cortis, Sean Abela, Chris Vella.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana, Fernando Lopez Alcantara (46′ Lucas Goncalves de Silva), Demba Toure, Miguel Ciantar (46′ Steve Bonnici), Ryan Sammut, Carlos Menendez Hevia (76′ Karl Pulo), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Josef Mifsud, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski, Andrew Agius, Luke Zahra.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Bajada, Tanti, M. Caruana, Alcantara, Jorge Santos, Sammut
Red Cards: 54′ Jonathan Bajada
Scorers: 52′ Jorge Santos Silva, 65′ Demba Toure
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Santos Silva
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 491
In a game from the Championship Pool, Valletta returned to winning ways as they beat Balzan 3-1. A win which puts the Citizens temporarily just two points behind leaders Birkirkara.
With Ryan Fenech and Shaun Bajada ruled out through suspension, Valletta coach Andre Paus made several changes, also opting to leave Abdelkarim Nafti out of the squad and leaving goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili on the bench. Justin Grioli, on the other hand, was the only player absent for Balzan as they welcomed back Ramon dos Santos and Pedro Calcado.
Valletta were clearly the better side and had most of ball possession during the first half. Balzan played better football and put more pressure in the second half. Yet they were not match for the Citizens who were in control throughout the match.
The Citizens took the lead on the 21st minute when off a cross by Denni, Jonathan Caruana’s perfect header beat the Balzan goalkeeper.
Balzan almost equalised seven minutes later but Pedro Calcado’s well executed free-kick hit the upright and off the rebound, the Balzan player’s attempt was neutralized by Cini.
Early in the second half, Lateef Elford-Alliyu went close with a diagonal low shot hitting the side netting and then the same player missed an excellent opportunity, failing to connect in front of an empty net off a cross by Denni from the left.
However on the 55th minute, Lateef Elford-Alliyu made up for his mistake as his fierce scissors-kick shot from inside the penalty area gave Bartolo no chance.
Eight minutes later, Elford-Alliyu was unlucky to hit the upright with a shot from outside the area.
Balzan pulled one back on 83 minutes through Lydon Micallef whose low well-placed shot from a central position beat Yenz Cini.
However Valletta made it 3-1 five minutes later with a first-time effort from around thirty metres by Edmond Agius which left Manuel Bartolo astounded.
BALZAN Manuel Bartolo, Kurt Magro, Steve Bezzina, Andrew Scicluna, Lucas Ramon dos Santos, Fabio Vignaroli, Dylan Grima (67’ Mark Spiteri), Edison David Zarate Bilbao, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Lydon Micallef, Jose Luis Armario Negrin (67’ Ryan Darmanin).
Subs not used: Michael Falzon, Firas Aboulezz, Luke Sciberras, Shawn Bugeja, Charlie Fuller.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Edmond Agius, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Roderick Briffa, Oscar Reyes Sanchez, Lateef Elford-Alliyu, Alan da Silva Souza (80’ Llywelyn Cremona), Denni Rocha dos Santos, Irakli Maisuradze.
Subs not used: Luke Montebello, Dario Tabone, Attard Miguel, Nukri Revishvili, Matthew Thorne, Luke Dimech.
Coach: Andre Paus
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: K. Magro, D. Grima, I. Maisuradze, P. Dos Santos Calcado,
Scorers: 21’ Jonathan Caruana (V), 55’ Lateef Elford–Alliyu (V), 83’ Lydon Micallef (B), 88’ Edmond Agius (V)
BOV Player of the Match: Lateef Elford-Alliyu (Valletta)
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 810