TARXIEN RAINBOWS 0
GŻIRA UNITED 2
Muscat 55; Correa 90
J. Borg-7; C. Conceicao-6; E. Zarate-6 (83 L. Sciberras); D. Zerafa-6.5 (69 L.Ferreira); D. Falzon-6; V. Plut-6.5; E. Rosario-6; I. Paz-6; K. Gatt-6 (83 J. Debono); M. Tabone-6; R. Kooh Sohna-5.
J. Haber-6; G. Bohrer-6.5; Steve Borg-6; N. Muscat-6.5; M. Davis-7; N. Portelli-5.5; Maxuell-6; J. Mendoza-6.5; R. Correa-7.5; Sacha Borg-6; Jefferson-7 (72 C.Borg).
Referee Fyodor Zammit.
Yellow cards Zarate, Gatt, Falzon, Sacha Borg, Portelli.
BOV Player of the Match Nikolai Muscat (Gżira United).
Gżira United chalked up three valuable points after seeing off Tarxien Rainbows courtesy of second-half goals from Nikolai Muscat and Ricardo Correa.
This victory has enabled the Maroons to keep the pressure on leaders Ħamrun Spartans as they moved three points behind Mark Buttigieg’s side.
It was Gżira’s third win on the trot which injects further confidence into Darren Abdilla’s clan.
On the other hand, Tarxien succumbed to their 10th defeat of the season as they remained 14th on 12 points.
Yet, it was a resilienet and organised display by the Rainbows who for almost an hour kept the Maroons at bay.
In the end, their failure to create clear-cut chances when they piled up the pressure on Gżira when trailing 1-0 may have hindered their hopes of salvaging a point.
Tarxien Rainbows thought they were off to a flying start when Vito Plut punished Justin Haber for his short clearance but the Slovenian forward was deemed to be in an offside position.
Gżira were looking to take control of the match but were struggling to break down Tarxien’s backline.
Gabriel Bohrer and Jackson Mendoza had a flurry of quick attempts from the edge of the area but none of them could break the deadlock.
Abdilla’s side were banking on their shooting options, with Maltese midfielder Muscat letting fly a first timer but could not find the target.
Tarxien replied through a Kyle Gatt shot which gave Haber no trouble at all.
As the half wore on, Gżira pegged Tarxien into their defensive third but there possession was not harming the Rainbows in any way.
In the 36th minute, Ricardo Correa had a volley on goal blocked by Jurgen Borg as the Maroons continued their search for an opener.
Moments later, Correa whipped in a cross onto the head of Jefferson, but the former Sliema Wanderers player hit wide in front of goal.
Just before the break, Correa let fly a curling effort but was denied by goalkeeper Borg.
At the restart, Gżira increased their pressure on Tarxien and they made it count in the 55th minute.
Correa fired a trademark curling effort which Borg failed to hold, Jefferson picked up the rebound to whip in a cross on which Muscat capitalised from point-blank range.
Few moments later, Maxuell tried to double the score for Gżira but his shot was smothered by Borg.
The Rainbows were looking for an equaliser, as they started to inch their way up the field and also threatened Gżira from a Daren Falzon’s free-kick which sailed over the bar.
Bohrer came close to seal the win for Gżira with a towering header that went inches wide.
In the closing stages, Gżira squandered an offensive transition when Correa fired over the bar from inside the box.
Nonetheless, the former Balzan player still managed to struck his sixth goal in this exceptional 2020/21 campaign to seal his team’s victory.