Naxxar Lions secured their Premier League status as three first-half goals enabled them to beat Vittoriosa Stars 3-1 in a direct clash against relegation. Therefore Vittoriosa will be returning to Division 1 after just one year in the top division.
Knowing that only a win enabled them to avoid relegation, Naxxar showed greater determination, scoring twice in the first 24 minutes, adding another just before half-time.
Naxxar managed to take the lead on the 16th minute when a freekick by Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro was blocked, David Alejandro Reano took the rebound and concluded but his conclusion as deflected by Gilmar past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Vittoriosa replied with an Oscar Guerrero freekick which was parried by Julian Azzopardi.
However on 24 minutes, Naxxar doubled the score thanks to a Filip Stojanovic effort from outside the area which was surprisingly not held by Mario Muscat.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Naxxar scored the third goal with David Alejandro Reano hitting home from close range after we corner from the right by Gilmar was deflected by a defender.
The Naxxar goalkeeper performed a great save in Oscar Guerrero at point blank seven minutes in the second half with substitute Siraj Arab hitting wide off the rebound. Marcelo Pereira was then unlucky to hit the upright with a powerful shot from inside the area on 59 minutes
Vittoriosa pulled one back on 69 minutes thanks to Marcelo Pereira who received a cross from the right by Guerrero, controlled the ball before slotting past Azzopardi.
A freekick by Guerrero on 76 minutes was neutralised by the Naxxar goalkeeper.
In the remaining minute, Naxxar controlled their opponents well to take home the three points.
VITTORIOSA Mario Muscat, Clive Brincat, Ousmane Sidibe, Carl Sammut (46′ Siraj Arab Eddin), Jose Filipe Aguiar, Marcelo Pereira, Luke Vella Critien, Oscar Dario Guerrero Alvarado, Leonardo Torri (68′ Francisco Arriagada Mella), Samir Arab (68′ Mark Barbara), Clive Spiteri.
Subs not used: Sean Cini, Michael Camilleri, Ryan Mifsud, Mark Barbara, Malcolm Buttigieg.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Raimi Bakare, Victor Bellia, Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (90′ Milan Vignjevic), Daren Falzon, Thiago Lopes de Souza, David Alejandro Reano, Terence Scerri (82′ Duane Bonnici), Filip Stojanovic.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Jurgen Debono, Andrew Decesare, Kurt Drago, Yaron Sammut.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Duncan Sultana
Additional Assistant Referees: Clayton Pisani, Fyodor Zammit
Fourth Official: Albert Borg Cardona
Yellow Cards: Samir Arab, Scerri, Bellia, Brincat, Stojanovic, Aguiar, Gilmar, Vella Critien, Pereira
Scorers: 16′ Gilmar da SIlva Ribeiro, 24′ Filip Stojanovic, 43′ David Alejandro Reano; 69′ Marcelo Pereira
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro