Tarxien Rainbows earned a precious point in the battle against relegation as they held Sliema Wanderers in a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium on Saturday.
A point which enables Jose Borg’s side to join once again Naxxar Lions in second place from bottom, just one point behind St. Andrews. For Sliema, this draw leaves them in an even more comfortable mid-table position.
The Wanderers took the lead on the 26th minute when Frank Temile served Nicolae Milinceanu on the right and the latter rounded the goalkeeper before placing the ball at the back of the net.
The Rainbows levelled matters three minutes later thanks to Gabriel Aquilina, who is on loan from Sliema, when his attempt was partially saved by Antonio Cotticelli and off the rebound, the same player hit home.
Tarxien could have forged ahead on the 32nd minute when they were awarded a penalty after John Mintoff handled the ball inside the areabut Ricardo Silva Faria’s effort was turned into a corner by Cotticelli.
In the second half, the Wanderers could have notched the winner but Ricardo Correa hit the upright and Kurt Shaw hit the crossbar.
SLIEMA Antonio Cotticelli, Kilian Amehi (80′ Ryan Spiteri), Matias Muchardi, Frank Temile, Nicolae Milinceanu, Edmond Agius (80′ Michele Sansone), Jonathan Pearson, Peter Xuereb (60′ Frenci Qeros), Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte, John Mintoff, Kurt Shaw.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Ganni Brincat, Luke Borg, Lee Pisani.
Coach: John Buttigieg
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Stefan Radovanovic, Ebiabowei Baker, Gabriel Aquilina, Andrew Agius (88′ Matthew Spiteri), Luke Grech, Andre Scicluna, Samba Tounkara, Wellington de Oliveira Viera (82′ Matar Dieye), Eduard Calin, Ricardo Silva Faria.
Subs not used: Antonio Chetcuti, Godwin McKay, James Brincat, Arsene Cilia Mumford, Matteo Desira Buttigieg.
Coach: Jose Borg
Referee: Ishmael Barbara
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Theodore Zammit
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Correa, Grech, Scicluna, Calin
BOV Player of the Match: Antonio Cotticelli
Attendance at the National Stadium: 375
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Gzira United and Floriana shared the spoils in a goalless draw. A draw which satisfied neither side as both were hoping to claim the three points in their bid to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer.
The Maroons are now third on 38 points, one ahead of Birkirkara and two ahead of Hibernians but the Stripes have a game in hand. Floriana, on the other hand, remain sixth, two points behind Hibernians.
Goal-mouth action was quite rare with the best scoring opportunity occurring on the 38th minute when Andrew Cohen’s freekick was turned into a corner by Akpan.
GZIRA Justin Haber, Roderick Briffa, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Destin Prince-Loic Mambouana, Kris Thackray, Moises Avila Perez (72′ Haruna Garba), Edison David Bilbao Zarate (66′ Nikolai Muscat), Andrew Cohen (89′ Juan Corbolan), Zack Scerri, Amadou Samb, Ndubisi Emmanuel Okoye.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Sebastian Nayar, Enrico Pepe, Steve Pisani, Juninho Cabral, Jurgen Pisani, Michele Paolucci (75′ Dylan Grima), Alex Cini, Arthur Henrique Oyama, Mario Fontanella, Emerson Marcelina.
Coach: Nicolas Chiesa
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Dusan Petrovic
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: N. E. Okoye, E. D. Bilbao Zarate, A. Cohen (G), A. Cini, S. Nayar, D. Grima (F)
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 534