A superior Gzira United inflicted on Sliema a first defeat after two consecutive wins.
It was a deserved win for Darren Abdilla’s troops who dominated from the start till the end.
Sliema who were reduced to ten men at half-time and missed penalty, surely felt they deserved something better but ultimately they paid for a lame showing.
The early probing came from Gzira United. Haruna Garba’s header on Juan Corbalan’s cross sailed off target with Jake Galea looking on.
Yet in a sudden foray, Sliema went close midway through the opening half when Frank Temile rounded up an excellent choral move with a scorcher which was stopped stylishly by Justin Haber.
Gzira were finally rewarded for their persistence shy the half hour mark when Amadou Samb broke down the left, and his low cross was diverted into his own net by an attempted sliding block from Stefano Biancardi.
The Blues’ reaction was spontaneous. A triangular move had Nii Nortey Ashong cutely serving the As the players left the field for half-time, Ryan Fenech was sent-off for insulting comments to the assistant referee.
After the interval, the Blues were still up against it, despite their numerical handicap and their flimsy deficit scorewise. And ten minutes after the break, Jefferson twisted his way through before being brought down by Rodolfo Soares.
Referee Malcolm Spiteri whistled the penalty but Sliema fans optimism turned into despair when Mattias Mucciardi’s shot was repelled by Haber.
The Maroons wanting to put their minds at rest through at least another goal, pushed forward on impetus. Amadou Samb turned hero for Gzira shy the hour mark. He was served just inside his opponents’ half and picking up sudden acceleration, went on a mazy run past a couple of opponents before delivering a venomous shot past Jake Galea.