Malta Football Association
Title race wide open as Hibs go down to Birkirkara
Apr 24, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photo: Christine Borg
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

The title race is likely to go down to the wire as only two points separate leaders Hibernians and second-placed Balzan with two games left. There were more twists and turns in the championship battle last weekend as Hibernians slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Birkirkara while Balzan overcame Tarxien Rainbows 3-0.

In the match of the weekend, goals from Vito Plut (12) and Nikola Vukanac (63) kept Birkirkara in the hunt for third place as the Stripes thwarted Hibs’ bid to make what would have been a giant step towards winning their 12th top-flight title.


The Stripes did well to hold on to their two-goal lead after Miguel Angel Alba was sent off soon after Vukanac’s goal.


On Saturday, Balzan had kept their title hopes alive with a routine 3-0 win over Tarxien Rainbows, courtesy of first-half goals from Lydon Micallef, Alan Da Silva Souza and Alfred Effiong.


Balzan now go into their clash with Ħamrun Spartans this coming weekend only two points behind Hibs who also have a tricky fixture against St Andrews.


The Saints underlined their improvement this season on Saturday when claiming their first ever win against Valletta.


Coming from successive draws against Gżira United and Birkirkara, Valletta are now virtually out of the title race as they trail Hibs by six points with two games remaining.


Goals from Aidan Friggieri (11) and Enmy Pena Beltre (30) gave St Andrews a 2-0 half-time lead and captain Joseph Farrugia’s fine strike midway into the second half all but sealed their win.


Valletta scored a consolation goal through Maximiliano Velasco with 16 minutes left.


Floriana have now gone three matches without a win after drawing 1-1 with Gżira United on Saturday.


The two goals came in a five-minute spell in the second half as Antonio Monticelli put Floriana ahead on 55 minutes but Juan Corbalan equalised for the Maroons with a brilliant free-kick.


Pembroke Athleta boosted their hopes of avoiding bottom spot with a 2-1 win over the misfiring Ħamrun Spartans.


Daniane Jawad opened the scoring after two minutes and Stevan Rajic, from a penalty, doubled Pembroke’s lead six minutes later.


The Spartans pulled one back seven minutes from the end with a goal from Italian Massimiliano Giusti.


Karl Micallef, the Ħamrun flank defender, was sent off for two cautions on 78 minutes.


In the other BOV Premier League match last weekend, Mosta and Sliema Wanderers were involved in a 1-1 draw.


Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza put Mosta ahead after 25 minutes, scoring from close in after Pedrinho’s grounder hit the foot of the post. Pedrinho was dismissed for two yellow cards 10 minutes later and Sliema equalised nine minutes into the second half with a direct free-kick from Riccardo Duarte.

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