At the Hibernians Stadium, Birkirkara registered a comfortable 5-1 win over Mosta to re-join Valletta in second place. This was the third consecutive defeat for Mosta.
Birkirkara welcomed back Paul Fenech, Ryan Scicluna and Rafael Ledesma, replacing Alejandro Mendoza and Edward Herrera who started on the bench and Gareth Sciberras who was unavailable for selection.
Mosta had five changes from the team which lost to Balzan as Matteo Di Vita, Aaron Sammut, James Brincat, Sasa Jovanovic and Ryan Grech replaced Bojan Kaljevic, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Kurt Zammit, Pedrinho and Tyrone Farrugia. Pedrinho and Farrugia were ruled out through suspension while Kaljevic was transferred to Balzan.
The Stripes took the lead on the 15th when off an assist by Paul Fenech, Rafael Ledesma low shot from outside the area beat goalkeeper Omar Borg.
The Mosta goalkeeper performed a good save on Ledesma on the 23rd and a few minutes later, turned a Liliu effort into a corner.
Birkirkara doubled the score on 33 minutes when off a cross from the right, Shola Shola headed the ball past Omar Borg.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Nikola Vukanac sent Liliu through and the latter hit past the Mosta goalkeeper.
One minute later, Mosta pulled one back when Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos won possession in midfield, advanced and although Vukanac tried to clear the ball into safety, it reached Sasa Jovanovic who placed the ball at the back of the net.
Twelve minutes in the second half, a Mateus Ribeiro effort was blocked by Haber with James Brincat hitting home but the goal was disallowed for a dubious offside.
Birkirkara increased the lead on 77 minutes when Shola Shodiya exchanged the ball with Ledesma with the former hitting hard past Omar Borg from outside the area.
Five minutes later, the Stripes scored the fifth goal when off a short clearance by the Mosta defence, Paul Fenech received the ball and lobbed over the goalkeeper, catching him out of place.
MOSTA Omar Borg, Matteo Di Vita, Kurt Magro, Mark Brincat, Karl Pulo, Ryan Grech (90+2′ Dexter Xuereb), Nemanja Milovanovic, Aaron Sammut (83’ Dyson Falzon), Matteus Ribeiro dos Santos, James Brincat (71’ Zachary Brincat), Sasa Jovanovic.
Subs not used: Kyle Gera, Jake Vella.
Coach: Peter Smith
B’KARA Justin Haber, Nikola Vukanac, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais (60’ Kurt Zammit), Matheus Bissi da Silva, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (83’ Beppe Jaccarini), Paul Fenech, Zach Muscat, Edmond Agius (85’ Dylan Aquilina), Ryan Camenzuli, Ryan Scicluna
Subs: Ini Etim Akpan, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Russell Gatt De Rafaele, Edward Herrera.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Milovanovic, O. Borg
Scorers: 15’ Rafael Ledesma, 33’ Haruna Shola Shodiya, 40’ Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais, 42’ Sasa Jovanovic, 77’ Haruna Shola Shodiya, 82’ Paul Fenech
BOV Player of the Match: Rafael Ledesma
Meanwhile Sliema Wanderers returned to winning ways as they defeated Pietà Hotspurs 2-1 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium to move on the 22-point mark, leaving the Hotspurs second from bottom on fourteen points.
Pietà lacked the suspended Leo Fortunato and Gabriel while Terence Agius, Nikola Tasic and Rafael Xavier were no longer available after moving elsewhere. Dylon Agius and Karl Micallef replaed Fortunato and Gabriel in the starting line-up.
The Wanderers, on the other hand, welcomed back Trevor Cilia but still lacked the injured Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Michael Mifsud. In fact, Sliema had two changes from the team which lost to Valletta as Cilia and Fabio Mangiacasale replaced Clive Psaila and Andrea Scozzese.
Sliema had the first attempt at goal, trying their luck with a Fabio Mangiacasale effort from the left which was deflected into a corner. The Hostpurs replied with an Orosco Anonam header from close range which was turned into a corner by Zammit.
The Wanderers took the lead on 37 minutes as a direct freekick by Andrea Pisanu gave goalkeeper David Cassar no chance ending in the top right corner.
Five minutes later, Pietà equalised when off a Claudio Frances freekick from the right, Luke Micallef headed the ball home past Zammit.
Just before half-time, Sliema regained the lead when off a cross by Gnabouyou from the right, Aidan Friggieri anticipated the goalkeeper serving Trevor Cilia who hit home from close range.
Six minutes in the second half, Fabio Mangiacasale had a powerful shot from the right blocked into a corner by Cassar. On the other side of the pitch, a great freekick by Claudio Frances was parried by Zammit on 69 minutes.
In added time, the Hotspurs had the opportunity to equalise but Cain Attard, all alone on the right, hit high from an ideal position inside the area.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Luca Martinelli (62′ Beppe Muscat), Guy Kassa Gnabouyou (75′ Bocar Djumo), John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Andrea Pisanu, Marko Potezica, Trevor Cilia (86′ Iousef Meli), Aidan Jake Friggieri, Fabio Mangiacasale, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Alex Muscat, Clive Psaila, Carl Cassar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
PIETÀ David Cassar, Cain Attard, Christian Grech, Karl Micallef, Rafael Rodrigues da Silva, Orosco Anonam, Dylon Agius (89′ Ayrton Mizzi), Kyle Cesare (43′ Neil Pace Cocks), Luke Micallef, Claudio Frances, Jurgen Pisani (81′ Christian Stewart).
Subs not used: Miguel Montfort, Cleaven Cassar, Jurgen Ciantar, Christian Degabriele.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Esther Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Luke Portelli
Yellow Cards: Bianciardi, Attard, Zammit
Scorers: 37′ Andrea Pisanu, 42′ Luke Micallef, 45′ Trevor Cilia
BOV Player of the Match: Andrea Pisanu