Vittoriosa Stars kept their premiership survival hopes alive with a 3-1 win over bottom side Rabat Ajax.

Leading after only 20 minutes, Vittoriosa went through a difficult period when Rabat equalised but they quickly regained their composure to score two more goals and secure a vital win that takes them two points clear of Qormi who meet Naxxar Lions tomorrow.

Rabat created the first scoring chance after four minutes. Diego Carrillo Pendas advanced on the left before sending in a perfect cross towards Ryan Micallef whose low effort saved Mario Muscat in the Vittoriosa goal.

Carrillo Pendas was Rabat's most dangerous player in the early stages. On 10 minutes, the Spaniard cut in from the left but his swerving cross-shot sailed wide of the far post.

Vittoriosa Stars should have taken the lead on 14 minutes when Gilbert Martin's cross from the right was headed on by Marcelo Pereira towards Leonardi Torri but the Italian's scrambled effort was blocked by Pavle Velimirovic, the Rabat goalkeeper.

Velimirovic made a better save on 19 minutes as he beat away a menacing Felipe Aguiar drive from the distance.

It was Vittoriosa who nosed ahead on 21 minutes. Pereira burst clear on the right wing before supplying an inch-perfect pass to Guerrero who prodded past Velimirovic.

Martin threatened to double Vittoriosa's lead but his shot was wide.

Vittoriosa were now on top.

A minute short of the half-hour, Agiuar was close with another powerful drive that sailed past the upright.

At the other end, the woodwork came to Vittoriosa's rescue as Carrillo Pendas's free-kick came off the far post.

Three minutes from half-time, Rabat were saved by two last-ditch interventions from Shaun Gauci and Carapic who blocked dangerous shots by Guerrero and Martin.

On the stroke of half-time, Guerrero sent his shot against the side-netting after good work by Pereira.

The second half was three minutes old when Rabat came close to an equaliser. Micallef dribbled his way into the box before passing to Malcolomn Licari who managed to flick the ball past a defender but Muscat came out to block.

Rabat levelled eight minutes into the second half. Carrillo Pendas's cross from the right was partially cleared by the Vittoriosa defenders, the ball falling to Bajada whose well-struck volley sailed into the top corner.

Vittoriosa regained the lead on 62 minutes. Guerrero charged into the box from the left before squaring to Carl Sammut, who had just come on as a substitute. The former Pietà winger made no mistake, hitting past Velimirovic.

Midway into the second half, Rabat nearly made it 2-2 but Borg headed marginally wide from Carrillo Pendas's corner.

With 16 minutes left, Guerrero veered infield from the right before passing to Pereira whose tame effort was blocked by Gauci.

Vittoriosa sealed the win 10 minutes from time. Guerrero had all the time and space he needed to lay the ball back to Martin who in turn passed to Pereira with the Brazilian steering the ball into the net.

Guerrero, the Vittoriosa Stars forward, was named BOV player of the match.

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