Citizens take top spot

Msida St. Joseph vs Floriana FC 1-2 (HT 0-0)

Floriana moved back in fifth place as they defeated Msida St. Joseph 2-1 in a game which came to life in the final fifteen minutes.

Msida, who remain second from bottom, had Under-21 international Miguel Ciantar making his debut after joining the club from Sliema on loan. Zoran Levnaic was back after recovering from an injury.

The Greens held the initiative but their first attempt at goal only occurred after 20 minutes when Mauro Grioli tried to lob the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo but the Msida custodian managed to block into a corner. Four minutes later, Lattes served Miguel Ciantar from the right but the latter headed just wide. On 26 minutes, Akanni-Sunday Wasiu hit high off a cross by Clyde Borg and then the same Nigerian-born striker concluded a solo effort with a shot which scraped past the post. Another effort by Wasiu was neutralised by Bartolo in added time.

Manuel Bartolo was prominent once again on 72 minutes as he performed a brilliant save on a Ryan Darmanin header following a cross from the right by Pablo Doffo.

Floriana forged ahead on 79 minutes when off a corner from the right by Pablo Doffo, substitute Ryan Darmanin deflected the ball past goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.

Three minutes from time, Akanni-Sunday Wasiu almost doubled the score when his powerful shot from the left was not held by Bartolo but Roderick Baldacchino cleared the ball off the goal-line.

A minute later, Msida notched the equaliser when off a cross from the right by Lydon Micallef, Tyrone Farrugia headed home past goalkeeper Bernard Paris from close range.

But to add more drama, four minutes in added time, Floriana regained the lead when off a pass from the right by Akanni-Sunday Wasiu, Orosco Anonam hit low past Bartolo to secure the three points for Roddy Collins’ side.

MSIDA Manuel Bartolo, Cedric Sciberras, Adam Spiteri (76′ Joseph Damato), Adrian Farrugia (84′ Stefano Grima), Andrew Formosa (60′ Iro Curmi), Emiliano Lattes, Roderick Baldacchino, Zoran Levnaic, Lydon Micallef, Miguel Ciantar, Tyrone Farrugia.
Subs not used: Daniel Borda, Matthew Borda, Larson Agius, Kirsten Brincat.
Coach: Mark Marlow

FLORIANA Bernard Paris, Julian Briffa, Duncan Pisani, Brian Said, Clifton Ciantar, Clyde Borg, Pablo Doffo, Marlon Briffa (46′ Mark Spiteri)(88′ Joseph Borg), Mauro Grioli (46′ Ryan Darmanin), Orosco Anonam, Akanni-Sunday Wasiu.
Subs not used: Jurgen Micallef, Christian Caruana, Sacha Borg, Alan Abela.
Coach: Roddy Collins.

Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Mario Apap
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: M. Briffa, C. Ciantar, Z. Levnaic, M. Bartolo, P. Doffo
BOV Player of the Match: Pablo Doffo
Scorers: 79′ Ryan Darmanin (F)
88′ Tyrone Farrugia (M)
90′ Orosco Anonam (F)

Valletta FC vs Dingli Swallows 4-1 (HT 3-0)

Valletta moved on top the BOV Premier League table, one point ahead of Birkirkara and Qormi as they defeated wooden-spoonists Dingli Swallows 4-1 in a match which brought to an end the first round.

Ton Caanen could not count on the suspended Luke Dimech and Njongo Priso but for the first time in nine months, Cleavon Frendo was on the substitutes’ bench after recovering from an injury. Andre Rocha Da Silva was retained on the bench as he was not fully fit.

The Citizens managed to take the lead on 14 minutes thanks to a great goal by Ian Zammit whose powerful shot from outside the area beat goalkeeper Jeffrey Farrugia.

Seven minutes later, Valletta doubled the score thanks to Terence Scerri who controlled the ball outside the area and beat Farrugia with a low shot.

Johann Cruyff made it 3-0 on 37 minutes thanks to a rising shot from inside the area following a cross from the right by Kevin Sammut.

Dingli replied with a powerful shot by Kevin Borg from the left which was turned into a corner by Andrew Hogg.

Six minutes in the second half, Dylan Zarb tried his luck with a shot from outside the area ending high. Valletta replied with a Gilbert Agius freekick from which Kenneth Scicluna tested Farrugia with a close-range header.

Dingli pulled one back on 57 minutes thanks to a direct freekick from the left by Kevin Borg which surprised goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.

On 67 minutes, Kevin Sammut received a good pass on the right but his rising shot ended just over the bar. A powerful shot by Sammut three minutes later was deflected into a corner by Shawn Tellus.

However Valletta restored a three-goal lead on 76 minutes thanks to another goal by Jordi Cruijff who slotted the ball past the Dingli custodian following a perfect pass by Gilbert Agius from the right.

VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Steve Bezzina, Roderick Briffa, Kenneth Scicluna, Steve Borg, Gilbert Agius, Jordi Cruyff (77′ Dylan Grima), Jamie Pace, Ian Zammit (18′ Dyson Falzon), Terence Scerri, Kevin Sammut (82′ Justin Grioli).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Edmond Agius, Stefan Giglio, Cleavon Frendo.
Coach: Ton Caanen
Team Manager: Nicky Saliba

DINGLI Jeffrey Farrugia, Roderick Briffa, Renato Garcia Conceicao, Shawn Tellus, Kurt Formosa, Christian Muscat (80′ Christopher Azzopardi), Dino Cachia, Kevin Borg (75′ Etienne Farrugia), Matthew Borg, Joseph Okonkwo, Dylan Zarb (66′ Haruna Doda).
Subs not used: Ivan Cassar, Clint Caruana, Justin Muscat, Andre Rocha Da Silva.
Coach: Jesmond Zammit

Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Glenn Tonna
Yellow Cards: R. Briffa (D), Scerri
BOV Player of the Match: Kevin Sammut
Scorers: 14′ Ian Zammit (V)
21′ Terence Scerri (V)
37′ Jordi Cruijff (V)
57′ Kevin Borg (D)
76′ Jordi Cruijff (V)