Qormi stay in title hunt after hard-fought win
BDO Sliema Hotsticks 1
Pasta Poiatti Qormi 2
This was a must-win game for title hopefuls Qormi but theirs was by no means an easy task against a determined Sliema team.
From the off, Qormi surged forward in search of an early goal, but their moves were disjointed and easily controlled by the Sliema defenders.
On 19 minutes, Sliema's Lukas Plaehn burst through the Qormi defence but his inviting cross along the Qormi goal did not find any takers. Six minutes later, a Qormi short corner action was saved by Luke Mallia who immediately launched a Sliema counter-attack but Qormi keeper Chircop cleared the danger.
Two minutes later, Keith Calleja missed a good chance for Qormi when he failed to reach Steve Tanti's pass. On another occasion, Dylan Lentini denied Qormi's Magri when he superbly stopped his flying hit at goal.
Qormi were made to pay for these misses as on the stroke of half-time, Plaehn advanced on the left before passing to young debutant Steve Portelli who hit home to give Sliema the lead.
After the change of ends, Qormi again went straight on the attack and pinned their opponents in their own half but they could not find a clear path towards goal. That was until the 48th minute when Jonathan Borg got hold of the ball just outside the circle, strode past two defenders and beat Mallia with a strong push.
Qormi now went all out to score another goal. They had to wait until the 66th minute when from a short corner move, Steve Tanti evaded two onrushing defenders and set up Borg to score his and Qormi's second goal.
On Sunday, Rabat Depiro and Qormi will play their last game against White Hart and Floriana respectively. If both win, they will force a decider for this year's championship.
Laferla Insurance WH 5
Mr Clean Floriana 4
This clash, between eternal rivals White Hart and Young Stars, was played in good spirit and can be considered as the most exciting of the season.
Floriana started the game in top gear and might have forged ahead after five minutes but Marvin Vella missed a golden opportunity. Eight minutes later, Floriana opened the scoring through a solo effort by Christian Bonello.
White Hart's reaction was immediate. Following a short corner action, White Hart were awarded a penalty stroke and Luke Borg Costanzi made it 1-1.
Floriana again took control of midfield and regained the lead on 25 minutes when Simon Agius deflected Joseph Dalli's cross from inside the D into his own net. A minute later Floriana added a third when Mark Camilleri's reverse hit was met by Vella.
In the second half, White Hart were a completely different outfit. They pulled a goal back by the 39th minute thanks to Paul Torpiano who concluded a good move by Carl Tua.
White Hart kept up the pressure. In the 54th minute, David Agius's flick was saved by Mizzi but the rebound fell to Agius who passed to the unmarked Reno Bianchi for the latter to fire in the equaliser.
A minute later, White Hart stormed ahead. A hard hit at goal by Kevin Filletti was blocked by Mizzi and from the rebound, Torpiano scored.
To add to Floriana's woes, White Hart increased their lead when they were awarded another penalty stroke for an intentional infringement inside the D. Borg Costanzi struck his second goal from the spot.
Floriana hit back to narrow the deficit within a minute of White Hart's fifth goal. Waylin Abdilla dribbled his way into the White Hart circle and passed to the young Clive Williams who had no difficulty hitting the ball home.
Floriana did try to save the game but the White Hart defence stood firm.