Sliema strike late to earn hard-fought victory
A late winner by Marko Potezica gave Sliema Wanderers some respite as they recovered from a goal down to beat Tarxien Rainbows with two second half goals.
Tarxien went ahead on the quarter hour through Baker and maintained their lead for a whole hour only to concede goals from Salomon and Potezica after twice hitting the woodwork.
Tarxien went into this fixture on a two-match winning streak and were boosted by the return of Sergio Prendes from suspension.
Meanwhile, following their abject performance and defeat against St Andrews in midweek, Sliema coach John Buttigieg deemed it fit to drop three players namely Beppe Muscat, Aiden Friggieri and Milos Galin and replaced them with Gabriel Aquilina, Peter Xuereb and Jean Paul Farrugia.
Sliema looked to have settled early into the game and looked assured in possession but Tarxien’s breaks on the counter were always an embarrassment for the Wanderers.
Within the first quarter hour the Rainbows had won three corners.
The first, taken by Ponce, was headed narrowly over by Baker.
The second proved unproductive but the third, on the quarter hour, brought about Tarxien’s lead.
Caruana took the kick from the left, Aquilina tried to clear the ball which reached Ebiabowei Baker who beat keeper Zammit with a header at the far post.
For all their possession, Sliema failed to trouble Andrea Cassar, back in the Tarxien goal yesterday as most of their attacks were stifled on the edge of the Tarxien area.
On a deep Muir cross, Muchardi headed well over.
Tarxien carved out two other good opportunities before the half hour.
Ponce ran in to connect to an Alves cross from the right but keeper Zammit blcoked into another corner.
On a Ponce cross, Nilsson’s header went off target.
Sliema’s defending again looked tame on 40 minutes when keeper Zammit lost the ball to Ponce as he tried to kick it upfield.
It rolled towards Nilsson, whose effort was blocked by Zammit as he scrambled back in goal.
Sliema went closest one minute before the break when a Muchardi direct free kick thumped against the bar.
Sliema tried to push forward after the restart, probing for an equaliser. They even won several corners. But Tarxien threatened on 50 minutes as Alves’ cross from the right was met by Ponce at the far side with his effort clipping the far post.
Sliema were rewarded with an equaliser past the hour.
Muscat played a through ball for Wisdom Salomon to run in between two opponents and beat keeper Cassar.
Three minutes later, theTarxien shot stopper did well to put a hand to Farrugia’s shot that hit the upright and rebounded into play.
Tarxien coach Jacques Scerri sent in Claudio Frances for Marcelina. At that juncture it was still anybody’s game.
Muir tested keeper Cassar with a long drive and on 81 minutes Tarxien again were denied by the woodwork as Nilsson advanced from the left but his shot rebounded against the post.On the other end, Muchardi, put through by Farrugia, saw keeper Cassar rush off his line to block.
But just as the game looked to be heading for a stalemate, Sliema came up with their moment of magic.
Five minutes from the end, substitute Spiteri’s corner from the left was deflected at the far end for the unmarked Marko Potezica to shoot in from close range and break Tarxien’s hearts.
Alex Nilsson of Tarxien Rainbows (right) goes past Alex Muscat of Sliema Wanderers (left) Photo: Domenic Aquilina