Despite lacking a number of players due to injuries and suspensions, Tarxien Rainbows earned a point in a 1-1 draw with Floriana.
The Rainbows stay two points ahead of Naxxar Lions and three ahead of Pietà Hotspurs. Floriana, on the other hand, are now three points behind Balzan.
Tarxien lacked Sean Mintoff, Owen Bugeja, Firas Aboulezz and the suspended Triston Caruana, Matthew Tabone and Carlos Menendez Hevia. The Rainbows had three changes as Kane Farrugia, Ryan Sammut and new signing Jorge Yepes replaced Caruana, Aboulezz and Carlos Menendez Hevia.
Manolito Micallef, Conor Borg and the suspended Amadou Samb were missing for Floriana with new signing goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona starting in goal instead of Tyrone Gauci and Brooke Farrugia replacing Borg in the starting line-up.
The Greens managed to take the lead on the 31st minute when off a Steve Pisani corner, Matteo Piciollo headed home.
Five minutes in the second half, Tarxien equalised when off a cross by Jorge Yepes, Obinna Ajoku Darlington slotted the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona.
FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Douglas Felipe Moreira Cobo, Marcelina Emerson (60′ Sacha Borg), Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Vito Plut, Matteo Piciollo, Emanuel Briffa, Brooke Farrugia (68′ Giovanni Galea), Gary Muir, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Tyrone Gauci, Rodrigo Felix Aguiar, Neil Spiteri, Glen Tabone, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
TARXIEN Jonathan Debono, Kane Paul Farrugia (75′ Steve Sadowski), Manuel Caruana, Jorge Yepes Roda (90′ Luke Zahra), Eduardo Vallecillo Casado, Ryan Sammut, Jose Angel Godar Pereira, Ishamel Grech, Alex Cini, Obinna Ajoku Darlington (92′ Mikhail Schembri), Manuel Bonaque Acevedo.
Subs not used: Antonio Chectuti, Mikhail Sciberras, Silas Caruana, Christian Galdes.
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Grech, Sammut, Yepes, Pisani, S. Borg
Scorers: 31′ Matteo Piciollo, 50′ Obinna Ajoku Darlington
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Pietà Hotspurs and Naxxar Lions shared the spoils in another 1-1 draw.
Pietà had only one change from the team which lost to Zebbug as Christian Grech replaced Dylon Agius. The returning Pablo Doffo and Jorge Santos Silva were awarded a place in the starting line-up for Naxxar with Victor Bellia and Terence Vella starting on the bench.
Pietà managed to take the lead on the 18th minute when off an assist by Orosco Anonam for Claudio Frances, the Argentine striker beat Azzopardi with a fine shot from outside the area.
Naxxar equalised eight minutes from the end of the first half when Angus Buhagiar beat two Pietà defenders, beating Miguel Monfort with a low shot.
PIETÀ Miguel Montfort, Karl Micallef, Christian Grech, Leonardo Fortunato dos Santos, Jurgen Pisani, Joao Gabriel da Silva, Luke Emmanuel Micallef (78’ Dylon Agius), Orosco Ndubisi Anonam (28’ Kyle Cesare), Charles Nnaemeka Newuche, Claudio Frances (75’ Ricardo Costa), Rafael Rodrigues da Silva.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Ayrton Mizzi, Christian Stewart, Neil Pace Cocks.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Mattia Del Negro, Demba Toure, Daren Falzon (46’ Terrence Vella)(89’ Duane Bonnici), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Pablo Doffo, David Fenech (68’ Victor Bellia), Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Yaron Sammut, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Jurgen Debono.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow cards: Anonam, Edet, L. Micallef, Buhagiar, Vella, Bellia
Scorers: 18’ Claudio Frances (P), 37’ Angus Buhagiar (N)
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro