Zebbug Rangers returned to winning ways as they defeated ten-man Sliema Wanderers 2-1 at the Hibernians Stadium. The Rangers are still anchored at the bottom of the table but move to just two points behind Pietà Hotspurs.
For Sliema, this was a highly disappointing result as they lost the chance join Balzan in fourth place.
Zebbug had four changes from the team which lost to Hibernians as Manuel Bartolo, Matthew Gauci, Paltemio Barbetti and Rashid Yussuff replaced Jeffrey Farrugia and the suspended Jacob Borg, Yessous Camilleri and Kurt Zammit. For Bartolo, Barbetti and Yussuff, this game marked their debut.
With Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Michael Mifsud ruled out injured, Stefano Bianciardi suspended, Luca Martinelli starting on the bench and Fabio Mangiacasale no longer with the club after being released, Beppe Muscat, Filippo Andrea Scozzese and Bocar Djumo were named in the starting line-up.
The Blues had the first attempt at goal with a shot from outside the area by Aidan Friggieri hitting the upright with the goalkeeper beaten on the 9th minute. Two minutes later, Rashid Yussuff received a pass by Muchardi and came face to face with Glen Zammit who blocked his attempt. Zebbug went close once again with a Thomas Paris effort, following a short clearance by Potezica on 31 minutes and two minutes later, Muchardi sent Britto through but Zammit neutralised the latter’s conclusion.
Zebbug managed to take the lead on 34 minutes when off an assist by Muchardi, Carlo Monti entered the penalty area and tried to round Filippo Andrea Scozzese who brought him down. Referee Fyodor Zammit ordered a penalty and sent off Scozzese with Carlo Monti converting from the penalty spot.
The Wanderers equalised one minute in the second half when Potezica sent Portuguese striker Bocar Djumo through and the latter hit low past Bartolo.
Djumo could have added another on 68 minutes but he concluded a fine solo effort with a weak shot which was easily saved by Manuel Bartolo.
Zebbug notched the winner ten minuets from time as a powerful shot by Carlo Monti was not held by Zammit and Maurcio Britto placed the ball at the back of the net.
ZEBBUG Manuel Bartolo, Lee Galea, Melvin Farrugia (63’ Miguel Ciantar), Thomas Paris, Matthew Gauci, Matthew Bartolo, Matias Mucchardi, Carlo Monti, Paltemio Barbetti, Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto, Rashid Yussuff.
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Jean Claude Camilleri, Shaun Borg, Matthew Camilleri, Lee James Agius, Miguel Ciantar.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Andrea Scozzese, Kassa Guy Gnabouyou (42’ Filippo Talato), John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Andrea Pisanu, Marko Potezica, Trevor Cilia (66’ Luca Martinelli) , Aidan Jake Friggieri (86’ Alex Muscat), Djumo Bucar, Beppe Muscat
Subs: Daniel Balzan, Alex Muscat, Luca Martinelli, Iousef Meli, Filippo Talato, Clive Psaila, Carl Cassar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Scerri, Bartolo, Galea, Gauci
Red Cards: 34′ Filippo Andrea Scozzese
Scorers: 35’ Carlo Monti pen (Z), 46’ Djumo Bocar (S), 80′ Mauricio Britto (Z)
BOV Player of the Match: Marko Potezica
At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Birkirkara registered a 2-1 win over Tarxien Rainbows despite playing for an hour in ten men.
A defeat which leaves the Rainbows third from bottom on sixteen points.
For Birkirkara, Eliandro replaced the injured Liliu while Gareth Sciberras was drafted in the starting line-up ahead of Edmond Agius. Manuel Xerri, Luke Zahra and the returning Carlos Menendez Hevia replaced Kane Farrugia, Nigel Vella and the suspended Alessandro Lopes.
Tarxien had the first attempt at goal on the 13th when a Carlos Menendez Hevia effort was partially saved by the goalkeeper with Matheus Bissi clearing off the goal line.
Birkirkara, however, managed to take the lead on 27 minutes when Rafael Ledesma managed to beat Sean Mintoff with a fine shot from the edge of the area after receiving the ball from a Paul Fenech corner.
Six minutes later, Matheus Bissi da Silva was sent off by referee Adrian Azzopardi for fouling Menendez Hevia as he was heading towards goal.
On the 61st, Ryan Sammut brought Eliandro down inside the area. Referee Adrian Azzopardi ordered a penalty but from the penalty spot, Rafael Ledesma’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by Sean Mintoff.
However Birkirkara managed to double the score on 71 minutes thanks to Haruna Shola Shodiya who concluded a solo effort with an angled shot from the right which beat the Tarxien custodian.
Nine minutes from time, Tarxien reduced the gap thanks to a diagonal shot from the left by Firas Aboulezz which beat goalkeeper Justin Haber.
B’KARA Justin Haber, Nikola Vukanac (46′ Alejandro Mendoza Corujo), Eliandro dos Santos Gonzaga (80′ Edward Herrera), Matheus Bissi da Silva, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (85′ Edmond Agius), Gareth Sciberras, Zach Muscat, Paul Fenech, Ryan Camenzuli, Ryan Scicluna.
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Kurt Zammit, Andrea Curmi, Leighton Grech.
Coach: Paul Zammit
TARXIEN Sean Mintoff, Manuel Caruana, Owen Bugeja, Triston Caruana, Firas Aboulezz, Ryan Sammut (74′ Nigel Vella II), Carlos Menendez Hevia, Luke Zahra, Alex Cini, Manuel Xerri (80′ Kane Farrugia), Matthew Tabone.
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Steve Sadowski, Nigel Vella, Silas Caruana, Matthew Cassar.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Sammy Attard
Additional Assistant Referees: Mario Apap, Glen Tonna
Fourth Official: William Debattista
Yellow Cards: Vukanac, Hevia, T. Caruana
Red Cards: 33′ Matheus Bissi
Scorers: 27′ Rafael Ledesma
BOV Player of the Match: Rafael Ledesma