Pembroke Athleta returned to winning ways as they came from behind to beat Naxxar Lions 5-1 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. A win which enables Winston Muscat’s side to move on the ten-point mark.
It was yet another disappointing result for the Lions who were reduced to ten men mid-way through the second half. They remain anchored at the bottom of the table without any points after seven matches.
Naxxar had two changes from the team which lost to Valletta as David Fenech and Sead Hadzibulic replaced Sidoine Oussou and Blazo Rajovic. For Pembroke, Matthew Farrugia replaced Mario Muscat in goal with Ariel Laudisi and Rennie Tanti replacing James Togbah and the injured Louis Cutajar.
Pembroke had the first attempts at goal but Naxxar managed to take the lead on 26 minutes when Sead Hadzibulic served Richard Carlos Cardozo who managed to slot the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
On the half-hour, Austin Martz was unlucky to hit the foot of the post with a shot from the right.
However two minutes from half-time, Pembroke were not to be denied when off an assist by Villalobos from the right, Kyle O’Brien slammed the ball home.
Three minutes in the second half, Pembroke took the lead when an Austin Martz effort was partially saved by the Naxxar goalkeeper but off the rebound, Leighton Grech placed the ball at the back of the net.
To make matters worse for Naxxar, on the 67th minute, Leighton Grech entered the penalty area and rounded the goalkeeper only to be floored by Angus Buhagiar; the Naxxar defender was snet off and Pembroke were awarded a penalty. From the penalty spot, Gustavo Villalobos converted to make it 3-1.
Gustavo Villalobos increased the lead further on the 76th after concluding a solo effort by pulling to the left and beating Pecorella with a good shot from a close angle.
Seven minutes from time, substitute Lyden Micallef added another when he rounded a defender and his low shot was deflected by a defender to beat goalkeeper Luke Pecorella.
NAXXAR Luke Pecorella, Andrew Scicluna, Luca Lodetti, Richard Carlos Cardozo, Daren Falzon, Sead Hadzibulic (53′ Duane Bonnici), Jurgen Debono (54′ Ishmael Grech), David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar, Emiliano Lattes, Armando Viera dos Santos (72′ Ryan Gilmour Cassar).
Subs not used: Julian Azzopardi, Zady Moise Gnenegbe, Arya Koorosh Haghighi, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Stefano Grima
PEMBROKE Matthew Farrugia, Zoran Levnajic, Alex Cini, Rennie Tanti, Owen Bugeja (73′ Lyden Micallef), Paltemio Barbetti, Kyle O’Brien, Ariel Laudisi, Gustavo Villalobos Carbajal (81′ Tyron Fenech), Austin Martz, Leighton Grech (68′ Siraj Arab Eddin).
Subs not used: Mario Muscat, Miguel Attard, Peter Paul Sammut, James Togbah.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Grech, Buhagiar
Red Cards: 67′ Angus Buhagiar
Scorers: 26′ Richard Carlos Cardozo, 43′ Kyle O’Brien, 48′ Leighton Grech, 68′ Gustavo Villalobos pen, 76′ Gustavo Villalobos, 83′ Lyden Micallef
BOV Player of the Match: Gustavo Villalobos
Valletta registered a 3-1 win over Tarxien Rainbows at the National Stadium.
The Citizens move temporarily on top but Hibernians and Balzan have a game in hand. For Tarxien, this was the second defeat in seven matches.
With Romeu Romao ruled out through suspension, Valletta coach Paul Zammit named Uchenna Calistus Umeh in the starting line-up. Tarxien, on the other hand, had Daniel Zerafa replacing Timothy Tabone Desira from the team which drew with Floriana.
Valletta took the lead on the 3rd minute when off a pass by Llywelyn Cremona, Abdelkarim Nafti’s powerful shot from inside the area gave goalkeeper Andrea Cassar no chance.
Ten minutes later, the Citizens doubled the score when off a cross by Roderick Briffa, Njongo Priso’s effort was deflected by Bruno Giglio de Oliviera past Cassar for an own goal.
Tarxien reduced the gap on 21 minutes when off a Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos corner from the left, Luke Montebello headed the ball back past goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Federico Falcone was unlucky to hit the upright with a shot from outside the area on 63 minutes and on the 77th, following a cross by Mifsud Triganza, Abdelkarim Nafti’s header hit the crossbar and the ball bounced on the goal line.
However three minutes from time, Valletta scored a third goal thanks to Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza whose powerful shot beat the helpless Cassar.
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Ebiabowei Baker, Manuel Caruana (85’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Triston Caruana, Lucky Omeruo, Carlos Hevia Menendez (66’ Danilo Meira Santos), Luke Montebello, Daniel Zerafa (72’ Brandon Muscat), Alex da Paixao Alves, Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Timothy Tabone Desira, Roderick Bajada, Matthew Tabone.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Camileri, Juan Gill Cruz, Roderick Briffa, Njongo Priso (75’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Federico Matias Falcone (83’ Albert Bruce), Llywelyn Cremona, Claudio Pani, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Abdelkarim Nafti (89’ Jurgen Suda).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Russel Fenech, Jean Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow cards: Umeh, Nafti, Hevia, Omeruo, Alves
Red Cards: 78’ Alex da Paixao Alves
Scorers: 3’ Abdelkarim Nafti, 13’ own goal Bruno Giglio de Oliviera, 21’ Luke Montebello, 87’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza
BOV Man of the Match: Llywelyn Cremona