Floriana returned to winning ways as they defeated Pembroke Athleta 4-2 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium to move on level points with Balzan although the latter have a game in hand.
Pembroke, who were coming from a narrow defeat to Valletta last week, failed to earn a positive result they were aiming for and therefore continue to share the fourth place from bottom together with Sliema Wanderers.
Floriana managed to break the deadlock in added time before the end of the first half when off a corner by Steve Pisani, Matteo Picciollo’s first-time effort gave goalkeeper Mario Muscat no chance.
Pembroke equalised five minutes in the second half when off an assist by Siraj Arab for Gustavo De Paulo, the latter served Gustavo Villalobos on the right who slotted the ball past Calleja Cremona from close range.
The Greens regained the lead on the 57th when off a cross by Steve Pisani, Emerson Marcelina headed home past Muscat.
Ten minutes from time, Floriana sealed the issue with a third goal when they were awarded a penalty after substitute Juninho Cabral was brought down inside the area by Patmore Shereni with the Brazilian midfielder making no mistake from the penalty spot.
Pembroke reduced the gap on the 86th when off a short freekick by Manolito Micallef, Gustavo Villalobos’ powerful drive beat the Floriana custodian.
But three minutes later, Juninho Cabral received a long through pass on the right and beat Mario Muscat with a diagonal shot.
FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Andre Scicluna, Antonio Monticelli, Enrico Pepe, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Mauricio Villa (73′ Juninho Cabral), Matteo Picciollo (84′ Daniel Agius), Manuel Briffa, Nicolas Chiesa, Emerson Marcelina.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Conor Borg, Jake Davies, Steve Bonnici, Firas Aboulezz,.
Coach: Luis Oliveira
PEMBROKE Mario Muscat, Zoran Levnaic, Patmore Shereni, Terence Agius (76′ Obinna Obiefule), Ariel Laudisi, Siraj Arab Eddin (66′ Manolito Micallef), Owen Bugeja, Gustavo Villalobos, Alex Cini, Gustavo de Paulo da Nobrega E Silva, Miguel Attard.
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Kyle O’Brien, Geoffrey Spiteri, Rennie Tanti, Tyrone Fenech.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Stefan Pace
Assistant Referees: David Castillo, Ryan Aquilina
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Pepe, Bugeja, Arab
Scorers: 45+1′ Matteo Picciollo, 50′ Gustavo Villalobos, 57′ Emerson Marcelina, 80′ Juninho Cabral pen, 86′ Gustavo Villalobos, 89′ Juninho Cabral
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Picciollo
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 458
Leaders Valletta keep marching on thanks to a 3-0 win over Mosta at the Hibernians Stadium to make sure of retaining the top spot.
Former Birkirkara and Sliema Wanderers midfielder Rafael Rodrigues Ledesma made his debut for Valletta. Mosta, on the other hand, lacked Dyson Falzon.
Valletta took the lead three minutes from the end of the first half through Federico Falcone.
The Citizens doubled the score three minutes in the second half thanks to Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao.
Eight minutes from time, Valletta added a third goal – a great goal by Llywelyn Cremona which gave Mosta goalkeeper Omar Borg no chance.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Cruz Gill, Roderick Briffa, Rafael Rodrigues Ledesma, Federico Matias Falcone (80′ Ian Azzopardi), Llywelyn Cremona, Uchenna Calistus Umeh (66′ Jean Borg), Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (88′ Russell Fenech), Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Luis Vergara Rodrigues, Jurgen Suda, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
MOSTA Omar Borg, Jonas Rodrigues Ekani Tyrone Farrugia, Fatai Alabi, Leonard Njousso (77′ Adrian Borg), Osa Guobadia, James Brincat, Kyle Frendo (82′ Zachary Brincat), Godwin Mensha, Onyekachi Donatus Okonkwo, Sibi Gwar (71′ Lyden Micallef).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Neil Frendo, Kurt Camilleri, Dexter Xuereb.
Coach: Anton Cremona
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: Z. Brincat
Scorers: 42′ Fedrico Falcone, 48′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, 83′ Llywelyn Cremona
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattann
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 608