Gzira United dropped two important points as they were held in a 2-2 draw by Santa Lucia at the National Stadium on Saturday,
Darren Abdilla’s side is now second, one point behind leaders Sliema and one ahead of Hibernians. Santa Lucia, on the other hand, are now eighth on 12 points.
The Maroons had a perfect start, taking the lead after just one minute but Santa Lucia managed to turn the score in their favour with two goals. The game was interrupted for half an hour due to a widespread power cut which hit parts of Malta. On the resumption of play, Gzira equalised but missed an excellent opportunity to notch the winner in added time when they were awarded a penalty.
Gzira took the lead after just one minute when off a cross by Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte from the left, Raphael Kooh Sohna headed home past goalkeeper Christopher Farrugia.
However, Santa Lucia’s reaction was immediate and on the 8th minute, they levelled matters thanks to Rei Tachikawa who hit home after Alan da Silva Souza took advantage of an erratic clearance by the Gzira defence and had a first attempt by the Brazilian was blocked by a defender.
Santa Lucia took the lead on the 18th minute thanks to Alan da Silva Souza whose long-distance shot gave goalkeeper Justin Haber no chance.
The match was interrupted on the 65th minute and resumed half an hour later.
On the 75th minute, Gzira equalised when Jefferson de Assis was floored inside the area and from the penalty spot, Steve Borg’s effort was partially saved by Farrugia with the Malta International defender scoring off the rebound.
Six minutes from time, Amadou Samb, served by Martin Davis, was unlucky to hit the upright with a shot from close range.
On the 89th minute, the Maroons ended in ten men after Gabriel Bohrer Mentz received a second yellow card.
Deep into stoppage time, Gzira could have easily scored the winning goal when they were awarded a penalty after Nikolai Muscat was brought down inside the area but Steve Borg hit sky high from the penalty spot.
GZIRA Justin Haber, Gabriel Bohrer Mentz, Steve Borg, Nikolai Muscat, 8-Clyde Borg (89′ Omar Elouni), Dexter Xuereb, Martin Davis, Ricardo Correa Duarte, Sacha Borg (46′ Hamed Kone), Amadou Samb (46′ Jefferson De Assis), Raphael Kooh Sohna.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
SANTA LUCIA Christopher Farrugia, Timmy Tabone Desira, Andre Fausto Prates Rodrigues Junior, Kevin Correia, Adam Magri Overend, Alan Da Silva Souza, Kevin Ante Rosero, Victor Luiz Prestes Filho, Michael Camilleri (90′ Andreas Vella), Rei Tachikawa. Kieran Xuereb.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Mark Ciantar
Fourth Official: Andrea Sciriha
Yellow Cards: A. Samb, D. Xuereb, R. Calixto Correa Duarte, G. Bohrer Mentz (2) (G), R. Tachikawa, K. Xuereb (SL)
Red Cards: 89′ Gabriel Bohrer Mentz
BOV Player of the Match: Steve Borg