Sliema Wanderers FC emerged as 2-1 victors over Valletta FC on Sunday in the Maltese Premier League.
Sliema Wanderers FC turned defeat into victory in a dramatic turnaround to a thrilling encounter that finally saw Sliema emerge as 2-1 victors over champions Valletta FC.
The win still leaves Sliema four points adrift of Maltese Premier League leaders Hibernians FC after the end of the first round of the final 'Championship Pool' phase.
After a rather unspectacular first period, the game suddenly exploded into life. After 53 minutes, Valletta striker Chris Oretan was brought down in the box by Ian Ciantar and Ivan Zammit gently placed the penalty-kick past Murphy Akanji to put Valletta into the lead.
Seven minutes later Sliema equalised with a gem of a goal. Massimo Grima found Orosco Anoman well placed to shoot past Sean Sullivan in the Valletta goal. Gilbert Agius then went close for Valletta with a header that was off target on 64 minutes and four minutes later it was Anoman who again tested Valletta keeper Sullivan with a half-volley.
The final minutes of the game were dramatic and two minutes from time Chris Oretan was felled just outside the box and despite protests from the Valletta players for a penalty, the referee stuck to his decision to award a free-kick just outside the box, which came to nothing for the champions. Amidst the confusion, Sliema's Richard Buhagiar was dismissed for a second yellow card.
With the game apparently heading for a draw, Sliema struck the winner two minutes into injury time, a strike that keeps them in the running for the title. A perfect move between Nenad Veselji and Danilo Doncic opened up the path for Massimo Grima to score the all-important goal.
Hamrun lose again
Meanwhile, a goal in each half provided three points for Floriana FC in the first of the two 'Championship Pool' games played at the National Stadium, Ta' Qali, today against Hamrun Spartans FC. After 15 minutes Etienne Barbara missed a penalty, but the Under-21 international quickly recovered his touch and on 39 minutes he put Floriana ahead.
Brazilian Eduardo do Nascimento secured the points for Floriana when he beat Daniel Dengaky in the Hamrun goal for Floriana's second and final goal.