Birkirkara moved four points clear on top the BOV Premier League table as a goal by Trevor Cilia enabled them to defeat rivals Valletta 1-0 in a clash between the top two teams.
It was a balanced encounter in which defenders prevailed on strikers with play concentrated in midfield. In fact, goalmouth action was quite lacking.
The Stripes were in full strength as they welcomed back Rowen Muscat and Trevor Cilia who missed the last game against Tarxien. However they lost two players injured – Paul Fenech after just nine minutes and then Sylvano Comvalius on the 24th. Valletta coach Ton Caanend could also count on the full complement of players
Birkirkara took the lead on 19 minutes when following a good move by Michael Galea on the left, Shaun Bajada served Trevor Cilia who manage to slot the ball past Andrew Hogg, placing the ball at the back of the net.
On 36 minutes, the Stripes appealed for a penalty when a shot by Alan Tabone was blocked by Jamie Pace, apparently handling the ball.
One minute in the second half, Nikola Vukanac came to the rescue for Birkirkara deflecting into a corner a shot from the right by Gilbert Agius.
On 58 minutes, it was Valletta’s turn to appeal for a penalty when Njongo Priso ended on the ground inside the area. However referee Alan Mario Sant waved play on.
Angus Buhagiar managed to clear into safety a dangerous cross by Jamie Pace from the right seven minutes from time.
Five minutes in added time, Valletta had Steve Borg sent off for elbowing.
Rowen Muscat was voted BOV Player of the Match.
B’KARA Jorge Mora, Paul Fenech (9’ Alan Tabone), Nikola Vukanac, Branko Nisevic, Shaun Bajada, Rowen Muscat (88′ George Mallia), Trevor Cilia, Carlo Mamo, Angus Buhagiar, Michael Galea, Sylvano Comvalius (24’ Joseph Zerafa).
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Andrew Scicluna, Thomas Paris, Karl Pulo.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Mario Gatt
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jordi Cruijff, Roderick Briffa (53’ Kevin Sammut), Steve Bezzina, Steve Borg, Jamie Pace, Njongo Priso, Luke Dimech, Gilbert Agius, Terence Scerri (71’ Declan O’Brien), Michael Mifsud.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Kenneth Scicluna, Dylan Grima, Edmond Agius, Dyson Falzon.
Coach: Ton Caanen
Team Manager: Nicky Saliba
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Mamo, Bezzina, Priso, Cruijff, Dimech
Red Cards: 90+4’ Steve Borg
Scorers: 19’ Trevor Cilia
A brace by Denni Rocha Dos Santos gave Tarxien Rainbows the three points in the derby as they defeated Hibernians 2-0. A win which puts them on level points with Hibs in fifth place.
The Rainbows were clearly a better side throughout the ninety minutes with Denni once again being the hero with two goals – increasing his tally to thirteen, besides having a penalty saved by goalkeeper Mario Muscat. On the other hand, this was another disappointing performance for the Paolites as they were suffering the fourth successive defeat.
Tarxien lacked the suspended Kurt Magro and Anderson Mendes Ribeiro. On the other hand, missing for Hibernians were Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Camilleri and Christian Callejas while Andrew Cohen started the game on the bench.
The Rainbows took the lead on 25 mintues when Denni Rocha Dos Santos concluded solo effort with a great shot from the edge of the area which beat goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
On 37 minutes, Denni released Gianluca Calabretta on the right but the latter’s diagonal shot ended just wide.
Twelve minutes in the second half, Miguel Lopes De Pina released substitute Jean Paul Farrugia but his conclusion from the edge of the area was blocked by Anthony Curmi.
On the hour, Adrian Pulis brought Gianluca Calabretta down inside the area. Referee Clayton Pisani showed Pulis a second yellow card and ordered a penalty. However Denni Rocha Dos Santos’ effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by Muscat.
On 65 minutes, Calabretta served Denni from the right, the Brazilian striker anticipated Muscat but the ball ended off target.
Three minutes from time, the Rainbows secured the points with a second goal when off a cross from the left by Mark Tanti, Denni Rocha Dos Santos slammed the ball home past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Denni Rocha Dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
TARXIEN Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski, Manuel Caruana, David Camilleri, Gianluca Calabretta (76’ Luke Vella Critien), Everton Antonio Pereira, Mark Tanti, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Ryan Mintoff, Ryan Grech (85’ Lee Galea), Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Andrew Decesare, Warren Zerafa, Mario Bajada.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Asst. Coach: Michael Church
HIBS Mario Muscat, Edward Herrera, Adrian Pulis Aaron Xuereb (46’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Jonathan Pearson, Triston Caruana, Yan Cauchi (84’ Matthew Hammett), Matthew Tabone, Elton Morelato (76’ Andrew Cohen), Ben Camilleri, Miguel Lopes De Pina.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Rene Duca, Ndubisi Chukunyere, Ayrton Azzopardi.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Edmond Lufi
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Pulis, Grioli, Grech
Red Cards: 61’ Adrian Pulis
Scorers: 25’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos, 87’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos
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