Valletta move closer to title

Leaders Valletta moved a step closer towards securing the twentieth championship in the history of the club as they defeated Hamrun Spartans 5-0.

In fact, this win puts the Citizens just three points away from the title. A win which extended their unbeaten record to twenty-four matches.

For the Spartans, who are still anchored at the bottom of the Championship Pool, this was the fourth consecutive defeat. However for this game, coach Steve D’Amato could not count on his best formation considering the absence of the injured Jovan Vukanic, Rupert Mangion, Lee James Agius and Dene Shields among others besides on-loan midfielder Dyson Falzon who had scored twice in the previous two encounters with his former team.

On the other hand, Denni Rocha Dos Santos was back for Valletta after missing the last game against Tarxien while Ian Zammit was still missing.

The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on the 12th minute when a Roderick Briffa effort from the right was blocked by goalkeeper Omar Borg. Five minutes later, Denni headed wide off a cross by by Edmond Agius from the right. The Hamrun custodian then palmed out into a corner a corner from the left by Briffa.

Valletta took the lead on the 25th minute thanks to a direct freekick by Denni Rocha Dos Santos which was not held by Omar Borg.

Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com

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Just before half-time, Andrade Antunes Anderson and Roderick Briffa went close to increasing the lead with shots from inside the area which however ended high.

Roderick Briffa doubled the score twenty-three seconds in the second half when he placed the ball at the back of the net following a cross by Anderson from the right.

Antunes Anderson then received a good pass on the right, rounded a defender but his rising shot was deflected into a corner on 57 minutes.

In a counter-attack for Valletta led by two substitutes, Gilbert Agius served Terence Scerri whose low shot was blocked by a defender on 69 minutes. Seven minutes later, following an inviting cross by Agius from the right, Terence Scerri headed the ball incredibly wide.

Edmond Agius increased the lead for Valletta on 79 minutes when he received a good pass from the left and hit low past Omar Borg.

Three minutes later, Edmond Agius made it 4-0 for the Citizens with a great rising shot which saw the ball ending in the top left corner.

Roderick Briffa scored the fifth goal four minutes from time as he hit the ball from close range when served by Steve Borg from the right.

Roderick Briffa was voted BOV Player of the Match.

Photos (below): Copyright © James Galea – www.fotoincmalta.com

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VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Ramon Dos Santos, Edmond Agius, Jamie Pace (65’ Gilbert Agius), Roderick Briffa, Denni Rocha Dos Santos (80’ Kevin Sammut), Andrade Antunes Anderson (65’ Terence Scerri), Ryan Fenech.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Kurt Magro, Omonigho Temile, Kenneth Scicluna.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst. Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

HAMRUN Omar Borg, Steve Bonnici, Karl Magro, Roderick Fenech, Massimo Grima, David Camilleri (85’ Craig Debattista), Mead Mifsud (21’ Glen Azzopardi), Nikola Chipev, Gaetan Spiteri (81’ Peter Anizoba), Marcelo Pereira, Dylan Kokavessis.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Dragan Milovic, Chris Cardona.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Asst. Coach: Victor Cassar

Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Glenn Tonna
Yellow Cards: S. Bonnici
Scorers: 25’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos, 46’ Roderick Briffa, 79′ Edmond Agius, 82′ Edmond Agius, 86′ Roderick Briffa
Attendance: 1,767