Valletta scored twice in the second half to return to winning ways as they beat Hamrun Spartans 2-0 at the National Stadium. A win which puts Paul Zammit’s side five points behind leaders Hibernians and four behind Balzan.
The Citizens failed to impress during the first half but after the break they showed greater determination and scored the goals which handed them the three points. For Hamrun, this was the third successive defeat which leaves them in the eighth place.
Valletta had one change from the team which drew with Tarxien as Romeu Romao replaced Tomas Radzinevicius. On the other hand, Hamrun had Saturday Nanapere and debutante Christian Emeka Anigbogu replacing Luke Grech and the suspended Karl Micallef.
Following a goalless first half, the Citizens finally managed to break the deadlock on the 58th minute. Santiago Malano served Uchenna Calistus Umeh just outside the area and the Nigerian striker advanced into the area before hitting low past goalkeeper David Cassar.
Santiago Malano was then unlucky to hit the crossbar for Valletta on the 67th minute.
Five minutes later, Santiago Malano was not to be denied when off a cross by Leandro Aguirre from the left, deflected by a defender, the Argentine midfielder slammed the ball past the Hamrun custodian.
VALLETTA Dziugas Bartkus, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano (90+1′ Luke Montebello), Claudio Pani, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Leandro Aguirre, Maximiliano Velasco (80′ Llywelyn Cremona), Rowen Muscat, Romeu Pericles Romao (88′ Nicholas Pulis).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Leon Camilleri, Russell Fenech, Paul Chircop.
Coach: Paul Zammit
HAMRUN David Cassar, Luis Miguel Vergara Rodrigues, Manolito Micallef (79′ Sarah Arab Eddin), Luke Sciberras, Christian Emeka Anigbogu, Jake Grech (15′ Brandon Diego Paiber), Igor Misan, Mathieu Manset, Saturday Nanapere, Massimiliano Giusti, Sergio Raphael dos Anjos.
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Luke Grech, Luca Gatt, Philip Chircop, Jeremy Busuttil.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Etienne Mangion
Yellow Cards: none
BOV Player of the Match: Santiago Malano