Federico Falcone scored twice on his return for Valletta as the champions hit five past Pembroke Athleta in a 5-1 win at the National Stadium on Saturday.
This was the third win for Valletta and the third defeat in as many matches for Pembroke Athleta.
Valletta had three changes from their last outing as goalkeeper Dziugas Bartkus, Jean Borg and Federico Falcone replaced Henry Bonello, Juan Cruz Gill and the suspended Claudio Pani. Pembroke coach Winston Muscat, on the other hand, replaced Matthew Calleja Cremona and Oleksandr Maksymov with Mario Muscat and Asani Djelijlj.
Valletta managed to take the lead on the 7th minute thanks to a powerful drive by Federico Falcone from the edge of the area which gave goalkeeper Mario Muscat no chance.
Four minutes from the end of the first half, the Citizens doubled the score when off a cross from the right by Romeu Romao, Federico Falcone beat the Pembroke goalkeeper for the second time.
Three minutes in the second half, off a cross by Jhonnattann from the left, the ball reached Romeu Romao who hit home from close range.
Jhonnattann was unlucky to hit the foot of the upright for Valletta with a shot from the edge of the area on the 56th.
Substitute Ian Azzopardi made it 4-0 on the the 77th minute when he blasted the ball past the Pembroke goalkeeper following a cross from the right by Jhonnattann, deflected by Umeh.
A minute later, Jhonnattann added another with a diagonal shot from the left which bet Muscat.
Seven minutes from time, Pembroke scored a consolation goal when off a freekick from the left by Mateus Regis da Silva, goalkeeper Dziugas Bartkus failed to block and Andrea Scozzese headed home.
VALLETTA Dziugas Bartkus, Jonathan Caruana (73′ Ian Azzopardi), steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Roderick Briffa (34′ Uchenna Calistus Umeh), Jean Borg, Federico Falcone, Leandro Aguirre, Jhonattann Benites da Conceicao, Romeu Pericles Romao (79′ Jurgen Suda).
Subs not used: Henry Bonello, Michael Mifsud, Russell Fenech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
PEMBROKE Mario Muscat, Adrian Borg (73′ Andrea Scozzese), Zoran Levnaic, Clifford Gauci (86′ Tyrone Fenech), Brandon Muscat, Jhonatan Bernardo Mariano, Miguel Attard (60′ Borce Manevski), Mateus Regis da Silva, Paltemio Barbetti, Manolito Micallef, Asani Djeljilj.
Subs not used: Matthew Calleja Cremona, Neil Grech, Neil Micallef, Owen Bugeja.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Sammy Attard, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Etienne Mangion
Yellow Cards: Djelijilj, Gauci
Scorers: 7′ Federico Falcone, 41′ Federico Falcone, 48′ Romeu Romao, 77′ Ian Azzopardi, 78′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, 83′ Andrea Scozzese
BOV Player of the Match: Federico Falcone
Attendance at the National Stadium: 979
Meanwhile Hibernians continued where they had left in the game against Sliema Wanderers as they beat Mosta 3-1 at the Hibernians Stadium.
Hibs therefore register a second win while for Mosta, this was the third win in as many matches.
Mark Miller made only just one change from the team which defeated Sliema as Joseph Mbong replaced Diosdado Mbele. Edmond Lufi, on the other hand, made three changes as he named Gabriel Bezak, Kyle Frendo and Edin Murga in the starting line-up, replacing Kurt Magro, Martin Vlček and Chinedu Oweregbulam who has now joined Sliema.
The Paolites managed to take the lead five minutes from the first half when Manuel Bartolo saved partially a long-distance effort by Clayton Failla, Joseph Mbong took the loose ball but was brought down by Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo; referee Stefan Pace ordered a penalty and from the penalty spot, Clayton Failla made no mistake.
Hibs doubled the score on the 58th minute when off a Clayton Failla freekick, Bjorn Kristensen headed the ball over the outrushing Bartolo.
Five minutes from time, Hibs made it 3-0 when Andrew Cohen sent Jurgen Degabriele through and the latter elegantly lobbed the ball over Bartolo.
Four minutes in added time, Mosta pulled one back when Marcelo Dias floored Antoine Borg inside the area and from the penalty spot, Njongo Priso converted.
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Rodolfo Suarez (86’ Dunstan Vella), Marcelo Dias, Jackson de Lima Siqueira, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Renan Pimenta Telles (79’ Andrew Cohen), Johann Bezzina, Joseph Mbong (78′ Juan Manuel Varea), Jurgen Degabriele, Andrei Agius.
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Carlos Grech, Jonathan Pearson, Conner Zammit.
Coach: Mark Miller
MOSTA Manuel Bartolo, Gabriel Bezak, Adrian Caruana, Dany Djoufack, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo, Kyle Frendo (67’ Dexter Xuereb), Jaroslav Repa (89’ Neil Frendo), Zachary Brincat (67’ Antoine Borg), Njongo Doding Priso, Edin Murga, Lucky Victor Oseghale.
Subs not used: Claudio Carabott, Emerson Vella, Sheldon Vassallo, Carl Abela.
Coach: Edmond Lufi
Referee: Stefan Pace
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Onwudinjo, Lima, Caruana, Priso, Repa, Djoufack
Scorers: 41’ Clayton Faila (pen), 58’ Bjorn Kristensen, 85’ Jurgen Degabriele, 90+4′ Doding Priso
BOV Player of the Match: Clayton Failla
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 587