With a goal in each half, Valletta managed to beat Hibernians 2-0 to restore a seven-point cushion on top the BOV Premier League table.
The Citizens therefore maintain their unbeaten record while Hibernians extend their winless streak to ten matches, remaining second from bottom.
Valletta welcomed back Jonathan Caruana and Dyson Falzon after both missed the last game against Vittoriosa. The latter however started the game on the bench. Richie Hart was missing for the Paolites as he was serving a one-match ban while Ryan Camilleri and Triston Caruana were ruled out injured. Aaron Xuereb and Paul McManus were named in the starting line-up.
The Citizens had the first attempt at goal when off a Kevin Sammut freekick from the right, Jamie Pace’s header was turned into a corner by Mario Muscat.
Denni Rocha Dos Santos managed to put the Citizens ahead on 22 minutes when off a Kevin Sammut freekick, he headed the ball home from close range. The Brazilian midfielder abandoned the pitch injured due to a bad fall.
The Paolites’ reaction consisted of a shot by Andrew Cohen which was neutralised by Hogg on 32 minutes.
Three minutes in the second half, Omonigho Temile served Terence Scerri on the left but the latter’s shot hit the upright.
However Terence Scerri was not to be denied on 52 minutes when he beat Mario Muscat with an angled shot from the left.
Ian Zammit concluded a solo effort on 62 minutes with a long-distance shot which was turned into a corner by the Hibs custodian. On the other side of the pitch a shot by Edward Herrera from the right was partially saved by Hogg and off the rebound, Paul McManus’ close range effort was blocked by the Valletta goalkeeper.
Jamie Pace was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Roderick Briffa, Jonathan Caruana, Edmond Agius, Jamie Pace, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Kevin Sammut (91’ Kurt Magro), Omonigho Temile (75’ Dyson Falzon), Denni Rocha Dos Santos (26’ Ian Zammit), Terence Scerri.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Ramon Dos Santos, Gilbert Agius, Joseph Okonkwo.
Coach: Nardu Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
HIBS Mario Muscat, Edward Herrera, Matthew Gauci, Aaron Xuereb, Bjorn Kristensen, Zoran Levnaic, Paul McManus, Steve Pisani (80’ Jonathan Pearson), Matt Clarke, Andrew Cohen (57’ Warren Chircop), Paulo Sereno (74’ Jean Paul Farrugia).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Matthew Tabone, Yan Cauchi, Malcolm Vella.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Edmond Lufi
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Konrad Borg
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Levnajic, E. Agius, Hogg
Scorers: 22’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos, 52’ Terence Scerri
A goal by Patrick Borg gave Birkirkara three precious points as they defeated Floriana 1-0 in a drab encounter.
Although both sides were in search of the three points after disappointing in previous outings, they both failed to impress.
Birkirkara lacked Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Harding, Trevor Cilia and the suspended Joseph Zerafa. On the other hand, Christian Cassar was missing for Floriana.
Goal-mouth action was rare during the first half which featured only a couple of shots at goal. On the 38th minute, a close-range effort by Manolito Micallef when served by a Pablo Doffo freekick was parried by Michael Fraser. A minute later, a cross shot by Emiliano Lattes was palmed out by Lofti Saidi.
Mid-way through the second half, a goal by Michael Galea was disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper.
Birkirkara managed to break the deadlock on 76 minutes when off a freekick by Lattes from the left, Patrick Borg’s close-range shot beat goalkeeper Saidi and although a defender tried to clear the ball into safety, it had already crossed the goal-line.
Three minutes from time, Floriana had the opportunity to equalise but when the Stripes’ defence lost possession inside the area but no one failed to connect off an inviting cross by Christian Caruana.
Emiliano Lattes was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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FLORIANA Lofti Saidi, Brian Said, Pablo Doffo, Manolito Micallef, Duncan Pisani, Michael Mecerod, Ivan Woods, Joseph Borg (80’ Ryan Darmanin), Sacha Borg (65’ Christian Caruana), Tyrone Farrugia, Clyde Borg (75’ Ivailo Sokolov).
Subs not used: John Agius, Owen Bugeja, Luke Agius, Mark Gauci.
Coach: Michael Woods
Assistant Coach: Todor Raykov
B’KARA Michael Fraser, Thomas Paris (84’ Ryan Scicluna), Patrick Borg, Simon Zahra, Shaun Bajada (62’ Terence Vella), Paul Fenech, Alan Tabone (62’ Karl Pulo), Rowen Muscat, Angus Buhagiar, Michael Galea, Emiliano Lattes.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Ian Schembri, Fabian Zammit, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Branko Nisevic
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: M. Mecerod, A. Buhagiar, R. Muscat, D. Pisani, T. Vella, P. Fenech, I. Sokolov
Scorers: 76’ Patrick Borg
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