Birkirkara beat Mosta, Balzan held by Pembroke

Birkirkara kept the pace with Floriana as they beat Mosta 3-0 to join the Greens in third place, two points behind joint-leaders Hibernians and Valletta who cross swords in the weekend’s big match on Sunday.

On the other hand, this defeat leaves the Blues in seventh place, three behind Tarxien and two behind Balzan.

Ini Etim once again started in goal for Birkirkara due to the absence of Justin Haber while Frank Temile was ruled out through suspension. Mosta lacked Omar Borg but Edin Murga was back after missing the last league game.

Birkirkara took the lead on the 6th minute when off a cross by Zach Muscat, Liliu served Edmond Agius whose effort beat goalkeeper Yenz Cini.

Mosta were reduced to ten men on the 67th minute after Onyekachi Donatus Okonkwo was sent off by the referee from Georgia.

Substitute Juan Quero Barraso doubled the score on the 84th minute thanks to a direct freekick which gave the Mosta goalkeeper no chance.

Mosta went close to reducing the gap on the 89th when Kyle Frendo sent James Brincat through but the latter’s shot hit the crossbar.

But one minute in added time, Birkirkara added another thanks to a powerful shot by Ryan Camenzuli.

MOSTA Yenz Cini, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Hassan Yau, Tyrone Farrugia, Manolito Micallef, Ian Zammit (70’ James Brincat), Edile Michelletti Awoh, Onyekachi Donatus Okonkwo, Osa Guobadia (88’ Kyle Frendo), Edin Murga, Gustavo De Paulo (83’ Adrian Borg).
Subs not used: Claudio Carabott, Zach Brincat, Mark Brincat, Dexter Xuereb.
Coach: Anton Cremona

B’KARA Ini Etim Akpan, Zach Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Mauricio Matias Latini Mazzetti, Joseph Zerafa, Rowen Muscat (73’ Ryan Scicluna), Edmond Agius, Marcelina Emerson, Ryan Camenzuli, Vito Plut, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais (78’ Juan Quero Barraso).
Subs not used: Philip Schranz, Edward Herrera, Cain Attard, Gareth Sciberras, Kurt Zammit.
Coach: Josef Mansueto

Referee: Lasha Silagava (GEO)
Assistant Referees: Zaza Pipia, Giorgi Egikashvili (GEO)
Fourth Official: Goga Kikacheishvili (GEO)
Yellow Cards: Micheletti, Mazzetti, Okonkwo, R. Muscat, Z. Muscat, Akpan
Red Cards: 67′ Onyekachi Okonkwo
BOV Player of the Match: Ryan Camenzuli
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 632

Renato Vella reporting from the Hibernians Stadium

Meanwhile Balzan continued to disappoint after being held in a goalless draw by Pembroke Athleta at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. Oliver Spiteri’s side have now won just two out of the last eight matches and are now sixth, one point behind Tarxien and five behind third-placed Birkirkara and Floriana. Pembroke, on the other hand, join Sliema Wanderers on the 18-point mark.

Pembroke lacked the injured Leighton Grech while Balzan were in full strength apart from Bojan Kaljevic and Alexander Vujacic.

On the hour, Pembroke were unlucky not to take the lead when Gustavo Villalobos’ angled shot, deflected by the goalkeeper, hit the upright, ending into a corner.

But on the 89th minute, it was Balzan’s turn to hit the woodwork with a powerful drive by Alfred Effiong following a deflection by the goalkeeper.

PEMBROKE Mario Muscat, Alex Cini, Rennie Tanti, Owen Bugeja, Paltemio Barbetti, Zoran Levnajic, Kyle O’Brien, Siraj Arab Eddin (72′ Austin Martz), Ariel Laudisi, Patmore Shereni, Gustavo Villalobos.
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Neil Grech, Miguel Attard, Tyrone Fenech, Peter Paul Sammut, Geoffrey Spiteri.
Coach: Winston Muscat

BALZAN Christian Cassar, Maxim Focsa (46′ Lydon Micallef), Justin Grioli, Godwin Mensha, Clive Brincat, Alfred Effiong, Luke Sciberras, Samir Arab, Dylan Grima (77′ Ryan Darmanin), Edison Bilbao Zarate (61′ Ryan Fenech), Elkin Serrano Valero.
Subs not used: Mikhail Sciberras, Terence Agius, Sean Cipriott, Steve Bezzina.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Additional Assistant Referees: Mario Apap, Etienne Mangion
Fourth Official: Jurgen Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Brincat, Arab Eddin, Levnajic, Sciberras
BOV Player of the Match: Edison Bilbao Zarate
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 374