Despite taking the lead after less than a minute, Pietà Hotspurs suffered their twelfth consecutive defeat as they lost 2-5 to Gzira United at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Saturday.
Gzira, therefore return to winning ways, moving five points clear of Hamrun and seven ahead of Sliema, who, however, have a game in hand. The Hotspurs, on the other hand, remain anchored at the bottom of table.
Coach Ramon Zammit was unable to field his best formation due to the absence of Uchenna Umeh, Ishaya Irimiya Jalo and Paul Chimezie.
The Hotspurs had a perfect start, taking the lead after just 42 seconds when Gabriel Mensah received the ball off an erratic pass by Gatt Baldacchino, hitting low past Haber.
Gzira levelled matters on the 7th minute thanks to Haruna Garba who tapped the ball home from close range following a Nikolai Muscat header.
The Maroons turned the score in their favour on the 35th when Justin Junior Mengolo concluded a good run on the left flank before hitting past Nicky Vella.
One minute in added time, before the end of the first half, Gzira scored another when Justin Junior Mengolo headed the ball home off a cross from the left by Haruna Garba.
Twelve minutes in the second half, Haruna Garba added another when he won possession just outside the area and slotted the ball from underneath the goalkeeper.
The Hotspurs reduced the gap on the hour thanks to Nicholas Pisani who hit home following a cross by Mensah.
However, on the 62nd minute, the Maroons made it 5-2 when Haruna Garba’s effort from the right hit the upright and Justin Mengolo placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
GZIRA Justin Haber, Nikolai Muscat (35′ Roderick Briffa), Zach Scerri, Rodolfo Soares (61′ Fernando Barbosa), Andrew Cohen, Juan Corbalan, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Gianmarco Conti, Sacha Borg, Justin Mengolo (64′ Myles Beerman), Haruna Garba.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Sofian Domoraud, Jaron Schembri, Amadou Samb.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
PIETÀ Nicky Vella, Takaki Ose, Neil Pace Cocks (75′ Gegi Kekua), Dylan Agius, Jan Busuttil, Nicholas Pisani (70′ Jake Ghio), Gabriel Mensah, Juan Manuel Artiaga Roa, Christian Grech, Stefan Radovanovic (46′ James Scicluna), Antonio Orlando Macedo Neto.
Subs not used: Jacob Chircop St John, Liam Mckay, Samuel Okoh, Travis Bartolo, Jake Ghio, Gegi Kekua.
Coach: Ramon Zammit
Asst. Coach: Mark Vella
Referee: Ishmael Barbara
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Darko Stankovic
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Tony, Pace Cocks
BOV Player of the Match: Justin Mengolo