Naxxar Lions came back from two goals down to beat Sliema Wanderers by the odd goal in seven. A win which puts Jesmond Zerafa’s side much closer to securing their Premier League status as they now lie in seventh place on 22 points.
After taking the lead, Naxxar conceded three goals but a late rally enabled them to score three and turn defeat into victory.
Naxxar managed to take the lead on 23 minutes when off a Gilmar Ribeiro corner, Daren Falzon crossed the ball back to Andrew Scicluna who rose high to head the ball past Glen Zammit.
On the 33rd minute, Sliema were awarded a penalty after Ryan Gilmour Cassar brought Aidan Friggieri down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Andrea Pisanu converted.
Five minutes later, the Wanderers forged ahead when off a counter-attack, Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos served Pedro dos Santos Calcado whose powerful shot beat the Naxxar custodian.
Sliema increased the lead on 57 minutes when off a triangular pass between Alex Muscat, Pedrinho and Aidan Friggieri, the young Sliema striker beat the Naxxar goalkeeper with a curved shot.
However despite being two goals down, Naxxar did not give up and Emmanuel Ibok Edet hit the woodwork with a header off a corner by Gilmar.
One minute later, Naxxar reduced the gap as they were awarded a penalty after Jorge Santos Silva was brought down inside the area by Andrea Scozzese; from the penalty spot, Demba Toure converted.
The Lions equalised on the 63rd when Gilmar sent Jorge Santos Silva through and the latter managed to slide the ball from under the goalkeeper.
Six minutes from time, Naxxar notched the winner. Marko Potezica brought Terence Vella down inside the area and from the penalty spot, the same Terence Vella placed the ball at the back of the net.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Demba Toure (63’ Frank Temile), Daren Falzon (63’ Terence Vella), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Pablo Doffo, David Fenech (83’ Mattia del Negro), Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Victor Bellia, Duane Bonnici, Jurgen Debono.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Filippo Andrea Scozzese, John Mintoff, Andrea Pisanu (68’ Trevor Cilia), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos, Marko Potezica, Aidan Jake Friggieri, Pedro dos Santos Calcado (81’ Michael Mifsud), Beppe Muscat (90’ Junior Obagbemiro).
Subs not used: Sam Bartolo, Joseph Borg, Michele Sansone, Peter Xuereb.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Gatt Baldacchino, Buhagiar, Pedrinho, Scozzese, Doffo, A. Muscat
Scorers: 23′ Andrew Scicluna, 33′ Andrea Pisanu, 38′ Pedro dos Santos Calcado, 57′ Aidan Friggieri, 61′ Demba Toure, 63′ Jorge Santos Silva, 84′ Terence Vella
BOV Player of the Match: Aidan Friggieri
Meanwhile at the National Stadium, Qormi defeated Pietà Hotspurs 2-1 to push them into deeper relegation trouble.
Pietà held the initiative in the early stages but eventually Qormi had the first attempts at goal, taking the lead on the 20th minute thanks to Alex Nilsson who controlled a cross from the right and beat David Cassar with a good effort from the left.
The Hotspurs equalised two minutes in the second half when off a cross by Claudio Frances, Charles Newuche Nnaemeka slotted the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
However their joy was short-lived as less than a minute later, Qormi regained the lead thanks to Gustavo Villalobos who hit low past David Cassar when served by Alex Nilsson from the right.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Marcelo Roberto Lima de Mattos, Alfred Effiong, Clifford Gauci, Zoran Levnajic, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Billy Berntsson, Gustavo Villalobos, Leighton Grech (89′ Ryan Micallef), Alex Nilsson (72′ Alejandro Mendoza Corujo)(79′ Steve Agius).
Subs not used Jurgen Cilia, Bjorn Bondin, Karl Sciortino.
Coach: Mark Miller
PIETÀ David Cassar, Cain Attard (46′ Luke Micallef), Christian Grech, Leonardo Fortunato dos Santos, Jurgen Pisani, Orosco Anonam (45′ Karl Micallef), Joao Gabriel da Silva (61′ Rafael Rodrigues da Silva), Kyle Cesare, Charles Nnaemeka Newuche, Claudio Frances, Ricardo Costa.
Subs not used: Miguel Montfort, Neil Pace Cocks, Travis Bartolo, Ayrton Mizzi.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Anonam, Marcelinho, Newuche, Gabriel, C. Grech, Agius
Scorers: 20′ Alex Nilsson, 47′ Charles Newuche Nnaemeka, 48′ Gustavo Villalobos
BOV Player of the Match: Gustavo Villalobos