A goal in each half by forward Kyrian Nwoko handed ten-men Santa Lucia three crucial points against relegation rivals Pieta’ Hotspurs.
Led by Vincenzo Potenza, Santa Lucia have moved to 11 points, putting more daylight between them and the Hotspurs as there is now a six-point gap between the 13th and 14th-placed teams.
Santa Lucia created the first goal-scoring opportunity in what was an entertaining opening 45 minutes, full of chances on both ends.
Yevhenii Terzi forced Simone Moschin into an early save with an effort from the edge of the area.
The Hotspurs replied through Kian Leonardi whose shot went wide from Matthew Calleja Cremona’s goal.
Santa Lucia replied with a couple of efforts through Nicholas Paris and Terzi, but neither player could hand their side the lead in this game.
Armen Hovhannisyan came close to opening the score for the Hotspurs after beating goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona before his effort was cleared by Rodolfo Soares on the goal line.
Calleja Cremona came to his side’s rescue when he denied Pieta’s Hovhannisyan from a freekick.
Nwoko had a lobbed effort over Moschin that could have found its way into the net before Terzi tried his luck with a close-range shot but the Italian goalkeeper was alert to avert the danger.
Vincenzo Potenza’s side kept piling the pressure on their opponents and after Francisco Rodrigues’ header glanced past Moschin’s goal, Santa Lucia took the lead.
Malta International Nwoko drew first blood in this game when the Santa Lucia striker beat the offside trap to slot the ball into the near post.
On the brink of half-time, Robert Hehedosh came close to doubling Santa Lucia’s lead but Moschin managed to keep him at bay.
Pieta were given a golden opportunity to restore parity after the match official awarded the Hotspurs penalty for a Soares foul over Takuma Yamaguchi during an aerial duel between the two.
The Japanese could not convert immediately from the spot but despite blocking the effort, Calleja Cremona was beaten by the rebound. With Soares given the marching orders after a second yellow card, the onus was now on the Hotspurs to turn the game around.
They came close to scoring a second through Kian Leonardi whose volley went inches wide.
Nonetheless, it was Santa Lucia who once again found the net with forward Nwoko slotting calmly over Moschin.
SANTA LUCIA 2
Nwoko 39, 76
PIETA’ HOTSPURS 1
M. Calleja Cremona-7; L. Fonseca-5, N. Pulis-6, R. Bairam-5, K. Nwoko-7 (90 T. Rier), L. Blie-6 (90 D. Francarolli), J. Pisanj-6, F. Rodrigues-5 (70 D. Xuereb), R. Soares, Y. Terzi-6 (90 J. Zerafa), R. Hehedosh-6 (87 J. Tanti).
S. Moschin-7; S. Okoh-5, C. Bangura-5, T. Abraham-6, J. Ghio-6 (83 K. Catania), T. Agius-6, A. Hovhannisyan-6 (51 T. Yamaguchi-6), K. Leonardi-6 (88 I. Gatt), A. Wismayer-5 (83 I. Farrugia), Z. Leonardi-5, M. Rodrigues-5 (51 K. Briffa-6).
Referee Matthew De Gabriele.
Yellow cards Soares, Hovhannisyan, Abraham, Wismayer.
Red card Rodolfo Soares (Santa Lucia) 61.
BOV Player of the Match Kyrian Nwoko (Santa Lucia).
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