LIJA ATHLETIC 3
Flores 56, 67; Cassar 72
STA LUCIA 1
L. Bonnici-7; C. Cassar-7; L. Muscat-7; D. Scerri-6 (61 N. Micallef); F. Brandan-7 (89 A. White); H. Wood-5 (61 G. Virano); W. Serrano-6.5; M. Jimenez-6.5; J. Cruz Gill-6.5; C. Giordimaina-6.5; C. Flores-7.
M. Montfort-6.5; A. Prates-6; K. Correia-6; A. Magri Overend-6 (61 T. Tabone Desira); L. Motta-5 (73 M. Camilleri); N. Pulis-5.5; Alan-6; K. Rosero-6.5; V. Filho-6; J. Zerafa-5.5 (89 K. Xuereb); A. Caseres-6.
Referee Darryl Agius.
Yellow cards Scerri, Magri Overend.
BOV Player of the Match Carlos Flores (Lija Athletic).
Lija Athletic scored three times without reply to earn a 3-1 comeback win over Sta Lucia and keep their survival hopes alive.
The Reds, now on 20 points, are four points distant from Gudja United who occupy the play-out spot and who still must face Valletta today.
On the other hand, Sta Lucia have succumbed to their eighth defeat as they lie eighth on 29 points. They are far from safe with their five-point lead ahead of the red zone and with seven games left.
Sta Lucia thought to have got off to a splendid start when Augusto Caseres capitalised on an Alan cross to open the score after 40 seconds just for referee Darryl Agius to disallow the ‘goal’ for offside.
Midfielder Fernando Brandan tried to deceive Miguel Montfort with an effort from the edge of the area but missed the target.
Caseres came close to make amends for his disallowed goal when he intercepted the ball into the penalty area before firing a shot which ended up straight into Luke Bonnici’s hands.
Sta Lucia kept creating chances and once again they were denied by Bonnici as the Lija custodian pulled off a fantastic save on Alan’s volley
Kevin Rosero almost put Sta Lucia one goal up when he darted into the box before skewing his low drive.
Lija could have surprised Sta Lucia when Brandan and Carlos Flores combined for a well-engineered transition but Miguel Jimenez misfired his effort from point-blank range.
Five minutes after the restart, Sta Lucia struck ahead when Kevin Correa headed home from a corner-kick.
Jimenez squandered a glorious chance to level matters instantly when he missed the target from point-blank range before Caseres also missed a key opportunity in front of Lija’s goal to double Sta Lucia lead.
Lija managed to score the next goal in the game following a Flores’ effort from the edge of the area as the Reds felt they could still have their say in the game.
American-born Flores turned the score in favour of Lija when his cross-shot was not met by Brandan but was enough to roll into the back of the net.
Alan came close to equalise for Sta Lucia but Bonnici was instrumental to block his effort.
From the resultant positive transition, Lija sealed their win through Carl Cassar who converted his solo effort into his first goal of the season.