Hamrun Spartans came back from two goals down to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw with Santa Lucia at the National Stadium on Sunday despite having a player sent off late in the game.
The Spartans, therefore, regain a two-point lead over second-placed Hibernians.
Santa Lucia, on the other hand, extend their positive run to seven matches – this being their fourth successive draw. They are currently seventh on 25 points, one behind Mosta and two ahead of Gudja and Valletta.
Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the area but one minute in added time before the end of the first half, Santa Lucia took the lead when Alan da Silva Souza sent Kevin Ante Rosero through and the latter beat Manuel Bartolo with an angled shot from the left.
On the hour, Santa Lucia doubled the score when Jamie Zerafa sent Kevin Ante Rosero through on the right and the latter beat the Hamrun goalkeeper with a diagonal shot.
Hamrun Spartans reduced the gap on 77 minutes when Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares received an assist by Matthew Guillaumier and controlled before beating Santa Lucia goalkeeper Christopher Farrugia with a shot from outside the area.
On the 90th minute, Hamrun were reduced to ten men after Emerson Marcelina received a second yellow card for a reckless tackle on Victor Luiz Filho. Coach Mark Buttigieg was also sent off by referee Eman Grech.
However, four minutes in added time, the Spartans notched the equaliser courtesy of Franklin Sasere who rose high to head home past Farrugia following a cross by Ailton Soares from the left.
HAMRUN Manuel Bartolo, Darko Gojkovic, Matthew Guillaumier, Joseph Mbong, Ailton Jorge Soares, Franklin Sasere, Abdullahi Ige Adeshina (53′ Blas Andreas Cittadini), Elkin Serrano Valero, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Soufiane Lagzir (28′ Karl Micallef), Emerson Marcelina.
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Conor Borg, Chrisopher Galea, Darren Borg.
Coach: Mark Buttigieg
SANTA LUCIA Christopher Farrugia, Andre Fausto Prates Rodrigues, Edafe Uzeh, Kevin Correia, Adam Magri Overend, Alan da Souza Silva (81′ Kieran Xuereb), Kevin Ante Rosero, Victor Luis Prestes Filho, Michael Camilleri (70′ Timothy Tabone Desira), Jamie Zerafa, Augusto Rene Caseres.
Subs not used: Clyde Aquilina, Jacques Vella Critien, Liam Mckay, Andreas Vella, Brady Agius.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Emanuel Grech
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Duncan Spencer
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Marcelina, Gojkovic, Caseres, Bartolo
Red Cards: 90′ Emerson Marcelina