Sliema Wanderers and Valletta shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw, therefore putting leaders Hibernians just three points away from the title. In fact, a win over Floriana on Saturday would hand them the title.
The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the ninety minutes and all in all, a draw was a fair result. The Blues took the lead and although Valletta turned the score in their favour with two goals, Sliema regained the lead with another two goals although the Citizens then managed to level the score.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation as Ian Azzopardi, Luke Dimech, Hamza Barry and Djameel Leeflang were missing for Valletta while Stefano Bianciardi, Andrea Pisanu and Michael Mifsud were unavailable for Sliema.
Sliema took the lead after just sixteen seconds when Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos received a ball on the right and after controlling, he beat Pietro Marino with a low shot which ended in the bottom left corner.
However their joy was short-lived as Valletta equalised on the 5th minute when Ikenna Paul Hillary served Roderick Briffa on the right and off the latter’s cross, deflected by a defender, Abdelkarim Nafti intelligently lobbed the ball over Zammit.
Two minutes in added time, Valletta went 2-1 ahead when Nafti served Shaun Bajada and the Gozitan midfielder’s cross found Ryan Camilleri on the right with the latter’s cute lob beating the Sliema custodian.
The Wanderers equalised on the hour when off a Pedrinho freekick, Mateus Ribeiro headed the ball in the direction of Marko Potezica who hit past Marino from close range.
Sliema made it 3-2 four minutes later as Pedrinho exchanged the ball with Mateus Ribeiro before slotting past Marino from close range.
Valletta restored equilibrium on the 68th when Abdelkarim Nafti released Roderick Briffa on the left and the latter hit low past Zammit.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Andrea Scozzese, Mark Scerri (77′ Joseph Borg), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos, Marko Potezica, Trevor Cilia, Aidan Jake Friggieri (90+2′ Peter Xuereb), Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Djumo Bocar (86′ Filippo Talato).
Subs not used: Sam Bartolo, Luca Martinelli, John Mintoff, Beppe Muscat.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
VALLETTA Pietro Demetrio Marino, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Ryan Fenech, Roderick Briffa, Ikenna Paul Hillary (38′ Hamid Al Kamali), Lateef Elford Alliyu, Shaun Bajada (71′ Dario Tabone), Llywelyn Cremona (87′ Jurgen Suda), Abdelkarim Nafti.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Tristan Nappa Licari, Nicholas Pulis, Leon Camilleri.
Coach: Gilbert Agius
Referee: Vadims Direktorenko (LAT)
Assistant Referees: Jevgenijs Morozovs, Aleksejs Popovicenko (LAT)
Fourth Official: Mareks Kere (LAT)
Yellow Cards: Camilleri, Fenech, Bocar, Cilia
Scorers: 1′ Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos, 5′ Abdelkarim Nafti, 45+2′ Ryan Camilleri, 60′ Marko Potezica, 64′ Pedro dos Santos Calcado, 68′ Roderick Briffa
BOV Player of the Match: Abdelkarim Nafti