Malta round-up: Sliema secure narrow success

Sliema Wanderers FC moved a step close to the league title with a narrow 1-0 win at Marsaxlokk FC.

Sliema Wanderers FC moved a step close to the Maltese Premier League title with a narrow 1-0 win at Marsaxlokk FC.

Eight-point lead
The victory kept Sliema eight points ahead of nearest challengers Birkirkara FC in the championship play-off standings.

Grima goal
Danilo Doncic nearly gave Sliema the lead after five minutes, sending his shot just wide, before Massimo Grima's powerful free-kick did put the away side in front after 28 minutes. Sliema were always in control of the match after the goal, and never looked like relinquishing their lead.

Composed finish
Meanwhile, Birkirkara stayed in touch at the top with a 2-1 win against champions Hibernians FC. First-half goals from Matthew Calascione, who converted Michael Galea's pass with a neat lob, and Chucks Nwoko put the home side in command, and Hibernians were unable to find a way back into the game until two minutes into injury time, but substitute Andrew Cohen's goal came too late.

Resounding success
Valletta FC remained in third place with a convincing 5-0 win at Pietà Hotspurs FC. Despite the final margin of victory, it took Valletta until a minute into the second half to make the breakthrough, before Rumen Galabov opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Milen Penchev had been fouled by Anatole Debono, who was shown the red card. Galabov scored his second three minutes past the hour, with further goals from Chris Oretan, Galabov again and Karl Bonnici completeing a miserable afternoon for Pietà

Derby drama
In the relegation pool, the local derby between Hamrun Spartans FC and Marsa FC ended 1-1. In an entertaining game, Hamrun took the lead after 15 minutes as Stefan Sultana created a chance for Ryan Fenech, who beat Maurizio Vallastro with a well
struck effort.

Quick reply
Marsa took only six minutes to draw level, however, as Kurt Formosa's corner was headed into the net by Kenneth Abela. Both sides had chances to win the match, while Marsa defender George Cutajar was dismissed in the closing stages.