A goal by Terence Scerri on the 70th minute enabled Valletta to beat Qormi 1-0 and take the leadership in the BOV Premier League table, one point ahead of the same Qormi and Birkirkara. The Stripes however have a game in hand.
Valletta captain Gilbert Agius was missing as he was suspended but Irish striker Declan O’Brien returned for the Citizens after skipping the game against Msida. Qormi lacked former Valletta midfielder Keith Fenech together with Joseph Chetcuti and Steve Meilak.
The two teams shared the exchanges in the early stages. Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo missed a good chance hitting wide from inside the area and then Massimo Grima had a long distance shot blocked by Luke Dimech and a shot from the edge of the area ending just wide.
Valletta had an excellent opportunity of taking the lead on 27 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Massimo Grima handled the ball inside the area. However Qormi custodian Matthew Farrugia was superb in neutralising Njongo Priso’s effort from the penalty spot.
Qormi replied with a Camilo long-distance freekick ending wide on 31 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, Matthew Farrugia blocked a cross shot by Roderick Briffa from the right six minutes later.
Following a Joseph Farrugia freekick from the right, a header by Stephen Wellman scraped past the post on the 40th. Alfred Effiong miskicked from an ideal position inside the area and then Andrew Hogg came to the rescue blocking a close-range effort by Matthew Bartolo. In added time, Farrugia blocked a shot from close range by Dyson Falzon following a cross from the right by Declan O’Brien.
Eleven minutes in the second half, Qormi went close once again with a freekick by Massimo Grima from the left which was parried by Andrew Hogg. A minute later, a header by Jamie Pace, served by Priso, was saved by Matthew Farrugia. The Qormi goalkeeper then managed to turn into a corner a cross shot by Steve Borg from the right.
Valletta managed to take the lead on the 70th when off a cross from the left, Terence Scerri surprised Matthew Farrugia with a header, placing the ball at the back of the net.
The Citizens controlled their opponents well in the remaining minutes to take home the three points and therefore secure the top spot.
Kevin Sammut was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Steve Bezzina, Roderick Briffa, Kenneth Scicluna, Luke Dimech, Jamie Pace, Terence Scerri (88′ Ian Zammit), Dyson Falzon, Declan O’Brien (46′ Steve Borg), Njongo Priso (92′ Edmond Agius).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Dylan Grima, Cleavon Frendo, Yessous Camilleri.
Coach: Ton Caanen Team Manager: Henk Thenissen
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Ramon Dos Santos, Steve Wellman, Roderick Sammut, Jonathan Bondin, Massimo Grima, Matthew Bartolo, Stefan Giglio, Joseph Farrugia (80′ Ryan Deguara), Alfred Effiong, Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo.
Subs not used: Jurgen Cilia, Malcolm Buttigieg, Kenneth Spiteri, Gabriel Buttigieg, Jurgen Stanyer, George Chircop.
Coach: Vince Carbonaro Team Manager: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Asst. Referees: Alan Camilleri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Grima, Scicluna, Wellman, Dimech, Falzon