Valletta registered a third consecutive 2-0 win as goals by Hamza Barry and Abdelkarim Nafti enabled them to beat ten-man Zebbug Rangers. The Citizens therefore close in on Birkirkara who however have a game in hand.
For Zebbug, this was the seventh defeat in eleven matches, therefore remaining anchored at the bottom of the table.
Gilbert Agius and Ivan Zammit opted to start with the same set of players which had started the last game against Balzan as Hugo Faria was once again unavailable. For Zebbug, Alfonso Greco kept faith in the same team which drew with Qormi last Monday.
Zebbug had the first attempt at goal on the 19th thanks to Carlo Monti’s rising shot which just missed the target.
Two minutes later, Valletta took the lead when they were awarded a penalty after Raphael Kooh Sohna was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Hamza Barry converted.
The Ranges were reduced to ten men on 26 minutes as Thomas Paris was sent off after a rough tackle on Roderick Briffa.
The Citizens doubled the score nine minutes in the second half thanks to Abdelkarim Nafti who lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Fabricio Rapchan from inside the area.
On 63 minutes, the Zebbug goalkeeper palmed out into a corner a good effort by Hamza Barry and four minutes later, he blocked into another corner a fierce shot by Alex Terra.
Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
ZEBBUG Fabricio Rapchan dos Santos Morales, Jacob Borg, Yessous Camilleri, Javier Diaz Serrano, Matthew Gauci, Matias Muchardi, Thomas Paris, Clifford Gauci (71′ Melvin Farrugia), Matthew Gauci, Matthew Bartolo, Mauricio Rodrigues Britto (62′ John Ogechukwu Nwoba), Carlo Monti (85′ Miguel Ciantar)
Subs not used: Luke Pace, Lee Galea, Lee James Agius, Ratko Mandic.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Steve Borg (61′ Luke Dimech), Ryan Camilleri, Ryan Fenech, Raphael Kooh Sohna (36′ Alex Barboza Terra), Roderick Briffa, Lateef Elford-Alliyu, Hamza Barry (72′ Luke Montebello), Abdelkarim Nafti.
Coach: Yenz Cini, Shaun Bajada, Llywelyn Cremona, Ian Zammit.
Coach: Gilbert Agius
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow cards: Kooh Sohna, S. Borg
Red Cards: 26′ Thomas Paris
Scorers: 21′ Hamza Barry, 54′ Abdelkarim Nafti
BOV Player of the Match: Hamza Barry