Tarxien Rainbows retain their Premier League status after beating Żejtun Corinthians

In a dramatic relegation / promotion play-off, Tarxien secured a narrow 1-0 win over Żejtun Corinthians that was enough to make sure that they will play in the Premier League during next season.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Żejtun controlled possession during the first five minutes, but were unable to create any chances on goal. On the other hand, Tarxien remained deep in their defensive half.

However, in their first chance on goal, Tarxien forged ahead on the 8th minute. Samba Tounkara delivered the ball towards James Brincat on the left side of the penalty area and the latter placed the ball past Dunstan Zarb.

Brincat had a good chance to increase Tarxien’s advantage on the 16th minute. Tounkara went on a good run down the right flank and delivered the ball towards Ricardo Faria. The Brazilian midfielder had a chance to conclude but preferred to pass the ball towards the unmarked Brincat whose shot was blocked by Zarb.

The post denied Tarxien on the 37th minute. Tounkara sent an excellent cross towards Tounkara whose header stamped off the post.

Żejtun hit back on the 40th minute. Carabott received the ball from Adam Smeir and fired a shot from outside the penalty area that went slightly wide.

The First Division side started the second half looking to equalise and went close on the hour mark. Junki Sato received the ball in an ideal position on the left side of the penalty area but finished over from close range.

Two minutes later, Johan Castano sent a cross from the edge of the penalty area that was neutralised by Andrea Cassar.

Cassar was on the alert to deny Żejtun from equalising on the 64th minute. Sato delivered a great ball towards Castano whose close range header forced an excellent save from Tarxien’s custodian.

Tarxien’s game took a setback on the 77th minute as Gabriel Aquilina was sent off after being shown his second yellow card of the match.

Żejtun were also reduced to ten men on the 84th minute. Substitute Elland Vella was given his marching orders after being cautioned for the second time.

Despite this red card, Żejtun pushed hard during the final stages of the match. However, their efforts were in vain as Tarxien held firm to make sure that they will be retaining their Premier League status.

Tarxien Rainbows starting line-up: Andrea Cassar, Andrew Agius, Gabriel Aquilina, Ebiabowei Baker, James Brincat, Sean Cipriott (Godwin Mackay – 71), Luke Grech, Stefan Radovanovic, Ricardo Faria (Wellington De Oliveira – 90), Andre Scicluna, Samba Tounkara

Żejtun Corinthians starting line-up: Dunstan Zarb, Diego Albanese, Yessous Camilleri, Adrian Carabott, Johan Castano, Omar El Hussieny, Brooke Farrugia, Clayton Giordimaina (Gianluca Sultana – 81), Junki Sato, Adam Smeir (Elland Vella – 58), Neil Tabone (Ryan Dalli – 85)

Referee: Stefan Pace

Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Duncan Sultana

Fourth Official: William Debattista