Birkirkara scored late in the game to complete another comeback and earn another three points in a 2-1 win over Sliema Wanderers. A win which enables them to keep the pace with the top three teams.
For the Wanderers, this was the second consecutive defeat and new coach Alfonso Greco therefore continues to chase his first win after two draws in the first two matches.
Both sides welcomed back a number of players as Gatt Baldacchino, Muir, Denni and Mandinho returned for Sliema while Cain Attard and Bilbao Zarate returned for Birkirkara. The Stripes however lacked Joseph Zerafa, Nikola Vukanac and Mauricio Mazzetti.
Sliema took the lead on the 25th minute when off a low cross by Marko Potezica, Njongo Priso tapped the ball home.
However two minutes later, Birkirkara equalised thanks to Frank Temile whose powerful shot saw goalkeeper Glenn Zammit touch the ball with his fingertips but could not stop from ending at the back of the net.
Sliema could have regained the lead three minutes in the second half but Jean Paul Farrugia was unlucky to hit the foot of the post.
Two minutes from time, Birkirkara notched the winner when Matija Smrekar’s direct freekick beat goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.
B’KARA Miroslav Kopric, Cain Attard, Ryan Scicluna, Christian Bubalovic, Goran Mujanovic, Gareth Sciberras, Edison Bilbao Zarate (77’ Edmond Agius), Ryan Camenzuli, Frank Temile (90+4’ Ryan Darmanin), Matija Smercek (90+1’ Matthew Guillaumier), L’Imam Seydi.
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Clint Zammit, Fabian Lufi, Zach Cassar
Coach: Drazen Besek
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Armando Dos Santos Tarlaziz (71’ Peter Xuereb), Njongo Priso, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Marko Potezica, Johann Bezzina, Denni Dos Santos Rocha, Gary Muir, Jean Paul Farrugia (82’ Aiden Jake Friggieri), Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Miguel Bonnici, Michele Sansone, Mark Scerri, Sebastian Perdomo Esquivel, Luke Dimech.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Thomas Debono
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Ryan Aquilina
Yellow Cards: Bezzina, Muir, Potezica
Scorers: 25’ Njongo Lobe Priso Doding, 27’ Frank Temile, 88’ Matija Smrekar
BOV Player of the Match: Njongo Lobe Priso Doding
Attendence at the Hibernians Stadium: 684
Renato Vella reporting from the Hibernians Stadium
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows found no difficulty in beating Qormi 6-1. For Qormi, this was the twelfth consecutive defeat.
The Rainbows lacked Alex da Paixao Alves, Sergio Fernandes Prendes and Alex Nilsson while Emerson Vella, Clifford Gauci and Yannick Yankam were missing for Qormi.
Tarxien took the lead on the 6th minute when Luke Montebello received a through pass on the right and advanced into the area before beating goalkeeper Andrea Vella with a rising shot.
Four minutes later, Montebello served Ayrton Azzopardi from the right with the latter tapping the ball home from close range.
Qormi reduced the gap on the 33rd minute when off a cross by Ryan Micallef from the left, Terence Vella slotted the ball past Sean Mintoff with a first-time effort.
However six minutes from the end of the first half, Tarxien made it 3-1 thanks to a header by Daniel Zerafa off an Ayrton Azzopardi corner.
Two minutes in the second half, Luke Montebello increased the lead as he lobbed the ball from the edge of the area.
Direct from a corner from the right, Claudio Frances managed to beat goalkeeper Andreas Vella to make it 5-1.
But it was not over yet as two minutes from time, Tarxien increased the lead further thanks to a header by Daniel Zerafa off a corner by Frances.
QORMI Andreas Vella, Ryan Micallef, Kyle Spiteri (80′ Shamison Zammit), Djamel Leeflang, Pietro Viggiani (46′ Clint Barbara), Ousmane Sidibe, Noah Olawole Ojuola, Alessio Cassar, Terence Vella, Kurt Magro, Tensior Gusman (80′ Juan Carlos Vieira Peixoto).
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Immy Micallef, Joshua Barbara, Luke Farrugia.
Coach: Johann Scicluna
TARXIEN Sean Mintoff, Ebiabowei Baker, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Triston Caruana (78′ Roderick Bajada), Brandon Muscat (64′ Matthew Tabone), Ayrton Azzopardi (75′ Ryan Spiteri), Luke Montebello, Daniel Zerafa, Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos, John Mintoff, Claudio Daniel Frances.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Manuel Caruana, Timothy Tabone Desira, Carlos Menendez Hevia.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Martin Borg
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 5′ Luke Montebello, 10′ Ayrton Azzopardi, 33′ Terence Vella, 39′ Daniel Zerafa, 47′ Luke Montebello
BOV Player of the Match: Luke Montebello
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 392