A goal by Claudio Bonanni mid-way through the first half handed Birkirkara a narrow win over Hibernians at th National Stadium on Sunday.
This fourth win in five matches enables the Stripes to climb to the seventh place on 17 points, six behind the Paolites. Birkirkara also have a game in hand.
For Hibernians, this defeat means that they could end losing the top spot should Sliema Wanderers win in the other game on Sunday. This was the second defeat in four matches for Stefano Sanderra’s side.
Birkirkara scored the all-important goal on the 26th minute. Referee Philip Farrugia ordered a penalty Ferdinando Apap handled the ball as he blocked a cross shot by Cain Attard. Luke Montebello’s effort was blocked by Matthew Calleja Cremona but off the rebound, Claudio Bonanni placed the ball at the back of the net.
A goal which brought harsh protests by the Paolites who argued that the Italian midfielder had entered the area before Montebello’s shot.
HIBS Matthew Calleja Cremona, Ferdinando Apap, Leandro Almeida (Zachary Grech 84), Ayrton Attard, Jake Grech (Dunstan Vella 70), Bjorn Kristensen, Gabriel Izquier Artiles, Shola Shodiya Haruna (Jurgen Degabriele 53), Andrei Agius, Jose Wilskon Teixeira (Rundell Renold Winchester 69), Karolis Laukzemis.
Coach: Stefano Sanderra
B’KARA Sandro Guarnone, Enrico Pepe, Yannick Yankam, Luke Montebello (Paul Mbong 77), Kurt Zammit, Reginald Mbu Alidor, Federico Falcone, Cain Attard, Claudio Bonanni, Caio Prado (Francesco Verde 90), Oscar Carniello.
Coach: André Paus
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Emanuel Grech
Yellow Cards: J. Wilkson Teixeira, B. Kristensen, J. Grech, A. Agius, D. Vella (H), Y. Yankam (B)
BOV Player of the Match: Caio Prado