Naxxar Lions found no difficulty in beating Zebbug Rangers 4-0 despite playing for an hour in ten men. This win puts Jesmond Zerafa’s side back on track after they lost four of the previous six matches. Naxxar will start the third round on 11 points.
Zebbug were just a shadow of the team which had defeated Pietà and Qormi in their last two outings. They will be starting the third round on the 9-point mark.
With Carlo Monti still ruled out injured, Alfonso Greco made no changes to the Zebbug line-up. On the other hand, Victor Bellia and new recruit Frank Temile replaced Daren Falzon and the suspended Ibok Edet in the starting line-up for Naxxar.
Naxxar had an excellent start as they were awarded a penalty after just 40 seconds when Muchardi brought Temile down inside the area. From the penalty spot, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro converted to put the Lions ahead.
Zebbug replied with a cross by Matthew Bartolo from which Mathias Muchardi hit the upright on the 7th minute. Twenty minutes later, Mauricio Britto’s acrobatic shot ended just wide off an inviting cross by Barbetti. On the other side of the pitch, Temile had a conclusion from inside the area ending just over the bar.
Naxxar doubled the score on 34 minutes when Frank Temile sent Jorge Santos Silva thorough and the latter controlled before placing the ball well past goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.
Frank Temile was sent off immediately afterwards after receiving a second yellow card for making gestures towards the Zebbug supporters.
A Mathias Muchardi effort three minutes in the second half was tipped into a corner by Julian Azzopardi.
Five minutes later, Jorge Santos Silva, served by Victor Bellia, advanced on the right before beating the Zebbug goalkeeper with another well-placed shot.
Naxxar scored the fourth goal when Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro concluded a good run on the left before slotting the ball past Bartolo from the edge of the area.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi (81′ Luke Pecorella), Andrew Scicluna, Frank Temile, Victor Bellia, Mattia Del Negro, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (78′ Terence Vella), Pablo Doffo, David Fenech (74′ Daren Falzon), Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva, Albert Bruce.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Demba Toure, Duane Bonnici, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Jurgen Debono.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
ZEBBUG Manuel Bartolo, Yessous Camilleri, Lee Galea, Paltemio Barbetti, Jacob Borg, Matthew Bartolo, Mathias Muchardi, Kurt Zammit (59′ Miguel Ciantar), Rashid Yussuff, Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto, Luke Montebello (76′ David Alejandro Reano).
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Matthew Gauci, Melvin Farrugia, Shaun Borg, Thomas Paris.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Temile, Zammit, Fenech, E. Bartolo, Galea
Red Cards: 35′ Frank Temile
Scorers: 2′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro pen; 34′ Jorge Santos Silva, 53′ Jorge Santos Silva, 65′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Santos Silva
Sliema Wanderers returned to winning ways as they came from behind to beat Mosta 2-1. A win which puts the Wanderers in sixth place, just ahead of Mosta. Sliema will start the third round on 14 points, one ahead of Mosta.
The Wanderers had three changes from the team which drew with Birkirkara as Andrea Pisanu and the returning duo Pedro Calcado and Mark Scerri replaced Joseph Borg, Filippo Talato and the injured Stefano Bianciardi. Also missing for Sliema were Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Michael Mifsud. Mosta, on the other hand, had Adrian Borg replacing Tyrone Farrugia who started on the bench. Dyson Falzon was ruled out injured.
The first half lacked goal-mouth action with Scozzese having a long-distance shot neutralised by Omar Borg early in the game and a Trevor Cilia effort turned into a corner on the 36th minute.
Mosta took the lead on the 57th when Jonas Rodriguez Ekani sent Haruna Babangida through and the latter beat Glenn Zammit with a low shot.
Sliema levelled matter on the 71st when off a Pedrinho corner, Aidan Friggieri’s half-volley beat Omar Borg.
Seven minutes from time, Sliema notched the winner when substitute Junior Obagbemiro, who was making his debut, managed to slot the ball past the Mosta custodian.
Two minutes in added time, the Wanderers could have added another when Bocar Djumo concluded a solo effort by dribbling the goalkeeper but his angled shot travelled all along the goal line before being cleared into safety.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Filippo Andrea Scozzese, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri (58’ Joseph Borg), Andrea Pisanu, Marko Potezica, Trevor Cilia (71’ Aidan Jake Friggieri), Pedro dos Santos Calcado, (78’ Junior Obagbemiro), Bocar Djumo, Beppe Muscat.
Subs not used: Sam Bartolo, Luca Martinelli, Clive Psaila, Peter Xuereb.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
MOSTA Omar Borg, Karl Pulo, Adrian Borg, Yannick Ossoko, Kurt Magro, Gary Roberts, Ian Zammit (88’ James Brincat), Ryan Grech, Jonas Rodrigues Ekani, Mickael Nicoise Dawood, Haruna Babangida (77’ Udo Fortune).
Subs not used: Luke Chircop, Tyrone Farrugia, Mark Brincat, Kyle Frendo, Zak Brincat.
Coach: Peter Smith
Referee: Tristan Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Pedrinho, Roberts, A. Borg, Grech, Mintoff
Scorers: 57’ Haruna Babangida, 71’ Aidan Friggieri, 83’ Junior Obagbemiro
BOV Player of the Match: Pedro Dos Santos Calcado