Substitute Jamie Carbone struck at the death to snatch a late winner for Santa Lucia and keep them ahead of their rivals in the Premier League relegation places.
Carbone dashed Roberto Sanchez’s hopes of prising a point for Żebbuġ after he had equalised Robert Bairam’s opener for Santa Lucia.
Santa Lucia got off to a dream start when they went ahead after just 20 seconds through a Robert Bairam strike. The Romanian midfielder picked up a low shat and turned sharply before firing past Jamie Azzopardi.
On the half-hour, torrential rain swept across the Centenary Stadium drenching the players for most of the match.
On 36 minutes, Bairam gave the illusion of goal as his diagonal shot flashed against the side-netting.
Żebbuġ started the second half with the wind blowing from behind their backs and pressed forward for long stretches. In the 50th minute, Almir de Jesus Maldonado was denied by a saving challenge from Matthew Calleja Cremona.
On the hour mark, Żebbuġ were awarded a corner and Roberto Enrique Sanchez’s inswinger eluded the Santa Lucia defence with the ball bouncing inside the back of the net.
Santa Lucia midfielder Yevhenii Terzi had a chance to put them back in front seven minutes later but he slammed a volley against the crossbar with Jamie Azzopardi beaten.
Vincenzo Potenza’s side piled forward in the closing stages. Miguel Alba’s effort was parried superbly by Azzopardi but the rebound fell into the path of Terzi whose acrobatic strike from close range finished wide.
Santa Lucia continued to have the better opportunities and Francisco Farias illuminated the game, demonstrating his strength and ability to run with the ball he twisted past Wilker in the box but his effort was blocked by Leandro Almeida.
When the game was destined for a draw, substitute Jamie Carbone controlled the ball, turned well leaving his marker for dead and hitting a low drive behind Azzopardi.
Żebbuġ defender Wilker was given his marching orders just before the end of the match.
SANTA LUCIA 2
Bairam 1, Carbone 90
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS 1
SANTA LUCIA M. Calleja Cremona-5, Y. Soares Fonesca-6, N. Pulis-6, R. Bairam-7, R. Hehedosh-4 (46 M. Alba-6), L. Bah-5 (85 J. Carbone), D. Xuereb-6, J. Pisani-6, F. Farias-6, R. Soares-6, Y. Terzi-6.
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS J. Azzopardi-5, S. Bugeja-5 (80 J. Sciberras), L. Almeida-5, Wilker, A. Mizzi-5 (86 R. Vella), S. Jankovic-5, C. Lokoli Ngoy-4, E. Sanchez-6, Jeferson-5 (72 S. Miloskovic), A. Maldonado-6 (86 K. Bondin), J.Gesualdi-5.
Referee Darryl Agius.
Yellow cards Maldonado, Bah, Terzi, Wilker, Vella, Pulis.
Red Card Wilker (Żebbuġ Rangers) 90.
BOV player of the match Robert Bairam (Santa Lucia).
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