Floriana suffered a second consecutive defeat as a goal by Toni Kolega early in the first half handed Gzira United a narrow win at the National Stadium on Sunday in a match from the BOV Premier League Top Six final round.
The Greens therefore remain two points behind leaders Hibernians who have a game in hand against Hamrun while the Maroons join Birkirkara in third place but the latter face Gudja on Monday.
Gzira coach Darren Abdilla could not count on the suspended Clive Gauci, Zach Scerri and Jefferson de Assis apart from the injured Maxuell Maia. Floriana, on the other hand, were practically in full strength.
The Maroons scored the all-important goal on the 16th minute thanks to a header by Toni Kolega following a cross from the right by Nevin Portelli.
Gzira goalkeeper Darijan Zarkov came to the rescue on various occasions, saving a shot by Andrei Ciolacu at point blank and then diagonal shots by Keqi and Ciolacu from the left scraped past the post.
Early in the second half, attempts by Kemar Reid and Ciolacu were deflected into corners and on the hour, Rumyan Hovsepyan released Ryan Camenzuli on the left but his powerful shot hit the foot of the upright. Gzira replied with a long-distance freekick by Gabriel Bohrer Mentz which was saved in two attempts by Kitanov.
In added time, an overhead kick by goalkeeper Georgi Kitanov was neutralised by Zarkov and attempts by Paiber and Ciolacu were turned into corners by the goalkeeper.