Champions Hibernians were held in a second consecutive draw and the third draw in five matches as they shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Sliema Wanderers at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
The Paolites now join Floriana on the 19-point mark, two points behind Valletta and Birkirkara and one behind Balzan. However the Citizens have a game in hand. For Sliema, this result hardly makes any difference as they are still eighth.
Hibs had four changes as Rodolfo Soares, Joseph Mbong, Jurgen Degabriele and Denni Rocha dos Santos replaced Jonathan Pearson, Clayton Failla, Jorge Santos Silva and the suspended Marcelo Dias. Jorge Pereira da Silva was ruled out injured. Sliema coach Stephen Azzopardi, on the other hand, named Glenn Zammit and Kerlon in the starting line-up instead of goalkeeper Entonjo Elezaj and the suspended Alex Muscat. Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Michael Mifsud were both unavailable.
The Paolites took the lead on the 11th minute when off a corner from the right, Andrei Agius’ fine header gave goalkeeper Glenn Zammit no chance.
The Wanderers however levelled matters five minutes from the end of the first half when a Kerlon Moura Souza effort hit the upright and captain Mark Scerri placed the ball inside the empty net.
Sliema forged ahead two minutes in the second half when off an assist by Aidan Friggieri for Pedrinho, the latter served Rafael Ledesma who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jurgen Borg.
However Hibs equalised on the 78th thanks to Bjorn Kristensen who received an assist just outside the area and beat Glenn Zammit with a powerful shot ending in the bottom left corner.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Benjamin Essel, Mark Scerri (64′ Marko Potezica), Pedro Henrique dos Santos Calcado (87′ John Mintoff), Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma, Aidan Jake Friggieri (83′ Peter Xuereb), Johann Bezzina, Kerlon Moura Souza, Gary Muir, Stefano Bianciardi, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Justin Vella, Ryan Dalli, Axl Xuereb.
HIBS Jurgen Borg, Rui Da Gracia Gomes, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Rodolfo Soares (66′ Jorge Santos Silva), Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Jurgen Degabriele, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Andrei Agius, Joseph Mbong, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (76′ Clayton Failla).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Diosdado Mbele Mangue, Jonathan Pearson, Zach Muscat, Dunstan Vella.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: M. Scerri, Bianciardi, Jackson Lima
Scorers: 11′ Andrei Agius, 40′ Mark Scerri, 47′ Rafael Ledesma, 78′ Bjorn Kristensen
BOV Player of the Match: Kerlon Moura Souza