A brace by Japanese midfielder Rei Tachikawa handed Santa Lucia a shock 2-1 win over Gzira United at the Hibernians Stadium on Sunday despite playing for half an hour in ten men.
This was the first win for Santa Lucia in four months after seven defeats and three draws in the last ten matches. However, they are still second from bottom although they join Sliema Wanderers on the fourteen-point mark, one point behind Gudja United and Senglea Athletic.
For the Maroons, this was a highly disappointing result as they failed to regain the second place and now share third place with Sirens on 28 points, two behind Hibernians and six behind leaders Floriana.
Rei Tachikawa put Santa Lucia ahead on the 14th minute when he received an assist by Adam Magri Overend and advanced into the area before hitting past Justin Haber.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, Santa Lucia doubled the score, once again thanks to Rei Tachikawa when he had a shot blocked by a defender but off the rebound, he slammed the ball home past the Gzira custodian.
Santa Lucia were reduced to ten men on the 59th minute as they had Luis Carlos Riascos Torres sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Ten minutes from time, Zach Scerri pulled one back for the Maroons with a powerful drive which ended in the top corner.
GZIRA Justin Haber, Fernando Barbosa, Gianmarco Conti, Zachary Scerri, Rodolfo Soares (65′ Nicholas Muscat), Juan Carlos Corbalan, Hamed Kone, Sacha Borg, Marco Criaco (46′ Ryan Darmanin), Martin Davis (55′ Andrew Cohen), Wilfried Domoraud.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Karl Pulo, Romario Camilleri.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
SANTA LUCIA Timothy Aquilina, Gabriel Bohrer Mentz, Kevin Correira Pinheiro, Adam Magri Overend, Diego Luis Mosquera Segura (63′ Neil Micallef), Kevin Ante Rosero (89′ Lee Galea), Luis Carlos Riascos Torres, Jacob Walker (85′ Omar Elouni), Farid Zuniga, Jamie Zerafa, Rei Tachikawa.
Subs not used: Ryan Caruana, Jamie Magri Overend, Neil Spiteri, Brady Agius.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Asst. Coach: Brian Chetcuti
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Slobodan Petrovic
Yellow Cards: Riascos, Soares
Red Cards: 59′ Luis Carlos Riascos Torres
BOV Player of the Match: Rei Tachikawa