BOV Premier League
Valletta now have a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table after Hibs slipped to an unexpected 3-2 defeat to Balzan Youths.
The champions capitalised on the Paolites’ upset, albeit their failure to exchange their superior possession into clearcut chances against Mosta kept the result in the balance until the end.
Ousseni Zongo put Valletta ahead inside the opening five minutes but thereafter the Citizens struggled to break down Mosta’s solid defence.
On Friday, the Paolites conceded a last-gasp penalty goal in a dramatic 3-2 loss to Balzan.
Matthew Camilleri, the Balzan goalkeeper, blocked an early penalty by Clayton Failla but Andrew Cohen opened the scoring for Hibs on 34 minutes.
New Zealand striker Kris Bright levelled for Balzan on the stroke of half-time and Luis Fagner Bernardes put them 2-1 up early in the second half.
Hibs were awarded a second penalty for a handsball 14 minutes from time and Luis Edison made no mistake from the spot.
The penalty drama continued in stoppage time when referee Trustin Farrugia Cann pointed to the spot for the third time after a handling infringement in the Hibs box.
Pedrinho kept his cool as he drilled his shot past Mario Muscat to seal the three points for Balzan.
Floriana also made the most of Hibs’ loss as a 4-2 win over Ħamrun Spartans on Sunday moved them to within four points of Mark Miller’s team.
It was the Reds who took the lead through Gianluca Calabretta but Mano Micallef soon brought the Greens back on level terms.
Floriana took the lead thanks to an acrobatic Christian Caruana volley five minutes from half-time but the Spartans made it 2-2 when Carlo Polli’s hopeful shot appeared to come off Duncan Pisani as the ball soared above the surprised Manuel Bartolo and into the net.
An entertaining match went Floriana’s way thanks to second-half goals from debutant Onome Sodje and Andre Grabowski.
Birkirkara halted their negative run with a hard-earned 1-0 win over Mqabba on Friday. Terence Vella scored the winner from a penalty three minutes from the break.
Sliema Wanderers joined Birkirkara on the 23-point mark after a 2-0 victory over Marsaxlokk at the Hibs Stadium.
Danail Mitev scored in each half, the first from a penalty, to lead Sliema back to winning ways as Marsaxlokk’s slump continues. Malcolm Licari fluffed a chance to equalise for the southerners late on after missing a penalty before Mitev struck in stoppage time to wrap up Sliema’s win.
Tarxien Rainbows moved off the bottom as quick goals from Ricardo Costa and Adrian Carabott in three second-half minutes earned them a deserved 2-0 win over a sluggish Qormi side who have now dropped to sixth on 20 points.
Premier League statistics
Scorers, red cards
Balzan Youths: Bright 5; Ciantar 3, Pedrinho 3 (1 pen); Tasic, Camilleri, Farrugia, Grima, Forace, Bernardes.
Own goal: Camilleri (vs Ħamrun).
Red cards: Pedrinho (vs Qormi, vs Mqabba), Francica (vs Hibs), Forace (vs Tarxien), Ciantar (vs Valletta).
Birkirkara: Avila Perez 8; Cilia 4 (3 pens); Grech 2, Pereira 2, Vella 2 (1 pen); Buhagiar, Zerafa, Muscat, Fenech.
Red cards: Decesare (vs Mosta), Grech (vs Qormi), Avila Perez, Bajada (vs Mosta), Decesare, Pereira (vs Hibs).
Floriana: Caruana 5; Grabowski 4; Woods 3 (1 pen); Cassar 2, Micallef 2; Odwong, Mintoff, Farrugia, J. Borg, Darmanin, Sodje.
Own goal: Everton (vs Tarxien).
Red cards: Amamoo (vs Sliema); Bartolo (vs Birkirkara).
Ħamrun Spartans: Ribeiro 6; Grima 4, Shields 4 (1 pen); Luis Silva, Sammut, Toneto Porcari, Agius, Polli, Calabretta.
Own goal: Bugeja (vs Floriana).
Red cards: Agius (vs Balzan), Polli (vs Birkirkara), Sammut (vs Balzan).
Hibs: Edison 17 (1 pen); Failla 9; Cohen 3; Caruana 2, Pisani 2; Soares, Anizoba, Herrera, Dias.
Red cards: Pulis (vs Valletta), Dias (vs Birkirkara).
Marsaxlokk: Obiefule 10; Deanov 4; Farrugia 2, Lattes 2; Kokavessis, Campagnoli.
Red card: Templeman (vs Hibs), Brincat (vs Qormi).
Mosta: Zammit 3 (1 pen), Martin 3, Mvondo 3; Aboulezz, Arilson.
Own goal: Buhagiar (vs Birkirkara).
Red cards: Ossok (vs Hibs); Tisbi (vs Qormi).
Mqabba: Mazzitelli 7 (1 pen), Mamic 7 (1 pen); Azzopardi, Briffa, Potezica.
Red cards: Mazzitelli (vs Marsa-xlokk), Mamic (vs Hibs), Timotic (vs Hibs).
Qormi: Farrugia 8 (4 pens); Jorge Pereira 6 (1 pen); Nwoke 4, Bello Osagie 4; Bartolo, Sciberras, Bondin.
Red card: Duff (vs Birkirkara).
Sliema: Mitev 8 (4 pens); Lima 4, Bajada 4; Jorge 3; Mifsud Triganza 2; Scerri, Ani, Frendo, Galabov.
Red cards: Scerri (vs Hibs), Grech (vs Floriana), Mitev (vs Marsaxlokk), Mifsud (vs Hibernians).
Tarxien Rainbows: Bueno 6 (1 pen); Ricardo 5 (1 pen); Anonam 2, Galvao 2, Carabott 2; Everton.
Own goal: Pereira (vs Birkirkara).
Red cards: Anonam (vs Mosta), Costa (vs Balzan), Caio Suguino (vs Valletta).
Valletta: Denni 8, Effiong 8; Barbosa 6 (1 pen); Zongo 5; Mifsud 2, Pace 2, Borg 2, Briffa 2, G. Agius 2.
Red cards: G. Agius, Borg, Fenech (vs Hibs).
Next fixtures – U*Bet FA Trophy (third round)
Friday: Centenary Stadium – 18.00 Mellieħa vs Siġġiewi; 20.00 Ħamrun Spartans vs Dingli.
Saturday: Centenary – 14.00 Gharghur vs St George’s; 16.00 Kirkop vs Rabat.
National Stadium – 14.00 Zejtun vs Balzan; 16.00 Gżira vs Qormi.
Tedesco Stadium – 14.00 San Ġwann vs Marsaxlokk; 16.15 Hibs vs Pembroke.
Sunday: Centenary Stadium – 14.00 Luqa vs Floriana; 16.00 Tarxien vs Pietá.
Luxol Stadium – 15.00 Lija vs Victoria Hotspurs.
Gozo Stadium – 16.00 Xewkija vs Senglea.
Hibs Stadium – 14.00 Birkirkara vs Vittoriosa; 16.00 Mqabba vs Sliema.
Tedesco Stadium – 14.00 Msida vs Mosta; 16.15 St Patrick vs Valletta.