Gzira United closed in on leaders Floriana thanks to a fifth consecutive defeat as they beat bottom-placed Tarxien Rainbows 5-0 at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.
The Maroons were clearly a better side right from the start, scoring two in the first half and another three goals during the second half. The Rainbows, on the other hand, remain empty-handed after suffering their ninth defeat in as many matches.
Gzira coach Giovanni Tedesco was unable to field his best formation due to the absence of suspended duo Gianmarco Conti and Jefferson de Assis.
However, right from the start, they made their intentions clear with Hamed Kone going close early in the game thanks to a freekick from the right which was turned into a corner in style by Tarxien goalie Rudy Briffa.
The Maroons managed to take the lead on the 17th minute thanks to Martin Davis whose fine shot from the right, following a cross by Hamed Kone, beat the Tarxien custodian.
Martin Davis failed to connect on the 20th following a cross by Cohen and a minute later, a powerful drive by Zach Scerri hit crossbar with the ball being deflected into a corner
Tarxien went close to equalising with a shot by Aleksa Andrejic on the 32nd but he was unlucky to hit the foot of the upright and in a swift counter attack, Andrew Cohen pounced on a long through pass before beating goalkeeper Briffa to double the score for Gzira.
Gzira scored the third goal five minutes in the second half when off a cross from the left by Arthur Henrique, Amadou Samb placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
Hamed Kone made it 4-0 on the 59th minute as he concluded a fine solo effort on the right flank by rounding a number of players before hitting the ball past Briffa.
The Maroons were awarded a penalty on the 65th minute after Botta floored Cohen inside the area and from the penalty spot, Amadou Samb made no mistake.
Amadou Samb hit the upright from close range on the 73rd minute. Six minutes later, Gzira substitute goalkeeper Ryoto Yokokawa saved partially an Aleksa Andrejic shot from the left and off the rebound, Nevin Portelli’s effort was also parried by the Japanese goalkeeper. Five minutes from time, a Stiv Shaba diaogonal shot from the left beat the goalkeeper but Arthur Henrique cleared the ball off the goal line.
TARXIEN Rudy Briffa, Marco Botta, Thomas Veronese, Destin Mambouana, Brandon Muscat, Manuel Murillo Torres (71’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Aleksa Andrejic, Stiv Shaba, Nevin Portelli (84’ Dale Tabone), Miguel Ciantar, Misael Miranda Gomez (43’ Cedric Zahra).
Subs not used: Jamie Pace, Daniel Vassallo, Kurt Borg, Neil Baldacchino.
Coach: Marko Glumac
Asst. Coach: Demis Paul Scerri
GZIRA Justin Haber (77’ Ryoko Yokokawa), Fernando Barbosa, Nikolai Muscat, Zachary Scerri, Rodolfo Soares (75’ Clifford Gatt Baldacchino), Andrew Cohen, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Hamed Kone, Amadou Samb (75’ Luca Brincat), Arthur Henrique Oyama, Martin Davis.
Subs not used: Alexander Scicluna, Christian Sammut, Sacha Borg, Romario Camilleri.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Andrea Sciriha
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Botta, Scerri, Portelli, Muscat
BOV Player of the Match: Amadou Samb