Comfortable wins for Valletta, Birkirkara

Valletta maintained their unbeaten record with the ninth win in twelve matches as they registered a most comfortable 4-0 win over Qormi. A win which enables the Citizens to move ten points clear on top the BOV Premier League table.

Denni Rocha Dos Santos was missing for Valletta after suffering a concussion during the last game. On the other hand, Qormi lacked Roderick Sammut, Jason Lee Vandelannoite, Kosta Bjedov, Abubakar Bello-Osagie and the suspended Kang Hojung.

The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on the 5th when Omonigho Temile, served by Kevin Sammut from the right, had a shot from the edge of the area ending just over the bar.

Valletta took the lead on the 11th when off an inviting pass by Kevin Sammut from the right, Terence Scerri hit home from close range.

Omonigho Temile then missed a good opportunity, hitting wide from an ideal position inside the area, following a fine pass by Jamie Pace on 23 minutes. On the hour hour, Qormi replied with a Cleavon Frendo cross from the right but no one failed to connect.

Ten minutes from the end of the first half, Valletta doubled the score thanks to a direct freekick by Gilbert Agius which beat goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia with the ball ended in the top right corner.

Three minutes later, Terence Scerri made it 3-0 when off a cross from the right by Kevin Sammut, he rounded a defender before hitting past the Qormi goalkeeper.

In stoppage time, a powerful shot by Gilbert Agius was blocked by goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.

Five minutes in the second half, Kevin Sammut increased the lead further with a shot from outside the area which hit the foot of the post before ending at the back of the net.

Substitute goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri turned into a corner a cross shot from the right by Roderick Briffa on 72 minutes. Two minutes later, Joseph Chetcuti missed an excellent opportunity hitting high from the edge of the area.

Finally a Gilbert Agius direct freekick was turned into a corner by Camilleri.

Terence Scerri was voted BOV Player of the Match.

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QORMI Matthew Farrugia (46’ Matthew Camilleri), Stefan Giglio, Matthew Bartolo, Keith Fenech, Joseph Chetcuti, Joseph Farrugia, Ben Camilleri, George Mallia, Jonathan Bondin, Cleavon Frendo (77’ Steve Agius), Michael Borg Olivier (41’ Gabriel Buttigieg).
Subs not used: Gaetano Gesualdi, George Chircop, Carmelo Farrugia, Jurgen Gerada.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Assistant Coach: Charles Scerri

VALLETTA Andrew Hogg (57’ Nicky Vella), Roderick Briffa, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Gilbert Agius, Kevin Sammut (69’ Edmond Agius), Omonigho Temile (62’ Dyson Falzon), Terence Scerri, Ian Zammit, Jamie Pace.
Subs not used: Kurt Magro, Joseph Okonkwo, Ramon Dos Santos, Dylan D’Agostino.
Coach: Nardu Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 11’ Terence Scerri, 35’ Gilbert Agius, 38’ Terence Scerri, 50’ Kevin Sammut

Meanwhile in the second match, Birkirkara defeated Hibernians 3-1 to join Tarxien in second place, ten points behind the leaders.

Hibernians, on the other hand, continue to disappoint, extending their winless streak to eleven matches.

Birkirkara lacked Andrew Decesare, Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Harding, Trevor Cilia and Terence Vella but Joseph Zerafa was back after serving a one-match ban. Missing for Hibernians were Ryan Camilleri, Adrian Pulis and Triston Caruana.

The Paolites had the first attempt at goal on the 7th when Paul McManus received a pass by Andrew Cohen and after having a first conclusion blocked by the goalkeeper, a second attempt was cleared into safety by Patrick Borg.

Birkirkara took the lead on 13 minutes when Michael Galea served Paul Fenech on the left and the latter hit low past Mario Muscat.

One minute later, the Stripes went close once again with Emiliano Lattes serving Shaun Bajada whose low shot was neutralised by the Hibernians goalkeeper.

Paul Fenech doubled the score on 25 minutes with a powerful shot from the right which gave Muscat no chance.

Four minutes later, Birkirkara scored the third goal when off a cross from the left by Thomas Paris, Emiliano Lattes slammed the ball home past the Hibs custodian.

In the second half, the Stripes tried to control their opponents with the latter creating isolated scoring opportunities. The best opportunity occurred on 69 minutes when Andrew Cohen had a shot from outside the area hitting the crossbar with goalkeeper Michael Fraser beaten.

On 78 minutes, Muscat performed a great save on a close-range effort by Paul Fenech when served from the right by Lattes.

Hibs reduced the gap on 79 minutes with substitute Steve Pisani beating Fraser with a fine shot.

Finally two minutes from time, a powerful shot by Lattes from the right was blocked by the Hibs goalkeeper.

Paul Fenech was voted BOV Player of the Match.

B’KARA Michael Fraser, Thomas Paris, Patrick Borg (65’ Simon Zahra), Rowen Muscat, Karl Pulo (74’ Alan Tabone), Shaun Bajada, Paul Fenech, Joseph Zerafa, Emiliano Lattes, Michael Galea (90’ Ryan Scicluna), Angus Buhagiar.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Ian Schembri, Fabian Zammit, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Branko Nisevic

HIBS Mario Muscat, Edward Herrera, Matthew Gauci (73’ Steve Pisani), Jonathan Pearson, Matt Clarke, Bjorn Kristensen, Richie Hart, Andrew Cohen, Paul McManus (60’ Paulo Sereno), Jean Paul Farrugia (61’ Warren Chircop), Zoran Levnajic.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Matthew Tabone, Aaron Xuereb, Yan Cauchi.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Edmond Lufi

Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Joseph Camilleri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: McManus, Zerafa, M. Galea
Scorers: 13’ Paul Fenech (B), 25’ Paul Fenech (B), 29’ Emiliano Lattes (B); 79’ Steve Pisani (H)
Attendance: 1,693