Champions Hibernians moved back on top the BOV Premier League table as a goal by Jorge Santos Silva enabled them to beat Valletta 1-0 at the National Stadium and extend their unbeaten run to five matches.
For the Citizens, this was the second consecutive defeat after losing to Balzan on Saturday. They are now fourth on nine points, together with Floriana.
Photo: Copyright © Jonathan Bugeja
Valletta welcomed back Henry Bonello and Romeu Romao who had missed the game against Balzan. They were named in the starting line-up along with Llywelyn Cremona, replacing Nicky Vella, Jhonnattann and Roderick Briffa. Hibernians, on the other hand, had the same team which defeated Tarxien on Sunday as Denni served the second of his two-match ban.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal with a powerful drive by Andrew Cohen tipped into a corner by Bonello on the 13th minute.
Two minutes later, Hibernians took the lead thanks to a great attempt by Jorge Santos Silva from outside the area which gave the Valletta goalkeeper no chance.
Five minutes from half-time, Rodolfo Soares went close with a close-range header, off a cross from the right, with the ball hitting the upright and the goalkeeper before ending into a corner.
Substitute Roderick Briffa went close for Valletta with a good shot from outside the area but Rudy Briffa performed a good save turning the ball into a corner.
Jorginho almost doubled the score on the 72nd minute but Henry Bonello intercepted the ball in time before the Brazilian striker could hit home off an inviting pass by Jorge Santos.
Njongo Priso and Federico Falcone failed to connect from just in front of the goalkeeper five minutes from time following a cross from the right.
HIBS Rudy Briffa, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen (78′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Andrei Agius, Jorge da Silva Pereira, Jorge Santos Silva (86′ Jonathan Pearson).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Jurgen Degabriele, Zach Scerri, Dunstan Vella, Joseph Essien Mbong.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana (36′ Roderick Briffa), Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Cruz Gill, Albert Bruce (72′ Abdelkarim Nafti), Njongo Priso, Federico Matias Falcone, Llywelyn Cremona (80′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Claudio Pani, Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Russell Fenech, Jean Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Luke Portelli
Additional Assistant Referees: Glen Tonna, Philip Farrugia
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Bruce, Dias, Gatt Baldacchino, Pani, Jorge Santos
Scorers: 15′ Jorge Santos Silva
BOV Player of the Match: Marcelo Dias
Attendance at the National Stadium: 2,127
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Sliema Wanderers and Qormi earned a point each as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw.
For Qormi, this was the second positive result after collecting their first three points in a win over St. Andrews on Saturday while Sliema obtained a third consecutive positive result which however leaves them in eighth place.
The Wanderers had one change from the team which defeated Mosta as Pedrinho replaced the injured Mark Scerri. On the other hand, Clifford Gauci replaced Joseph Chetcuti for Qormi.
Sliema held the initiative for long stretches but Qormi adopted a perfect defensive plan which kept the Blues at bay to take one point home.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat (74′ Marko Potezica), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Johann Bezzina, Kerlon Moura Souza (64′ Aidan Jake Friggieri), Gary Muir, Stefano Bianciardi (83′ John Mintoff), Luke Dimech, Michael Mifsud, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Benjamin Essel, Ryan Dalli, Michele Sansone.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
QORMI Andreas Vella, Alessio Cassar, Ousmane Sidibe, Noah Olawole Ojuola, Billy Berntsson, Steve Agius, Kurt Magro (85′ Terence Vella), Carlo Gordon Monti, Clifford Gauci, Ryan Micallef (77′ Joseph Chetcuti), Alex Nilsson (90′ Emerson Vella).
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Gilmore Azzopardi, Juan Carlos Peixoto Vieira, Clint Barbara.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Muscat, Dimech, Gatt Baldacchino, Chetcuti, Pedrinho
BOV Player of the Match: Andreas Vella
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 436