Valletta maintained their unbeaten record with a sixth successive win as they beat Tarxien Rainbows 2-0 in the top-of-the-table clash in the BOV Premier League. A win which enables the Citizens to move twelve points clear of the Rainbows and rivals Floriana.
It was a penalty late in the first half which enabled them to break the deadlock and former Tarxien favourite Denni Rocha Dos Santos sealed the issue with a second goal.
Goalkeeper Nicky Vella replaced the suspended Andrew Hogg for Valletta. Tarxien, on the other hand, lacked Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira.
Valletta had the first attempt at goal on the 8th minute when Terence Scerri served Kevin Sammut whose powerful shot from the edge of the area was parried by David Cassar. Off a Kevin Sammut cross from the left, former Tarxien midfielder Denni Rocha Dos Santos had a close-range effort blocked by Cassar into a corner.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Denni was brought down inside the area by Lee Galea. Referee Paul Caruana ordered a penalty and from the penalty spot, Terence Scerri made no mistake.
Valletta went close to increasing the lead on 58 minutes but a Steve Borg effort was turned into a corner by David Cassar.
The Citizens doubled the score on 71 minutes when off a cross from the right by Terence Scerri, Denni hit low past Cassar.
Denni Rocha Dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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TARXIEN David Cassar, Steve Sadowski, Manuel Caruana (61′ Ryan Mintoff), Everton Antonio Pereira, Ricardo Costa, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues (77′ Sergio Hili), Mark Tanti, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luke Vella Critien (56′ Justin Grioli), Orosco Anonam, Lee Galea.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Andre Farrugia, Warren Zerafa, Julian Vella.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Assistant Coach: Michael Church
VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Edmond Agius, Roderick Briffa, Gilbert Agius (40′ Ian Zammit), Kevin Sammut, Terence Scerri, Omonigho Temile, Denni Rocha Dos Santos (85′ Dyson Falzon).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Kurt Magro, Jamie Pace, Ramon Dos Santos, Joseph Okonkwo.
Coach: Nardu Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Anonam, Vella Critien, Everton
Scorers: 44′ Terence Scerri (pen), 71′ Denni Rocha Dos Santos
Floriana found no difficulty in overcoming the challenge offered by wooden-spoonists Vittoriosa Stars, beating them to the tune of six goals to one. A win which puts them on level points with Tarxien.
The Greens dominated right from the start against a Vittoriosa side which lacked several players including three suspended players.
In fact, Vittoriosa lacked Jeffrey Chetcuti, Steve Wellman and Edison Luis Dos Santos who were all serving a one-match ban and the injured Carlos Campagnoli. On the other hand, they had Brazilian midfielder Murilo Maccari making his debut. Christian Cassar was missing for Floriana.
Floriana took the lead on 15 minutes when off a Pablo Doffo freekick Daniel Nwoke flicked the ball home from close range.
Two minutes later, the Greens doubled the score when Daniel Nwoke exchanged the ball with Ivan Woods with the Nigerian striker hitting hard past goalkeeper Simon Agius from inside the area.
Nwoke could have added another on 26 minutes when served by Brian Said but his close-range effort was blocked by the Vittoriosa goalkeeper.
However Floriana were not to be denied one minute in added time when off a Pablo Doffo freekick, Ivan Woods headed the ball home to make it 3-0.
Three minutes in the second half, Dragomir Draganov scored the fourth goal with a powerful shot from outside the area which gave goalkeeper Simon Agius when served by Nwoke.
On 52 minutes, Floriana were awarded a penalty by referee Glenn Tonna for a foul on Ivan Woods inside the area. From the penalty spot, Woods made no mistake.
Tyrone Farrugia went close with a fine header off a corner from the right by Marcal Guerreiro on 57 minutes.
Vittoriosa had the opportunity to reduce the gap on 61 minutes when Jorge Santos Silva, served by Leighton Grech, rounded goalkeeper Lotfi Saidi but lost possession and the ball ended wide.
The Stars scored a consolation goal on 74 minutes through Leighton Grech who concluded a good move with a low shot from the left which beat goalkeeper Lotfi Saidi.
The Greens however restored their five-goal lead with a cute lob by Manolito Micallef who anticipated susbstitute goalkeeper Jean Matthias Vella on 81 minutes.
Daniel Nwoke was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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VITTORIOSA Simon Agius (62′ Jean Matthias Vella), Carl Sammut (69′ Larry Lagana), Justin Camilleri, Sharlon Pace, Jonathan Xerri, Dino Cachia (46′ Ryan Grech), Kevin Mifsud, Jorge Santos Silva, Anthony Ewurum, Leighton Grech, Murilo Maccari.
Subs not used: Clayton Micallef, Pierre Aquilina, Johann Spiteri, Clifton Piscopo.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla
FLORIANA Lotfi Saidi, Brian Said, Manolito Micallef, Duncan Pisani, Tyrone Farrugia, Pablo Doffo (56′ Marcal Guerreiro Fernandes), Clyde Borg (75′ Owen Bugeja), Ivan Woods (56′ Joseph Borg), Dragomir Draganov, Christian Caruana, Daniel Nwoke.
Subs not used: Jurgen Micallef, Alan Abela, Luke Agius, Sacha Borg.
Coach: Michael Woods
Assistant Coach: Todor Raykov
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Edward Spiteri
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: C. Caruana, R. Grech, D. Nwoke, J. Borg
Scorers: 15′ Daniel Nwoke (F), 17′ Daniel Nwoke (F), 45+1′ Ivan Woods (F), 48′ Dragomir Draganov (F), 52′ Ivan Woods (pen) (F) , 74′ Leighton Grech (V); 81′ Manolito Micallef (F)