Birkirkara suffered a second consecutive defeat and the fifth so far this season as they allowed newly-promoted Pietà Hotspurs to turn defeat into victory and beat them 4-3.
This win enables Pietà to close in on the teams lying just ahead of them in the BOV Premier League while for Birkirkara, this was yet another disappointing result as this could leave them thirteen points behind leaders and rivals Hibernians.
The Hotspurs managed to take the lead on the 7th minute when Kyle Cesare released Terence Agius from whose cross, Luke Micallef headed the ball home.
Birkirkara equalised on the 23rd when off a corner by Rafael Ledesma, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais headed the ball home.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, Birkirkara forged ahead when off another cross from the left, Liliu headed home
Four minutes into the second half, Justin Haber had to make a super save on a Luke Micallef effort and off the rebound, Kyle Cesare tried to round a defender but Haber snatched the ball.
The score was 2-2 on 53 minutes thanks to a long-distance shot from outside the area by Terence Agius which gave the Birkirkara goalkeeper no chance.
Three minutes later, Cain Attard floored Paul Fenech inside the area and from the penalty spot, Rafael Ledesma made no mistake to make it 3-2.
Pietà restored equilibrium on 77 minutes as they were awarded a penalty after Haber fouled Tasic inside the area. From the penalty spot, Jurgen Pisani converted.
Four minutes from time, Pietà notched the winner thanks to a great goal by Claudio Frances following a counter-attack led by Pisani.
PIETÀ Miguel Montford, Cain Attard, Leonardo Fortunato dos Santos, Christian Grech, Terence Agius (81’ Joao Gabriel da Silva), Nikola Tasic, Rafael Rodriguez da Silva, Kyle Cesare (90+1′ Dylan Agius), Luke Micallef, Rafael Xavier Zacarias (40′ Claudio Frances), Jurgen Pisani
Subs not used: David Cassar, Orosco Ndubisi Anonam, Cleaven Cassar, Malcolm Licari
Coach: Noel Coleiro
B’KARA Justin Haber, Mattheus Bissi da Silva, Shola Haruana Shodija (62’ Edmond Agius), Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma, Nikola Vukanac, Gareth Sciberras, Zach Muscat, Paul Fenech (85’ V’Yancheslav Shevchenko), Leighton Grech (81’ Edward Herrera), Ryan Camenzuli
Subs: Ini Etim Akpan, Antoine Borg, Beppe Jaccarini, Kurt Zammit
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Duncan Sultana
Additional Assistant Referes: Mario Apap, Glen Tonna
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow cards: T. Agius, C. Attard, Matteus Bissi, Gabriel
Scorers: 7’ Luke Micallef (P) 23’ 39’ Elinton Antonio Costa Morais (B); 39’ Elinton Antonio Costa Morais (B), 53’ Terrence Agius (P), 56’ Rafael Pompero Rodrigues Ledesma (B), 77’ Jurgen Pisani (B), 86’ Claudio Frances (P)
BOV Player of the Match: Elinton Antonio Costa Morais
Meanwhile Zebbug Rangers and Balzan earned a point each as the two teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Hibernians Stadium.
For Balzan, this was a rather disappointing result as they have now gone six matches without a win
Zebbug had three changes from the team which lost to Valletta as Lee Galea, Melvin Farrugia and Bojan Mamic replaced Clifford Gauci, the suspended Thomas Paris and Javi Diaz who returned to Spain. Balzan, on the other hand, welcomed back Ice-Cream Guobadia and Justin Grioli and these, along with Michael Borg, replaced Fredrick Odebe and the suspended Clive Brincat and Luke Sciberras.
Balzan had the first attempt at goal on the 3rd minute going close through Oscar Guerrero when served on the left by Lydon Micallef. On the 18th minute, Fabricio Rapchan performed a fine save at point blank on Gianmarco Piccioni following a cross from the left by Bezzina.
However it was Zebbug who managed to take the lead on the half-hour when off a cross by Matthew Gauci from the left, Bojan Mamic headed home past goalkeeper Steve Sultana.
One minute in the second half, goalkeeper Fabricio Rapchan came to the rescue for Zebbug saving in two attempts a close-range effort by Oscar Guerrero.
Balzan equalised on the 63rd minute when Elkin Serrano sent Edison Zarate through and the latter served Gianmarco Piccioni who slotted the ball past Fabricio Rapchan.
Zebbug replied with a good Mauricio Britto effort from the right which was neutralised by Steve Sultana on 75 minutes. Three minutes later, the Balzan goalkeeper managed to block a well-taken freekick by Piccioni. Substitute Miguel Ciantar then had a shot from inside the area turned into a corner by Sultana. Finally, in stoppage time, Zebbug could have notched the winner but substitute Ratko Mandic had three consecutive attempts from close range blocked by the Zebbug custodian.
ZEBBUG Fabricio Rapchan dos Santos Morales, Jacob Borg, Lee Galea, Yessous Camilleri, Matthew Gauci, Melvin Farrugia, Matias Muchardi, Carlo Monti, Bojan Mamic, Matthew Bartolo (90′ Ratko Mandic), Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto (76′ Miguel Ciantar).
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Jonathan Xerri, Lee James Agius, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, John Ogechukwu Nwoba.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
BALZAN Steve Sultana, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Steve Bezzina, Justin Grioli, Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Osa Ice-Cream Guobadia, Samir Arab, Michael Borg (46′ Dylan Grima)(86′ Godwin Mckay), Oscar Dario Guerrero Alvarado, Lydon Micallef (71′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Gianmarco Piccioni.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Gianfranco Micallef, Ryan Darmanin, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Iwan Griffith (WAL)
Assistant Referees: Ian Bird, John Bryant (WAL)
Foruth Official: Nick Pratt (WAL)
Yellow Cards: J. Borg, E. Zarate, Monti, S. Arab, M. Farrugia
BOV Player of the Match: Fabricio Rapchan