Hibernians made it six straight wins out six when they beat Qormi 4-1 to stay atop the BOV Premier League table with a maximum 18 points. Sliema Wanderers follow on 14; while Birkirkara beat bitter rivals Valletta by a solitary goal to leapfrog over the Citizens into third place.
Hibs were already ahead against Qormi after 35 seconds with an Edison Luis dos Santos ‘Tarabai’ header; and three minutes later Clayton Failla made it two-up. Further goals by Tarabai on 27 minutes and Rodolfo Soares midway through the second half put the issue beyond any doubt. Jorge Pereira da Silva pulled one back for Qormi four minutes from time after Hibs had Jean Paul Farrugia sent off. For Qormi it’s the fifth defeat in six outings.
Hibernians’ closest challengers Sliema Wanderers beat Old Firm rivals Floriana 1-0 with wonder-strike by their nigerian striker Stanley Ohawuchi, once again the Blues’ hero, his eighth goal so far this season. It came after 19 minutes when Ohawuchi exchanged the ball with Bello-Osagie and unleashed a powerful volley which beat Hanford between the Floriana posts all ends up. Ohawuchi came close again after the break but his effort hit the post with the goalie beaten.
The match of the weekend was definitely the clash between champions Birkirkara and Valletta, BOV Premier League winners the previous two seasons. The first 45 minutes were very fast-paced, with efforts both ends, the Stripes eventually taking the lead through a Jesus Camilleri own-goal after a totally miscued sortie by Valletta goalkeeper from a Haruna Shola Shodiya cross, Jhonnattann getting part of the credit as he rose high for the ball with Camilleri. Valletta came close to an equalizer through a header from the same Camilleri, with B’Kara custodian Justin Haber effecting a fine save on the goal-line with the aid of the upright. The additional referee was perfectly placed to see the ball did not go over the line. Birkirkara missed several good opportunities in the second half but held on to their slim lead nevertheless for three precious points which keep the pressure on pace-setters Hibernians who had got the better of the Stripes the previous weekend with a similar 1-0 scoreline.
In the weekend’s other matches, Mosta beat Naxxar Lions 4-2 in the local derby; first letting a 2-0 lead slip but then scoring another two goals in the second half. Vittoriosa Stars claimed a second win this season, defeating Rabat 1-0 to keep the Ajax pointless at the bottom of the table. Tarxien Rainbows finally beat Balzan 3-1. The full table, after each team has played six matches, sees Hibernians first with 18 points; followed by Sliema on 14; Birkirkara 13; Valletta and Mosta 12; Naxxar, Vittoriosa and Tarxien 7; Balzan 4; Qormi 3, Floriana (who started with a 6-point penalty) 1; Rabat 0.