Leaders Valletta keep marching on in the BOV Premier League thanks to a 3-2 win over Vittoriosa Stars. The Citizens are now seven points clear of second-placed Tarxien.
Vittoriosa were playing quite well but the dismissal of Kevin Mifsud made it difficult for Winston Muscat’s side. In fact, Valletta could have increased the lead further after the break, hitting the posts on various occasions.
Valletta welcomed back Ramon Dos Santos and Jamie Pace after both missed the last game against Hamrun. Jonathan Caruana was ruled out injured while Dyson Falzon was suspended. Edison Luiz Dos Santos was back for Vittoriosa after serving a two-match ban but Leighton Grech was suspended.
Kevin Sammut had a first attempt at goal after just two minutes and a minute later, a good header by Ian Azzopardi was cleared into safety by Wellman.
The Citizens managed to take the lead on 18 minutes when off a cross from the right by Roderick Briffa, Denni Rocha Dos Santos controlled the ball before hitting low past Simon Agius.
Three minutes later, Vittoriosa equalised when off a corner by Carl Sammut, Edison Luiz Dos Santos headed the ball home in style past Hogg.
Valletta regained the lead on 27 minutes thanks to a goal by Terence Scerri when served by a Denni Rocha Dos Santos cross from the right.
Two minutes later, the Stars were reduced to ten men when Kevin Mifsud was given marching orders by referee Paul Caruana for dissent after receiving a yellow card for a foul on Temile.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, Terence Scerri hit just wide off a cross from the right by Roderick Briffa.
Valletta could have increased the lead further on 53 minutes when Denni released Omonigho Temile on the left, the latter entered the penalty area but his low shot hit the foot of the post. A minute later, a powerful shot by Denni was saved partially by Simon Agius before the ball was cleared into safety.
On the 56th minute, it was the turn of Kevin Sammut to hit the upright with a header from close range. Edmond Agius also hit the upright with an acrobatic shot on 73 minutes following a cross from the right by Roderick Briffa. Jamie Pace then flicked the ball just over the bar following a freekick by Denni from the left on 82 minutes.
Denni made it 3-1 on the 83rd minute when he slammed the ball home when served by Kevin Sammut from the right.
In stoppage time, substitute Clayton Micallef reduced the gap for Vittoriosa, beating Hogg with a powerful shot when served by Jorge Santos Silva from the right.
Denni Rocha Dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VITTORIOSA Simon Agius, Carl Sammut, Sharlon Pace, Jeffrey Chetcuti (89′ Ahmed Elkhassasi), Carlos Campagnoli, Edison Luiz Dos Santos, Dino Cachia (78′ Jonathan Xerri), Kevin Mifsud, Jorge Santos Silva, Anthony Ewurum (87′ Clayton Micallef), Stephen Wellman.
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Justin Camilleri, Johann Spiteri, Larry Lagana.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Roderick Briffa, Ramon Dos Santos, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Edmond Agius, Jamie Pace (87′ Gilbert Agius), Kevin Sammut, Omonigho Temile (90′ Joseph Okonkwo), Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Terence Scerri.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Samir Arab, Kurt Magro, Ian Zammit, Clifford Gauci.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: J. Pace, K. Mifsud, Denni, Wellman, Temile, I. Azzopardi
Red Cards: 29′ Kevin Mifsud
Scorers: 18′ Denni Rocha Dos Santos (Val); 21′ Edison Luiz Dos Santos (Vit); 27′ Terence Scerri (Val), 83′ Denni Rocha Dos Santos (Val); 90+1′ Clayton Micallef (Vit)