Tarxien Rainbows collected the three points as two goals in the final seventeen minutes enabled them to beat ten-man Sliema Wanderers 2-0 at the Hibernians Stadium.
The dismissal of goalkeeper Glenn Zammit and a penalty by substitute Ayrton Azzopardi broke the deadlock before Carlos Menendez Hevia doubled the score to secure victory.
The Wanderers had new signings Luke Dimech, Kyle Hendry and Gary Muir, making their debut while young Michele Sansone was included in the starting line-up. Tarxien, now led by Jacques Scerri, had goalkeeper Andrea Cassar, Timothy Tabone Desira, Daniel Zerafa and Brazilians Danilo Meira Santos, Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos and Alex da Paixao Alves all making their first appearance in the Rainbows’ shirt.
Tarxien managed to take the lead on the 73rd when goalkeeper Glenn Zammit fouled Carlos Menendez Hevia inside the area. Referee Philip Farrugia ordered a penalty and sent off the Sliema goalkeeper. From the penalty spot, substitute Ayrton Azzopardi beat Sliema substitute goalkeeper Entonio Elezaj.
Six minutes from time, the Rainbows secured victory when off a cross by Ayrton Azzopardi, Carlos Menendez Hevia headed home past the Albanian goalkeeper.
SLIEMA Glen Zammit, Alex Muscat, Clifford Gatt Baldachino, Ryan Dalli, Marko Potezica, Michele Sansone, Peter Xuereb (74′ Entonio Elizaj gk), Kyle Hendry (74’ Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma), Gary Muir, Stefano Bianciardi, Luke Dimech.
Subs: Justin Vella, John Mintoff, Carl Cassar, Mark Anthony Scicluna, Kurt Shaw.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Manuel Caruana, Bruno Giglio de Oliviera, Timothy Tabone Desira, Triston Caruana (88’ Roderick Bajada), Danilo Meira Santos (64’ Joao Pedro Oliviera Santos), Carlos Menendez Hevia, Daniel Zerafa, Alex da Paixao Alves (29’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Matthew Tabone.
Subs: Sean Mintoff, Brandon Muscat, Roderick Bajada, Nigel Vella, Darren Sciberras, Anderson Raimundo da Silva.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri David Castillo
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow cards: Muscat, Xuereb, Hevia
Red Cards: 73′ Glenn Zammit
Scorers: 74’ Ayrton Azzopardi, 84’ Carlos Menendez Hevia
BOV Man of the Match: Carlos Hevia Mendez
Attendence at the Hibernians Stadium: 881
Two penalties by Njongo Priso paved the way for a 3-0 win for Valletta over St. Andrews at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
Valletta had Henry Bonello, Romeu Romao and Njongo Priso making their debut for Valletta. St. Andrews, under the guidance of new coach Wayne Attard had no less than seven players making their debut, namely Dale Camilleri, Nick Ghio, Jordan Williams and Italians Diego Rossetto, Nicola Andreis, Luca Cosmai and Chris De Nguidjol.
The Citizens managed to take the lead in added time when they were awarded a penalty after Jhonnattann was brought down inside the area; from the penalty spot, Njongo Priso’s powerful shot gave goalkeeper Diego Rossetto no chance.
Early in the second half, Mifsud Triganza went close twice with efforts from close range. On 62 minutes, Mifsud Triganza sent Priso through but the latter’s conclusion hit the upright.
Four minutes later, Valletta were awarded a second penalty after Roderick Briffa was floored by Williams. From the penalty spot, Njongo Priso made no mistake to double the score.
The Citizens secured the three points with another goal on the 90th when off a cross from the right, Abdelkarim Nafti headed the ball into the direction of Federico Falcone who headed the ball home from close range.
ST. ANDREWS Diego Rossetto, Nick Ghio, Jordan Williams, Dale Camilleri, Marigen Sehitaj, Nicola Andreis, Nicky Vella Petroni (65′ Wade Moodley), Matthew Guillaumier, Luca Cosmai (77′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Joseph Farrugia, Chris De Nguidjol (72′ Jacob Walker).
Subs not used: Kris Calleja, Clyde Cumbo, Michael Johnson, Wade Moodley, Luke Busuttil.
Coach: Wayne Attard
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Roderick Briffa, Jonathan Caruana, Claudio Pani, Juan Cruz Gill, Ian Azzopardi, Romeu Romao, Njongo Priso (74′ Federico Falcone), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (64′ Abdelkarim Nafti), Llywelyn Cremona, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (80′ Shaun Bajada).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Ryan Camilleri, Luke Montebello.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Martin Borg
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Adrian Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Mitchell Scerri
Yellow Cards: Cremona, Azzopardi, Vella Petroni
Scorers: 45+1′ Njongo Priso pen, 68′ Njongo Priso pen, 90′ Federico Falcone
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 1,057