Rabat gain first win
RABAT AJAX-3, MOSTA-2
Rabat Ajax ended their long wait for a Premier League win this evening as they beat Mosta 3-2 to gain a timely boost ahead of the start of the Relegation Pool.
Spanish forward Jose Luis Armaro Negrin played a key role in Rabat's first win in 22 games after scoring a hat-trick, albeit two of his goals came from penalties. Mosta made the stronger start.
Kurt Magro had a shot saved by Sean Mintoff after just three minutes. Danail Mitev went closer with a well-struck shot that came off the far post. One expected Mosta to maintain their early momentum but Rabat improved as the first half moved on. Two minutes before the half-hour, Rabat missed a great chance to take the lead when Diego Carillo Pendas picked out fellow Spaniard Negrin in the box but the latter's close-range attempt was pushed away by Jeffrey Farrugia, the Mosta goalkeeper.
On 32 minutes, Bruno Chikwado Mbonu hit a low shot that was saved by Sean Mintoff in Rabat's goal. Rabat should have gone in front when Negrin forced his way past two defenders but his point-blank effort was repelled by Farrugia. Rabat's pressure finally paid off on the stroke of half-time.
Running on to a long pass, Negrin sped clear only to be brought down by Chiemeka. Referee Mario Apap promptly awarded Rabat a penalty and Negrin sent his shot past Farrugia to give the Magpies a deserved lead.
As the second half got underway, Mosta showed no signs of improvement while Rabat continued where they left off in the first period. Negrin doubled Rabat's lead 12 minutes into the second half, flicking the ball past Farrugia after being put through by Carrillo. Rabat made it 3-0 on 63 minutes. They were given a second penalty when Kurt Magro stopped Manuel Fuster's shot with his arm.
Negrin drove a low shot past Farrugia to complete his hat-trick. Sitting on a three-goal cushion and with a first victory in 22 games, Rabat stayed on top. They were dangerous again when Carrillo ran into the box but his strike came off the side-netting. Mosta came close to reducing the arrears when Mitev ran towards the bye-line but his angled shot flew across the face of goal.
Ten minutes from time, Mosta pulled one back thanks to Mitev whose curling free-kick had the better of the diving Mintoff. Rabat could have restored their three-goal advantage when Carrillo burst through the middle but his effort was blocked by Farrugia.
In stoppage time, Mosta further narrowed the deficit when Mitev conNegrin was named BOV player of the match.