Vittoriosa Stars maintained alive hopes of avoiding relegation as they came from behind to beat Rabat Ajax 2-1 to move temporarily on level points with Floriana, one behind Tarxien Rainbows and two behind Naxxar Lions.
The Stars lacked the suspended Leonardo Torri and Jose Filipe Aguiar and the injured Gilbert Martin while Dylan Falzon, Dani Pelaez and Adam Smeir were ruled out injured for Rabat.
The Magpies managed to take the lead on the 7th minute when Ryan Micallef was brought down inside the area by Clive Brincat and the same Rabat striker made no mistake from the penalty spot.
On the half-hour, Clive Brincat was unlucky to hit the upright with a header off a freekick by Guerrero.
Two minutes later, Vittoriosa levelled matters thanks to an angled shot by Marcelo Pereira which was only partially deflected by Pavle Velimirovic.
The Stars forged ahead on 43 minutes when off a cross from the right, Marcelo Pereira rounded a defender before slotting the ball past the Rabat goalkeeper.
A cross shot by Jonathan Bajada from the left almost surprised Mario Muscat who turned the ball into a corner with particular difficulty.
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Zachary Tanti, Ivan Carapic, Joseph Caruana, Diego Carrillo Pendas, Sorin Virgil Oproiescu (78′ Patrick Borg), Ryan Micallef (52′ Aidan Azzopardi), Malcolm Licari (78′ Chris Vella), Jonathan Bajada.
Subs not used: Andrew Zammit, Patrick Borg, Stefan Cortis, Etienne Scicluna, Luke Cauchi.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
VITTORIOSA Mario Muscat, Clive Spiteri, Carl Sammut (66′ Luke Vella Critien), Samir Arab, Marcelo Pereira, Oscar Guerrero, Ousmane Sidibe, Siraj Arab Eddin (62′ Michael Camilleri), Francisco Arriagada Mella (83′ Mark Barbara), Clive Brincat, Malcolm Buttigieg.
Subs not used: Sean Cini, Ryan Mifsud, Sheldon Grech, Federico Santaguida.
Refeee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Brincat, Oproiescu, Arab Eddin, Carrillo, Licari
Scorers: 7′ Ryan Micallef pen (R); 32′ Marcelo Pereira (V); 43′ Marcelo Pereira (V)
BOV Player of the Match: Marcelo Pereira
Meanwhile Qormi notched the winner on the 90th in a clash with Naxxar Lions to move to just one point away from securing their Premier League status.
Qormi went close to taking the lead on the 10th minute thanks to a Jorge Pereira header off a cross from the left by Leighton Grech which hit the upright. Four minutes later, the Naxxar goalkeeper blocked a diagonal shot by Gabriel. Julian Azzopardi then came to the rescue blocking with his foot a Jorge Pereira low shot from inside the area and then blocking Triston Caruana’s volley off the rebound.
Qormi maintained the pressure in the second half while the resilient Naxxar side relied on swift counter-attacks. A Gilmar attempt from outside the area was neutralised by Matthew Farrugia on 64 minutes. Seven minutes later, Effiong released Leighton Grech inside the penalty area and the latter’s low shot ended inches wide past the upright.
Naxxar were reduced to ten men on 76 minutes after Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro received a second yellow card for simulation.
One minute from time, Lucas Cantoro hit the crossbar after Julian Azzopardi blocked a Jorge Pereira effort.
However Qormi notched the winner on the 90th when Leighton Grech served Alfred Effiong inside the penalty area and the Nigerian striker slotted the ball past the on rushing Naxxar goalkeeper to the joy of Qormi supporters.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Raimi Bakare, Victor Bellia, Angus Buhagiar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Andrew Decesare, Daren Falzon, Thiago Lopes de Souza, David Alejandro Reano, Terence Scerri (83’ Milan Vignjevic), Filip Stojanovic.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, John Debono, Jurgen Debono, Kurt Drago.
Coach: Winston Muscat
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Duncan Pisani, Owen Bugeja, Alfred Effiong, Triston Caruana, Giorgio Gianola (42’ Roderick Bajada), Jonathan Bondin, Emerson Vella, Leighton Grech, Jorge Pereira da Silva, Joao Gabriel da Silva (83’ Lucas Cantoro).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Dylan Pirotta, Roderick Sammut, Raffaele Simone Quinteri, Paolo Dandolo.
Coach: Karel Zeman
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Sammy Attard, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: R. Bakere, Gabriel, Gilmar, J. Bondin, J. Azzopardi, T. Caruana, L. Grech, A. Decesare
Red Cards: 76’ Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro
Scorers: 90′ Alfred Effiong
BOV Player of the Match: Joao Gabriel da Silva