Champions Hibernians dropped two important points in the race for the championship as they were held in a 1-1 draw by Pembroke Athleta at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday.
Hibs now lie three points behind leaders Valletta but the Citizens could move six points clear should they beat Mosta on Sunday. On the other hand, this draw puts Pembroke on the 17-point mark.
The Paolites lacked Jackson Lima and Jorge Santos Silva but Rui da Gracia Gomes was back after recovering from a long-term injury when he was included as a substitute.
Hibernians took the lead on the 9th minute when off a corner by Gilmar, Bjorn Kristensen headed home past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Pembroke levelled matters two minutes from the end of the first half thanks to Gustavo Villalobos who concluded a solo effort by slotting the ball past goalkeeper Justin Haber.
PEMBROKE Mario Muscat, Zoran Levnaic, Alex Cini, Owen Bugeja, Miguel Attard, Manolito Micallef (72′ Obinna Obiefule), Paltemio Barbetti, Siraj Arab Eddin (81′ Gustavo de Paulo da Nobrega), Ariel Laudisi (90′ Sunday Eboh), Gustavo Villalobos, Kyle O’Brien.
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Rennie Tanti, Tyrone Fenech, Terence Agius.
Coach: Winston Muscat
HIBS Justin Haber, Marcelo Dias, Andrei Agius, Jonathan Pearson (64′ Joseph Mbong), Clayton Faila, Rodolfo Soares, Bjorn Kristensen, Andrew Cohen, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Jorge da Silva Pereira, Jurgen Degabriele (82′ Rui da Gracia Gomes).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Daniel Buckle, Conner Zammit, Zack Scerri, David Xuereb.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Attard, Failla, Kristensen, O’Brien
Scorers: 9′ Bjorn Kristensen, 43′ Gustavo Villalobos
BOV Player of the Match: Mario Muscat
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows defeated St. Andrews 3-2.
Tarxien therefore registered a second consecutive win while for St. Andrews, this was a second consecutive defeat which leaves them joint-second from bottom.
Sergio Fernandez Prendes and Alex da Paixao Alves were both ruled injured through suspension for Tarxien. St. Andrews, on the other hand, lacked the injured Jonatan Perez Cuesta.
The Rainbows took the lead on the 16th minute when Carlos Menendez Hevia sent Luke Montebello through and the latter beat goalkeeper Jake Galea with a shot from inside the area.
Tarxien doubled the score on the 27th minute thanks to Triston Caruana whose long-distance shot stunned the St. Andrews goalkeeper.
St. Andrews pulled one back six minutes from half-time when off by a Joseph Farrugia corner from the left, Michael Johnson flicked the ball past goalkeeper Andre Cassar.
However Tarxien Rainbows regained a two-goal lead in added time as Pedrinho advanced on the left and into the area before serving Luke Montebello who hit home past Galea.
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Dale Camilleri (56′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Bong Won Che, Kyrian Nwoko (78′ Liam Grech), Lucky Victor Oseghale, Michel Salomon Wisdom Mba, Joseph Farrugia, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo, Michael Johnson, Eloy Edu Nkene.
Subs not used: Dorian Bugeja, Jacob Walker, Nicholas Bradshaw, Wade Moodley, Ryan Sammut.
Coach: Jose Borg
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Ebiabowei Baker, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Timothy Tabone Desira, Triston Caruana, Ayrton Azzopardi (56′ John Mintoff), Carlos Menendez Hevia (88′ Roderick Bajada), Luke Montebello, Daniel Zerafa, Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos, Claudio Frances (80′ Matthew Tabone).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Brandon Muscat, Alex Nilsson, Ryan Spiteri.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Nkene, Hevia, Cassar, Zerafa, Oseghale, Pedrinho, Bruno, M. Tabone
Scorers: 16′ Luke Montebello, 27′ Triston Caruana, 39′ Michael Johnson, 45+1′ Luke Montebello, 90+1′ Joseph Farrugia pen
BOV Player of the Match: Luke Montebello