Għajnsielem and Kerċem Ajax recorded victories on Match Day 13 of the GFA Division One to boost their hopes of finishing in the runners-up spot at the end of the season.
Għajnsielem bounced back from a poor run that had seen them pick up just one from point from their last two matches as they edged past Xewkija Tigers by the odd goal in three.
The match turned out to be a keen affair as Għajnsielem failed to convert their territorial supremacy and kill off their opponents and leave the outcome in doubt till the final whistle.
With this result Xewkija, who had former Għajnsielem coach Daniel Bogdanovic at the helm, remain in serious relegation trouble.
The Blacks took the lead on 23 minutes through a direct free kick by Igor Nedeljkovic, who was making a return after a three-match suspension.
Xewkija, however, fought back and levelled matters from a penalty, awarded for a foul by Shaun Attard on Matthias Mercieca. Elton Da Silva made no mistake from the spot.
Four minutes into the second half, Xewkija were reduced to ten players when Dylan Mercieca was sent off for a foul in midfield.
However, minutes later Xewkija could have turned the result in their favour but a header by Da Silva came off the crossbar.
Għajnsielem also ended with ten players on 63 minutes when Alberto Xuereb was sent off for retaliation.
But four minutes later the Blacks scored the winner when they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Joseph George Vella on Nedeljkovic. The Serbian forward picked himself up and made no mistake with his shot from the spot.
Kerċem Ajax consolidated their hopes to challenge for second place in the standings after thrashing Sannat Lions 6-1. in a one-sided match.
The Ajax dominated over their opponents and opened a two-goal lead through fine strikes by Wesley Simeao Dos Santos and Euller Da Silva Rodrigues.
In the first minute of stoppage time Sannat surprised their opponents and re-opened the issue against the run of play as Marlon Mamo dispossessed the Kerċem goalkeeper and deposited the ball into an empty net.
Kerċem, however, regained command of play after the break and made sure of the win by scoring four more goals through Wesley Simeao Dos Santos (61), Andrew Mizzi (75), Chris Camilleri (85) and substitute Joshua Buttigieg (89).
Meanwhile, Oratory Youths and SK Victoria Wanderers earned a point each following a 1-1 draw.
This was a direct clash from the relegation zone where both Oratory and SK Victoria Wanderers were aiming for the win.
With this result, the Youths retained their three-point lead over the Wanderers as the latter remain bottom of the standings alongside Xewkija Tigers, although the latter have a game in hand.
In this match, Oratory had an excellent start and opened the score on 10 minutes through a fine shot by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira.
The Youths, however, failed to build on to their lead and that opened the way for the Wanderers to save the result with an equaliser seven minutes from time through a header by Neil Camilleri.
GFA Division Two
Qala Saints obtained a 5-1 win over bottom-placed Għarb Rangers to preserve their eight-point lead over their closest rivals.
The Maroons paved the way to the large win with three goals scored during the first half through a brace by Ralph Ebube Okpokwu (5, 31) and a goal by Joseph Buttigieg (9).
Għarb’s Gabriel Debrincat pulled a goal back on 47 minutes.
Three minutes later, Qala could have added another goal but Brandon Said saw his penalty from a penalty kick saved by Għarb goalkeeper Owen Xuereb.
Qala, however, made sure of the win with two late goals scored by Martin Buttigieg (83) and Brandon Said (90).
In the other match from the lower division, Munxar Falcons consolidated their second place in the standings with a 2-0 win over Żebbuġ Rovers.
Munxar’s win matured with two goals scored during the opening stages through Robert Grima (13) and Kenneth Mizzi (21).
Division One KO
Nadur Youngsters became the first finalists of the BOV GFA Division One Knock Out following an impressive 7-0 win over Kerċem Ajax in the opening semi-final.
Kerċem tried to offer a stern challenge in the first half but Nadur showed their superiority as time passed by and ended up dominating their opponents.
Nadur goals arrived through a brace by Judivan (21, 35) and Lucas Moreira (69, 78) as well as a goal each by Joseph Zammit (50), Marcelo Barbosa (74) and Stefan Cassar (86).
Kerċem ended the match with ten men as substitute Christian Attard was sent off on 85 minutes for two cautions received in the space of five minutes.
PLAYING ON FRIDAY
GFA DIVISION ONE
Sannat L. vs Għajnsielem 19.00
PLAYING ON SATURDAY
GFA DIVISION TWO
Munxar vs Xaghra 11.00
Zebbug vs Qala Saints 13.30
GFA DIVISION ONE
Xewkija T. vs Victoria H. 15.00
PLAYING ON SUNDAY
GFA DIVISION TWO
Għarb vs St Lawrence 12.30
GFA DIVISION ONE
Nadur vs Kercem Ajax 15.00