Tarxien Rainbows and Marsaxlokk earned a point each as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw – the first draw of the season.
The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the ninety minutes and all in all, a draw was a fair result.
Tarxien had five players making their debut namely Julian Vella, Orosco Anonam and Brazilians Ricardo Costa, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues and Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira. On the other hand, Marsaxlokk had Portuguese midfielder Ruben Alexandre Guerreiro Gravata making his first appearance. They also welcomed back Reuben Gauci and Carlo Mamo who were on loan with other clubs.
The Rainbows had a first attempt at goal after just one minute with a Gianluca Calabretta effort which was cleared into safety by Emil Yanchev. On the other side of the pitch, Julio Alcorse headed high off a cross from the right by Ruben Guerreiro on 25 minutes. Six minutes from the end of the first half, an acrobatic shot by Julio Alcorse was neutralised by Anthony Curmi.
On the hour, Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira had a shot from close range partially saved by Reuben Gauci. Off the rebound, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues placed the ball at the back of the net but the goal was disallowed for an offside. Marsaxlokk replied with a Martin Deanov effort from outside the area ending wide.
Julio Alcorse then tried his luck with a powerful shot from outside the area on 77 minutes following a good run on the right flank which however ended wide. Ten minutes later, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues missed a good opportunity for Tarxien when he had a good shot blocked by Reuben Gauci when alone in front of the goalkeeper.
One minute from time, an angled shot by Julio Alcorse was deflected by Orosco Anonam to hit the upright but the ball was then cleared into safety.
Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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TARXIEN Anthony Curmi, Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Gianluca Calabretta (68’ Sergio Hili), Ricardo Costa, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues, Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira (83’ Lee Galea), Julian Vella, Orosco Anonam, Ryan Grech (56’ Luke Vella Critien), Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Steve Sadowski, Warren Zerafa, Ryan Mintoff.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Carlo Mamo, Gareth Sciberras, Clive Brincat, Martin Deanov (80’ Trevor Templeman), Peter Pullicino, Malcolm Licari, Julio Alcorse, Rumen Galabov, Emil Yanchev, Ruben Alexandre Guerreiro Gravata (57’ Alfred Effiong).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Dylan Kokavessis, Andrew Spiteri, Sunday Eboh, Manuel Caruana.
Coach: Patrick Curmi
Referee Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Joe Camilleri, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Glenn Tonna
Yellow Cards: M. Caruana, C. Brincat, O. Anonam, E. Yanchev
In the second game, two substitutes scored two late goals as Valletta defeated ten-man Vittoriosa Stars 3-0.
The Stars gave a very good account of themselves especially with Brazilian duo Carlos Campagnoli and Edison Luis Dos Santos leaving a very good impression. However the dismissal of Compagnoli played an important part in the newly-promoted side’s downfall late in the game.
Vittoriosa had no less than eight new players, namely Simon Agius, Sharlon Pace, Stephen Wellman, Dino Cachia, Anthony Ewurum and Brazilians Carlos Campagnoli, Edison Luis Dos Santos and Jorge Santos Silva. Ian Azzopardi was making his first appearance for Valletta with Ramon Dos Santos, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Omonigho Temile and Jonathan Caruana making their league debut after playing for the Citizens arlier this season.
Valletta managed to take the lead after just one minute when Omonigho Temile concluded a good run on the right flank with a cross from which Kevin Sammut placed the ball at the back of the net.
The Stars replied with a cross by Stephen Wellman from which Edison Luis Dos Santos headed high on 11 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, Ian Azzopardi served Gilbert Agius whose conclusion ended wide three minutes later.
On 16 minutes, Jamie Pace tried his luck with a fierce shot from outside the area but was denied by the upright. Edison Luis Dos Santos then concluded a solo effort with a shot ending wide on 25 minutes.
On the half-hour, a shot from outside the area by Denni Rocha Dos Santos ended just wide. A minute later, on the other side of the pitch, Carlos Campagnoli served Anthony Ewurum on the left and the latter’s close-range effort was parried by Hogg.
Twelve minutes in the second half, Stephen Wellman managed to turn the ball into a corner following an inviting pass by Omonigho Temile from the right. Two minutes later, off a Edison Luis Dos Santos freekick from the right, Carlos Campagnoli headed just over the bar.
The Stars received a major setback on 64 minutes when Brazilian midfielder Carlos Campagnoli was sent off for a foul in midfield after receiving a yellow card earlier in the game.
Substitute Ian Zammit entered the penalty area from the right on 78 minutes but his conclusion was blocked by Wellman.
Three minutes later, Zammit was not to be denied as his direct freekick from the left beat goalkeeper Simon Agius for Valletta’s second goal.
Valletta sealed the issue with a third goal two minutes from time when a cross from the right by Denni Rocha Dos Santos was partially saved by Simon Agius and Dyson Falzon slammed the ball home.
Jamie Pace was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Roderick Briffa, Ramon Dos Santos, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Gilbert Agius, Omonigho Temile (82′ Dyson Falzon), Jamie Pace, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Kevin Sammut (73’ Ian Zammit), Terence Scerri (79’ Joseph Okonkwo).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Steve Borg, Kurt Magro, Edmond Agius.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
VITTORIOSA Simon Agius, Clayton Micallef (67’ Kevin Mifsud), Pierre Aquilina, Sharlon Pace, Jeffrey Chetcuti, Carlos Campagnoli, Edison Luis Dos Santos, Dino Cachia, Jorge Santos Silva (86’ Karl Sammut), Anthony Ewurum (80’ Leighton Grech), Stephen Wellman.
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Justin Camilleri, Jonathan Xerri, Johann Spiteri.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Alan Camilleri
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: J. Pace, C. Campagnoli, C. Micallef, Ramon, I. Azzopardi, E. Dos Santos
Red Cards: 64’ Campagnoli
Scorers: 1′ Kevin Sammut, 81′ Ian Zammit, 88′ Dyson Falzon