Sta Luċija 0
Żebbuġ Rangers 4

Żebbuġ Rangers coach Clive Mizzi heaped praise on his players after they produced a stunning performance to brush aside promotion challengers Sta Luċija on Monday.

Sta Luċija’s Jurgen Suda (right) sees his cross blocked by Brandon Muscat. Photo: Chris Sant FournierSta Luċija’s Jurgen Suda (right) sees his cross blocked by Brandon Muscat. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Goals from Caetano Da Silva, Dion Fava, Randall Vella and Thiago Rodrigo Dos Santos earned the Rangers a stunning victory that lifted them away from the relegation places as they are now tenth in the standings on 18 points, two points clear of the play-out spot.

On the other hand, Sta Luċija’s hopes of playing top-flight football next season suffered a blow as they have slipped to third place on 30 points and must recover their poise quickly if they are to win one of two automatic promotions slots.

“What a game and what a performance,” an elated Mizzi told the Times of Malta.

“I believe that we continued from where left off against Gudja United last week. It’s true that we lost that match but we were unlucky to return home empty-handed after conceding a goal in stoppage time.

“This time it was our day, and we could have easily scored a couple of goals more as we had the better chances and hit the post twice.”

Mizzi said that the loss of Brandon Paiber, who joined Floriana in the January transfer window, is having a big effect on Sta Luċija’s recent struggles as the Saints conceded their second successive defeat.

“I think that Sta Luċija players are still coming to terms with their defeat to Żejtun, which was their first of the season,” Mizzi said.

“Added to that they lost a key player in Paiber who moved to Floriana and since his departure they are struggling to find their balance.

“Up to a few weeks ago, they were the team to watch, playing some entertaining and eye-catching football. But it’s all gone now. It looks like it’s a case of one player making all the difference.

“If they don’t make amends to their set-up their hopes of promotion could be in real danger.”

Marco Glumac, the Sta Luċija coach, has a completely different view of the situation though and says it’s more about the fact that his team are struggling psychologically.

“Mentally we’re not ok and we have to improve on that aspect,” Glumac said.

“It’s a question of starting to believe in ourselves again, and we have to win our next match, or else we’re in trouble. We took a couple of days off training and start moving again on Wednesday, this bad patch has to end,” Glumac said.

“We again gave away a penalty, which this time was, contrary to what happened against Żejtun the previous week where the referee gave a very dubious penalty.

“Against Żebbuġ it was a poor performance and I expect a strong response from the players to ensure we get back on track.”

Żebbuġ dominated proceedings in the first half and were unlucky not to take the lead on 28 minutes when Hubert Vella’s thumping drive graced the crossbar.

Żebbuġ forged ahead on 37 minutes. Gregori De Souza Braga beat two defenders but was upended in the area by Caruana.From the spot, Da Silva made no mistake.

De Souza was unlucky three minutes into the second half when he moved past three opponents but his shot came off the upright.

But Żebbuġ were not to be denied and they doubled the lead courtesy of a Dion Fava half volley.

Sta Luċija looked down and out and Żebbuġ added a third on the hour. Da Silva’s header was somehow kept out by the Saints defence but Vella was on hand to poke the ball home.

Żebbuġ sealed the points 20 minutes from time when Dos Santos beat Caruana with a low drive.

Sta Luċija: R. Caruana, M. Caruana, J. Usaga Mendoza (83 L. Mosquera Segura), P. Lapira, N. Micallef, J. Suda, P. Teixeira Maia (69 M. Guillari), K. Pulo, Y. Handa (46 K. Ante Rosero), L. Galea, D. Vukovic.

Żebbuġ: J. Borg, D. Fava, S. Schembri, R. Vella, H. Vella (82 S. Darmanin), S. Buhagiar, B. Muscat (87 D. Pace), T. Dos Santos, J. Caetano Da Silva (85 R. Micallef), J. Farrugia, G. De Sousa Braga.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit

Best Player: Gregori De Souza Braga (Żebbuġ Rangers).

Marsa 0
Mqabba 2

Marsa: K. Brincat, S. Zampa, R. Gatt De Raffaele, L. Ciantar, Y. Camilleri, S. Camilleri (55 L. Friggieri), J. Lovegrove, D. Agius, O. Cristiani, H. Kawamura (55 I. Aniyaso), A. Watanabe (71 J. Theuma)

Mqabba: F. Tabone, N. Micallef, R. Da Silva Gomes, F. Gusman, D. Azzopardi, W. Borg, B. Grech (23 C. Vella), D. Micallef (74 C. Cutajar), A. Ferreira, J. Martins Da Silva, G. Micallef (89 L. Meli).

Referee: Glen Tonna

Scorer: Dos Santos Ferreira 7, 13.

Best Player: Aleksandro Dos Santos Ferreira (Mqabba).

Żejtun Corinthians 1
Naxxar Lions 4

Żejtun:  G. Zammit, C. Giordemaina, I. Azzopardi, J.A. Meira, A. Carabott, A. Smeir (57 R. Spiteri), J. Castano, D. Albanese (70 D. Andelkovic), N. Tabone, A. Farrugia (76 G. Sultana), G. Azzopardi.

Naxxar Lions: O. Borg, M. Fenech, M. Mifsud, E. Cerqueira Farias (90 P. Ellul), J. Debono, R. Cassar, J. Ellul, A. Buhagiar (74 C. Bugeja), S. Nanapere, B. Essel, S. Meilak.

Referee: Emanuel Grech.

Scorers: Ellul (N) 9; Nanapere (N) 21; Castano (Ż) 30; Farias (N) 80, Debono (N) 84.

Red card: Giordimaina (Ż) 88.

Best Player: Edson Farias (Naxxar Lions).

Lija Athletic 2
San Ġwann 0

Lija: L. Bonnici, C. Cassar, M. Clinch (68 A. Galea), L. Muscat, D. Scerri, A. Borg, C. Gauci, A. Azzopardi (79 P. Dandolo), K. Kuroki, A. Bello Osagie (85 D. Mintoff), E. Beu.

San Ġwann: M. Mestrovic, J. Bowman, A. Borg (89 J.P. Attard), C. Gauci, R. Zammit, A. Cachia (74 L. Mallia), J. Grech, M.N. Ferreira, J. Tanti, S. Hili (87 C. Stewart), A. Renan.

Referee: Shaun Calleja.

Scorers: Beu 62; Bello Osagie 79.

Best Player: Erjon Beu (Lija Athletic).

Qrendi 1
Sirens 4

Qrendi: J. Farrugia, M. Farrugia, B. Bondin, Z. Bowman (87 D. Zarb), D. Martini, M. Busuttil, C. Caruana, M. Barbara (73 K. Abela), C. Quaranta, J. Silva Silveira, L. Brincat (61 J. Spiteri).

Sirens: M. Montfort, D. Sant, P.K. Farrugia, R. Mandic, G. Gesualdi, R. Grech, C. Gauci (78 A. Curmi), M. Del Negro (55 R. Fenech), A.F. Marquinho, I. Adeshina, L. Mijic (55 M.A. Bustos).

Referee: Ishmael Barbara

Scorers: Adeshina (S) 10; Fausto Silveira (Q) 63;  Gesualdi (S) 82; Bustos (S) 89; Marquinho (S) 90.

Red card: Bondin (Q) 81.

Best player: Antonio Filho Marquinho (Sirens).

Swieqi 0
Pembroke 2

Swieqi: J.C. Debattista, K. Muscat, K. Sultana (73 C. Bugeja), L. Cassar, M. Farrugia, M. Vella, L. Scicluna, J. Scerri, N. Schembri (56 L. Covic), I.A. Margarit (66 K. Ekezie), V. Olowoyo Kayode.

Pembroke: P. Schranz, M.A. Borg, G. Azzopardi (82 A. Mizzi), Z. Grech, G.C. Da Silva, B. Muscat, T. Fenech, J. Pedrinho, Y. Tonna, E. Cascado (73 I. Misan), K. Borg (84 J.P. Mifsud Triganza).

Referee: Daniel Portelli

Scorers: Vallecillo 10; Tonna 16.

Best Player: Yanis Tonna (Pembroke).

Vittoriosa 2
Gudja United 5

Vittoriosa: C. Cassar, D. Zampa, C. Spiteri (24 D. Tabone), J. Bugeja, A. Cilia Mumford (59 D. Pisani), T. Abela Wilson, I. Curmi (68 K. Degorgio), N. Ojuola, P. Papadakis, L. Casha, J. Ogunuppe.

Gudja: J. Debono, J. Bondin, J. Farrugia, L. Martinelli, E. Vella, F. Aboulezz, J. Lima, L. Cremona (80 M. Bonnici), L, Schembri (68 A. Mizzi), D. Santos da Hora (76 L. Micallef); R. Kooh-Sohna.

Referee: Paul Toledo

Scorers: Santos da Hora (G) 13; Schembri (G) 35; Ogunuppe (V) 45 pen., 89 pen.; Bondin (G) 63; Aboulezz (G) 65; Kooh Sohna (G) 76.

Best Player: Aboulezz Firas (Gudja).

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