A goal by Federico Falcone ten minutes from time handed Birkirkara and narrow win over leaders Floriana at the National Stadium on Sunday.
This was the first defeat for the Greens after maintaining an unbeaten run throughout the first round with nine wins and four draws.
Following the 2-0 win for Hibernians over Gzira and Valletta’s 2-2 draw with Santa Lucia, the Greens lie four points ahead of the Paolites and five ahead of the Citizens but fourth-placed Gzira United could close in to just three points should they beat Hamrun Spartans on Monday.
For Birkirkara, this was a morale-boosting win and now share seventh place with Mosta after winning four out of the last five matches.
Floriana had their fair share of scoring opportunities, being unlucky to hit the upright with a powerful drive by Diego Venancio and later hit the crossbar with a rising shot by Brandon Paiber from the left during the first half.
In the second half, both sides created chances thanks to which either side could have broken the deadlock. However, it was Federico Falcone who managed to score the all-important goal with a fine shot from the edge of the area when served by Yannick Yankam on the left.
The Greens could have equalised a few minutes later but Kristian Keqi was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a header.
FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Enzo Ruiz, Diego Venancio, Kristian Keqi, Ulises Arias (84′ Augusto Rene Caseres), Brandon Paiber (65′ Jan Busuttil), Jurgen Pisani, Matias Garcia, Alexander Cini, Ryan Camenzuli, Tiago Adan Fonseca.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar. Clyde Borg, Bradley Sciberras, Aleandro Garzia, Terence Vella.
Coach: Vincenzo Potenza
Asst. Coach: Darren Anton Vella
B’KARA Andrew Hogg, Enrico Pepe, Matthew Guillaumier, Kurt Zamit, Yannick Yankam, Roderick Briffa, Federico Falcone, Cain Attard, Caio Henrique Prado (77′ Michael Mifsud), Oscar Matias Carniello, Isaac Toah Ntow.
Subs not used: Amara Sylla, Jeferson de Souza Ferreira, Gianluca Bugeja, Adam Camilleri, Jacques Vella Critien, Ryan Fenech.
Coach: Andre Paus
Asst. Coach: Jonathan Holland
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Matthew Degabriele
Yellow Cards: Pisani, Paiber, Guillaumier
BOV Player of the Match: Brandon Paiber