Naxxar Lions collected three precious points in the battle against relegation as they defeated bottom-placed Lija Athletic 4-0 at the Centenary Stadium on Saturday.
Oliver Spiteri’s side therefore returned to winning ways after two draws and two defeats in the previous four matches. They are now fourth from bottom on 14 points. Lija, on the other hand, remain anchored at the bottom of the table with just five points as they suffered a sixth consecutive defeat. The inclusion of two new foreigners – Daniel Vukomanovic and Valifor Hysa – did not leave the desired effect.
Naxxar took the lead on the 12th minute when Daniel Mateo Bustos managed to beat goalkeeper Luke Bonnici with a fine shot from outside the area.
The Lions doubled the score on the 29th minute thanks to Jean Diego Moser who beat the Lija custodian from close range after a cross shot from the right was partially lfollowing a cross from the right by Bustos.
Lija were reduced to ten men on the 60th minute after picking a second yellow cards, just six minutes after being cautioned by referee Alan Mario Sant.
Naxxar scored a third goal on the 71st minute when Duane Bonnici concluded a good run on the left flank with an assist for Daren Falzon who tapped the ball home from close range.
Yuri de Jesus Messias made it 4-0 five minutes later, hit home from close following an assist by Daren Falzon from the right.
NAXXAR Christoph Nicht, Rafael Santos Henrique Caetano, Mailson Souza Duarte Junior, Jean Diego Moser (75′ Jurgen Debono), Ryan Grech (78′ Ryan Gilmour Cassar), Manolito Micallef (82′ Joel Ellul), Daren Falzon, Duane Bonnici, Daniel Mateo Bustos, Oussenyou Elhadji Ndoye, Yuri de Jesus Messias.
Subs not used:
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
LIJA Luke Bonnici, Daniel Vukomanovic, Leon Muscat, Daniel Scerri, Aaron Sammut, McAllister Clinch (80′ Carl Cassar), Raphael Kooh Sohna, Valifor Hysa (77′ Ryan Sammut), Kei Hirose, Erjon Beu, Leejoe Schembri.
Subs not used: Jonathan Martinelli, Claudio Gerardo Celis, Dylan Agius, Nigel Spiteri, Ousmane Sidibe.
Coach: Joseph Galea
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Muscat, Schembri, Beu
Red Cards: 60′ Leejoe Schembri
BOV Player of the Match: Daniel Mateo Bustos
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, a goal one minute from the end of the first half by Davide Mansi gave Mosta a narrow win over Tarxien Rainbows.
A win which puts Mosta in ninth place on the 21 point mark, condemning the Rainbows to a fourth consecutive defeat and a ninth defeat in ten matches.
Mosta scored the all-important goal on the 44th minute when off a cross by Thomas Veronese, Davide Mansi rose high to head home over goalkeeper Andrea Cassar.
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Ebiabowei Baker, Andrew Agius, Luke Grech, Stefano Radovanovic, Matthew Spiteri (68′ Sean Cipriott), James Brincat (76′ Matthew Brincat), Matteo Desira Buttigieg (65′ Wellington de Oliveira Viera), Matar Dieye, Samba Tounkara.
Subs not used: Antonio Chetcuti, Arsene Rye Cilia Mumford, Godwin Mckay, Seyown Zammit.
Coach: Jose Borg
MOSTA Andreas Vella, Davide Mansi, Ivan Maric, Tyrone Farrugia, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, Thomas Veronese, Kurt Magro (83′ Neil Frendo), Jan Tanti (69′ Kyle Frendo), Wendel Alex dos Santos (89′ Liam Portelli), Leonardo Henrique Ferreira, Massimo Sammartino.
Subs not used: Andy Attard, Jeanpaul Formosa, Calvin Camilleri, Darryl Micallef.
Coach: Johann Scicluna
Referee: Darryl Agius
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Mansi, Radovanovic, Vella
BOV Player of the Match: Thomas Veronese