A goal by Edward Herrera on 28 minutes enabled Birkirkara to return to winning ways after three consecutive 1-1 draws as they defeated Naxxar Lions 1-0. The Stripes close in on Hibernians, moving three points ahead of Valletta.
Naxxar, on the other hand, remain joint-second from bottom on eleven points. They played a good game and would have not stolen anything had they earned something from the game.
Nassir Maachi was named in the starting line-up for Birkirkara after a fine performance in the FA Trophy clash with Pietà with Matheus Bissi starting on the bench. Ibok Edet, Daren Falzon and Terence Vella replaced Victor Bellia and the suspended Frank Temile and David Fenech for Naxxar.
Naxxar had the first attempt at goal with Daren Falzon’s freekick from the right turned into a corner by Haber on the fourth minute. Birkirkara replied with a Paul Fenech effort ending just wide on the 16th and five minutes later, Maachi received a long pass and concluded with Julian Azzopardi neutralising his effort.
The Stripes took the lead on 28 minutes thanks to a cross shot by Edward Herrera from the right which surprised Azzopardi, aided by the wind.
Eight minutes from the end of the first half, there was a freekick by Gilmar followed by a short clearance by the Stripes’ defence and Jorge Santos Silva had a good shot saved in a corner by Haber.
B’KARA Justin Haber, Edward Herrera (84′ Matheus Bissi da Silva), Nikola Vukanac, Mauricio Matias Latini Mazzetti, Shola Haruna Shodiya, Nassir Ahmed Maachi (68′ Joseph Zerafa), Paul Fenech, Zach Muscat, Rowen Muscat, Ryan Camenzuli (77′ Kurt Zammit), Edmond Agius.
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Antoine Borg, Gareth Sciberras, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma.
Coach: Paul Zammit
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emanuel Ibok Edet, Terrence Vella, Mattia Del Negro, Daren Falzon, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Pablo Doffo, Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva, Albert Bruce.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Kurt Drago, Victor Bellia, Ayrton Azzopardi, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Jurgen Debono, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Esther Azzopardi, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Del Negro, Haber
Scorers: 28′ Edward Herrera