Sliema Wanderers suffered a fifth consecutive defeat as Naxxar Lions scored twice early in the second half to register a 2-1 win at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
The Wanderers fall into the ninth place and will start the second phase on 12 points, one behind Pembroke. Naxxar, on the other hand, start on the 7-point mark, two ahead of Qormi.
Naxxar had Italian goalkeeper Alberto Gallinetta making his debut while Angus Buhagiar returned after serving a one-match ban. However Ryan Grech was missing as he is serving a suspension. The Wanderers, on the other hand, welcomed back Stefano Bianciardi but lacked Luke Dimech.
The Lions took the lead seven minutes in the second half when off a Jurgen Debono corner, Demba Toure beat goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.
Four minutes later, Jurgen Debono won a loose ball and served Duane Bonnici on the left and the latter went past the goalkeeper before slotting the ball inside the net.
The Wanderers reduced the gap one minute from time when off a short clearance by the Naxxar defence, substitute Haruna Shola Shodiya hit low past the Naxxar goalkeeper.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Mark Scerri, Njongo Priso, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (57′ Haruna Shola Shodiya), Marko Potezica, Johann Bezzina (75′ Saviour Fidelis), Denni Rocha dos Santos, Gary Muir, Jean Paul Farrugia, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Justin Vella, Kurt Shaw, Peter Xuereb, Arsenne Rye Cilia.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
NAXXAR Alberto Gallinetta, Alvaro Hungria Rosero, Andrew Scicluna, Eduardo Vallecillo Casado, Demba Toure (90+2′ Joel Ellul), Duane Bonnici (88′ Mark Fenech), Jurgen Debono, David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar, Ennio Hamutenya, Nikola Tasic.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Gianluca Grima, Jose Angel Godar Pereira, Yaron Sammut, Adam Pace.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Christopher Francalanza
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Scerri, Bezzina, Denni, Scicluna
Scorers: 52′ Demba Toure, 56′ Duane Bonnici, 89′ Haruna Shola Shodiya
BOV Player of the Match: Jurgen Debono
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 408
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Valletta scored twice in the second half to beat Qormi 2-0 and make sure of starting the third round at least two points ahead of the team in second place, on 27 points.
Qormi, on the other hand, will start on the 5-point mark, two behind Naxxar and two ahead of St. Andrews as they suffered the seventh consecutive defeat.
Following a goalless first half, Valletta managed to break the deadlock seven minutets in the second half when off a Jhonnattann corner, Juan Cruz Gill’s header beat goalkeeper Jean Matthias Vella.
The Citizens doubled the score on the 69th minute when off a cross by Romeu Romao, Federico Falcone rose high to head home.
QORMI Jean Matthias Vella, Clifford Gauci, Ousmane Sidibe, Tensior Gusman (27’ Clint Barbara), Djamel Romano Leeflang Boestra, Yannick Yankam, Alessio Cassar, Immy Micallef (70’ Emerson Vella), Noah Olawale Ojuola, Terrance Vella (65’ Shamison Zammit), Kurt Magro.
Subs not used: Andreas Vella, Ryan Micallef, Joshua Barbara, Pietro Viggiani.
Coach: Johann Scicluna
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana (73’ Llywelyn Cremona), Ryan Camilleri, Juan Cruz Gill, Roderick Briffa, Michael Mifsud (73’ Jean Borg), Rafael Rodriguez Ledesma, Federico Matias Falcone, Claudio Pani, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (86’ Jurgen Suda), Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Rusell Fenech, Luis Vergara Rodrigues.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Martin Borg
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Esther Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Duncan Sultana
Yellow Cards: Pani, Camilleri
Scorers: 52′ Juan Cruz Gill, 69′ Federico Falcone
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattan Benites da Conceicao
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 831