Michael Mifsud scored deep into stoppage time as he handed Valletta a dramatic win over St. Andrews at the National Stadium on Saturday.
A result which leaves Danilo Doncic’s side just one point behind leaders Balzan. St. Andrews, on the other hand, remain one point behind Tarxien and one ahead of Naxxar in the battle against relegation.
Valletta went close to taking the lead just past the half hour when off a cross by Miguel Angel Alba from the right, Matteo Piciollo had a close range effort hitting the woodwork and off the rebound, Rowen Muscat’s header was cleared off the goal line by a defender.
Piciollo hit the upright once again with a good attempt from the left on the 42nd minute but two minutes later, Kemar Reid hit the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the area.
In the second half, the Citizens continued to hold the initiative but ironically the Saints had the best chance when Kevaughn Atkinson hit the upright on the 67th minute.
However four minutes in added time, Valletta notched the winner thanks to Michael Mifsud who received the ball off a cross from the right and slammed the ball home from close range.
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ST. ANDREWS Matthew Calleja Cremona, Adrian Borg, Misael Miranda Gomez, Joseph Farrugia, Jason Vandelannoite, Ricardo Martin, Tano Azian (55′ Jacob Walker), Kevaughn Atkinson (90′ Dario Zampa), Marcus Grima, Kemar Reid, Travis Blagrove.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Liam Grech, Adam Magri Overend, Miguel D’Alessandro, Alex Satariano,.
Coach: Michael Woods
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciollo, Jean Borg, Raed Ibrahim Saleh (46′ Michael Mifsud), Rowen Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba, Romeu Pericles Romao (90′ Juan Gill Cruz), Albert Prosa.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Shaun Dimech, Kyrian Nwoko, Russell Fenech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Martin, Atkinson
BOV Player of the Match: Matthew Calleja Cremona
Attendance at the National Stadium: 734
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Sliema Wanderers registered a third consecutive win, defeating Hamrun Spartans by the odd goal in five.
The Wanderers move temporarily in sixth place, three points ahead of Hibernians, who however have a game in hand.
Matias Muchardi put the Wanderers ahead on the 21st minute but Arthur Faria Machado equalised on the 25th and Lydon Micallef put the Spartans 2-1 ahead.
Three minutes in the second half, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte restored equilibrium and a Matias Muchardi penalty three minutes later, handed Sliema the three points.
HAMRUN Steve Sultana, Marco Criaco, Thiago Espindola de Paula, Tiago Souza de Silveira (75′ Triston Caruana) Daniel Zerafa, Karl Micallef (70′ Julian Galea), Arthur Faria Machado, Dale Camilleri, Lydon Micallef, Guilherme Felipe de Castro, Alex Nilsson.
Subs not used: Jake Galea, Luca Celotto, Darren Borg, Luke Sciberras, Daniel Debono.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Stefano Bianciardi, Matias Muchardi, Frank Temile, Nii Nortey Ashong, Edmond Agius, Michele Sansone (81′ Jefferson de Assis), Frenci Qeros, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte, John Mintoff, Kurt Shaw.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Ryan Spiteri, Lee Pisani, Luke Borg, Gary Muscat, Zach Mifsud.
Coach: John Buttigieg
Referee: Darryl Agius
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: Guilherme Batata, Zerafa, Correa, Tiago Indigo, K. Micallef