Tarxien Rainbows collected three precious points as they defeated Sliema Wanderers 1-0 at the Hibernians Stadium on Sunday to register a second consecutive win and move seventh, one point ahead of St. Andrews and Hamrun Spartans.
For the Wanderers, this was a most disappointing result following the draw with St. Andrews in their last league outing as a win would have enabled them to keep the pace with the top five teams.
Tarxien had three changes from the team which defeated Hamrun in their last outing as Daniel Zerafa, Sergio Fernandez Prendes and Claudio Frances replaced Sacha Borg, Marcelina Emerson and Julian Galea. Sliema, on the other hand, had Glenn Zammit starting in goal after Giuseppe Sarao started the game against St. Andrews. Gabriel Aquilina, Mandinho and Jean Paul Farrugia replaced Michele Sansone and the suspended Alex Muscat and Peter Xuereb.
The Rainbows managed to score the all-important goal on the 63rd minute when off an assist by Ayrton Azzopardi, Alex da Paixao Alves’s diagonal shot from the right gave goalkeeper Glenn Zammit no chance.
TARXIEN Philip Schranz, Ebiabowei Baker, Triston Caruana, Daniel Ponce de Leon Garcia (66′ Sacha Borg), Alex Nilsson (85′ Andrew Agius), Sergio Fernandez Prendes, Daniel Zerafa, Alex de Paixao Alves, Matthew Tabone, Kurt Zammit, Claudio Daniel Frances (46′ Ayrton Azzopardi).
Subs not used: Antonio Chetcuti, Luke Zahra, Julian Galea, Dylan Micallef.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Gabriel Aquilina, Gary Muir, Stefano Bianciardi, Roger de Souza Villas Boas (81′ Marko Potezica), Wisdom, Denni Rocha dos Santos, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Armando Vieira dos Santos Tarlazis (61′ Ryan Spiteri), Jean Paul Farrugia.
Subs not used: Miguel Bonnici, Kurt Shaw, Beppe Muscat, Andrea Martinelli.
Coach: John Buttigieg
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistnat Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Eman Grech
Yellow Cards: Frances, Baker, Azzopardi, Mintoff
Scorers: 63′ Alex da Paixao Alves
BOV Player of the Match: Ayrton Azzopardi
Meanwhile at the National Stadium, two early goals were enough for Birkirkara to beat bottom-placed Pembroke Athleta.
This was the second successive win for the Stripes while Pembroke have now gone six matches without a win.
Goalkeeper Henry Bonello was making his debut for Birkirkara following his transfer from Valletta. Another change was the inclusion of Edward Herrera as he replaced Frank Temile. Pembroke, on the other hand, had three changes as Owen Bugeja, Sunday Eboh and new signing Arber Dhrami replaced the suspended Andrea Scozzese, Asani Djeljilj and Ugochukwu Akuta.
Birkirkara took the lead on the 7th minute when off a cross from the right by Gareth Sciberras, Srdjan Dimitrov beat Calleja Cremona with a diving header.
The Stripes doubled the score on the 18th minute thanks to Edward Herrera who slotted the ball past the Pembroke custodian with a shot from the right following a cross from the right.
B’KARA Henry Bonello, Gareh Sciberras, Mislav Andelkovic, Srdjan Dimitrov, Gonzalo Malan (79′ Matthew Guillaumier), Vito Plut, Nikola Vukanac, Edward Herrera (70′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Joseph Zerafa, Cain Attard, Predrag Jovic (54′ Steve Bonnici).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Zachary Cassar, Edmond Agius, Ryan Scicluna.
Coach: Nikola Jaros
PEMBROKE Matthew Calleja Cremona, Arber Dhrami, Sunday Eboh, Paltemio Barbetti, Zoran Levnaic, Owen Bugeja, Miguel Attard (79′ Zachary Grech), Siraj Arab Eddin (60′ Daren Falzon), Haruna Shola Shodiya, Borche Manevski (60′ Jhonathan Bernardo Mariano), Adrian Borg.
Subs not used: Albert Galea, Tyron Fenech, James Mifsud, Oleksandr Maksymov.
Coach: Artim Shaqiri
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Chris Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Dimitrov, Attard, Barbetti