Naxxar Lions moved an important step towards securing their Premier League status as they registered a second consecutive win, beating Tarxien Rainbows 1-0 at the Centenary Stadium.
It was Raimi Bakare’s powerful drive on 23 minutes which enabled Winston Muscat’s side to collect the three points which put them temporarily at the top of the Relegation Pool together with Qormi, one point ahead of the Rainbows.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Manuel Caruana, Fernando Lopes Alcantara (46′ Lucas Goncalves da Silva), Demba Toure, Migiel Ciantar (57′ Andrew Agius), Ryan Sammut (46′ Steve Bonnici), Carlos Menendez Hevia, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Josef Mifsud, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Luca Martinelli, Nigel Vella, Luke Zahra
Coach: Clive Mizzi
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Raimi Bakare, Victor Bellia, Angus Buhagiar, Andrew Decesare, Daren Falzon, Thiago Lopes de Souza, David Alejandro Reano, Andre Rocha da Silva (13′ Milan Vignjevic), Terence Scerri, Filip Stojanovic.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Jurgen Debono, Ryan Mercieca, Yaron Sammut.
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Thiago, Stojanovic, Decesare, Bueno, Falzon, Lucas
BOV Player of the Match: Victor Bellia
At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Qormi scored three in the first seventeen minutes to beat Rabat Ajax 3-1 and move closer to safety.
It was a comfortable win for Karel Zeman’s side as apart from the three goals, they were denied by goalkeeper Pavle Velimirovic on various occasions apart from hitting the posts no less than five times.
Joao Gabriel da Silva and Raffaele Simone Quintieri were missing for Qormi while Dylan Falzon, Dani Pelaez, Joseph Caruana, Aidan Azzopardi, Ryan Micallef and Adam Smeir were absent for Rabat.
Qormi took the lead on the 5th minute when off a cross by Leighton Grech, a header by Jorge Pereira da Silva hit the woodwork but the same player placed the ball at the back of the net off the rebound.
On the 15th, Qormi doubled the score thanks to great shot by Triston Caruana from outside the area which gave goalkeeper Pavle Velimirovic no chance.
Two minutes later, Roderick Bajada concluded a good move by serving Jonathan Bondin who hit home from close range to make it 3-0.
Six minutes in the second half, Alfred Effiong could have added another but was unlucky to hit the foot of the post.
Rabat pulled one back on the 54th when Diego Carrillo concluded a solo effort with an angled shot which beat Matthew Farrugia.
Ten minutes from time, substitute Lucas Cantoro went close to increasing the lead for Qormi but hit the posts. Two minutes later, it was Leighton Grech who hit the upright. Finally two minutes from time, Lucas Cantoro hit the crossbar with a direct freekick.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Duncan Pisani, Giorgio Gianola, Owen Bugeja, Emerson Vella (46′ Lucas Cantoro), Triston Caruana, Jonathan Bondin, Roderick Bajada, Leighton Grech (90′ Mohammed Bance), Alfred Effiong (90′ Leonardo Gabrieli), Jorge Pereira da Silva.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Karl Sciortino, Dylan Pirotta, Paolo Dandolo.
Coach: Karel Zeman
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Ivan Carapic, Zachary Tanti, Sorin Oproiescu, Jonathan Bajada, Wayne Borg, Malcolm Licari, Chris Vella (46′ Patrick Borg), Diego Carrillo Pendas.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Stefan Cortis, Kurt Muscat, Etienne Scicluna, Jamie Muscat, Luke Cauchi.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 5′ Jorge Pereira da Silva, 15′ Triston Caruana, 17′ Jonathan Bondin, 54′ Diego Carrillo
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Pereira da Silva