A goal on the 90th minute by Nicolae Milinceanu enabled Sliema Wanderers to return to winning ways as they defeated Gzira United 2-1 at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday.
The Maroons therefore missed the opportunity to move three points clear of Valletta before the Citizens take on eternal rivals Floriana on Sunday. The Wanderers, on the other hand, join Floriana on the 23-point mark.
Ndubuisi Emmanuel Okoye put Gzira ahead on the 9th minute when off a cross by Andrew Cohen, his header hit the crossbar with the Nigerian forward taking the rebound and placing the ball at the back of the net.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, John Mintoff levelled matters with a long-distance cross-shot from the right which beat Curmi.
The Wanderers notched the winner on the 90th thanks to Nicolae Milinceanu whose fine shot gave the Gzira custodian no chance.
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SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Nikola Gavric, Matias Muchardi, Frank Temile (90+2′ Ryan Spiteri), Nicolae Milinceanu, Peter Xuereb, Michele Sansone (87′ Gabriel Aquilina), Edmond Agius (46′ Frenci Qeros), Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte, John Mintoff, Goran Adamovic.
Subs not used: Miguel Bonnici, Mark Scerri, Jonathan Pearson, Lee Pisani.
Coach: John Buttigieg
GZIRA Anthony Curmi, Gary Muir, Antonio Orlando de Queiroz Macedo Neto (90+1′ Luca Brincat), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Sacha Borg, Moises Avila Perez, Roderick Briffa, Andrew Cohen (89′ Zachary Scerri), Juan Carlos Corbalan (59′ Samba Tounkara), Ndubuisi Emmanuel Okoye, Amadou Samb.
Subs not used: Justin Haber, Souleymane Diamoutene, Nicky Muscat, Christian Sammut.
Coach: Daren Abdilla.
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Ryan Aquilina
Fourth Official: Jude Amin Utulu
Photos: Copyright © Jonathan Bugeja
Meanwhile at the Centenary Stadium, Hamrun Spartans found no difficulty in beating Lija Athletic 5-1.
The Spartans took the lead on the 7th minute thanks to Marco Criaco who tapped the ball home from close range when served by Arthur Faria Machado.
Eight minutes later, Hamrun doubled the score, courtesy of Luke Sciberras who received a cross from the left and hit hard past the Lija custodian.
Lija pulled one back on the 32nd minute thanks to Erjon Beu, served by Raphael Kooh Sohna from the right, who placed the ball in the bottom right corner.
However on the 37th minute, Hamrun were awarded a penalty after Predrag Babic handled the ball inside the area and from the penalty spot, Davide Succi made no mistake.
Hamrun increased the lead on the 70th minute thanks to Marco Criaco whose conclusion from the left beat the Lija goalkeeper.
Eight minutes later, it was the turn of Cristian Zaccardo to add another when he converted a penalty after a defender handled the ball inside the area.
LIJA Luke Bonnici, Predrag Babic, Patrick Borg, Daniel Scerri, Leon Muscat, Leejoe Schembri (86′ Nigel Spiteri), Raphael Kooh Sohna, Abubakar Bello Osagie Carl Cassar (81′ Aiden Galea), Erjon Beu, Djamel Leeflang (86′ Aaron Sammut).
Subs not used: Luke Attard, Ousmane Sidibe, Joaqin Lores Varela, McAllister Clinch.
Assistant Coach: Michael Mangion
HAMRUN Steve Sultana, Tiago Souza da Silveira, Daniel Zerafa, Marco Criaco (73′ Triston Caruana), Terence Agius, Cristian Zaccardo, Davide Succi, Thiago Espindola de Paula (84′ Agatino Sicali), Arthur Faria Machado (41′ Francisco Manoel Marino Clavero), Luke Sciberras, Lydon Micallef.
Subs not used: Lydon Moore, Karl Micallef, Julian Galea, Siraj Arab Eddin.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Eman Grech
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Dusan Petrovic
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Babic, Zaccardo, Micallef, Cassar, Bello Osagie
BOV Player of the match: Marco Criaco