With a goal in each half, Valletta extended their unbeaten record to thirty five matches as they beat Hamrun Spartans 2-0. This was also their second win which puts them on top the BOV Premier League table with maximum points from two matches.
For Hamrun, this was the first defeat after beating Balzan Youths last week.
The Spartans had three new foreign players making their debut, namely defender Luis Fernando Silva, Swiss midfielder Carlo Polli and Brazilian forward Carlos Eduardo Toneto Porcari. The Brazilian striker replaced Fernando Silva after just ten minutes as the latter left the pitch injured. Lee James Agius was missing as he serves a one-match ban.
Valletta, on the other hand, had Gilbert Agius and Michael Mifsud staying on the bench after missing the last game due to injuries.
The Citizens took the lead on the 15th minute when off a Ryan Fenech freekick from the right, Roderick Briffa served Steve Borg on the left who headed the ball home in style.
On 26 minutes, Omar Borg performed a good save on a powerful shot by Alfred Effiong following a cross by Denni from the right. On the other side of the pitch, a Gaetan Spiteri effort was neutralised by Valletta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.
But the Citizens once again missed a good opportunity with Denni hitting just wide off an inviting pass by Effiong from the right three minutes from the end of the first half.
Massimo Grima tried his luck for Hamrun with a direct freekick which was neutralised by Hogg on 62 minutes.
Valletta doubled the score on 68 minutes when Ryan Fenech chipped the ball over goalkeeper Omar Borg and Alfred Effiong placed the ball at the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, Effiong was unlucky not to add another as in a counter-attack, he advanced all alone into the area but his conclusion hit the upright. On 82 minutes, Denni served Effiong whose close-range shot ended just wide.
Denni Rocha Dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © James Galea www.fotoincmalta.com
HAMRUN Omar Borg, Nikica Gacesa, Massimo Grima, Roderick Fenech, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Kevin Sammut, Matthew Gauci, Gianluca Calabretta, Carlo Polli, Gaetan Spiteri (72’ Rupert Mangion), Luis Fernando Silva (10’ Carlos Eduardo Toneto Porcari).
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Glenn Azzopardi, David Camilleri, Steve Bonnici, Clyde Camoin.
Coach: Jesmond Zammit
Assistant Coach: Vince Carbonaro
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Alfred Effiong, Roderick Briffa, Jamie Pace, Edmond Agius, Ryan Fenech (71’ Dyson Falzon), Denni Rocha Dos Santos (88′ Ousseni Zongo), William Barbosa Da Silva
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Gilbert Agius, Michael Mifsud, Llywelyn Cremona, Samir Arab.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant referees: Joe Camilleri, Paul Apap
Fourth official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Spiteri, Polli, Ribeiro, Barbosa
Scorers: 15’ Steve Borg, 68’ Alfred Effiong
Meanwhile after sharing the spoils in a draw with Sliema last week, Hibernians registered their first win as they defeated ten-man Marsaxlokk 2-1.
Marsaxlokk had two changes from the team which defeated Mosta in the first game as Sunday Eboh and debutante Emiliano Lattes replaced Malcolm Licari and Jonathan Xerri in the starting line-up. Hibernians, on the other hand, had no changes.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal on 12 minutes with a cross shot by Clayton Failla from the left which ended just over the bar.
Six minutes later, Hibernians managed to take the lead when Steve Pisani gained possession of a loose ball and off his cross, Edison Luis Dos Santos anticipated Gauci placing the ball at the back of the net.
Triston Caruana doubled the score for Hibs on 28 minutes when Pisani sent him through and all alone, he slotted the ball past goalkeeper Reuben Gauci.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Marsaxlokk pulled one back when Emiliano Lattes released Obinna Obiefule on the right and the latter anticipated goalkeeper Mario Muscat with a perfect lob as the Hibs goalie rushed to the edge of the area.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, Andrew Cohen received a good pass on the left flank, rounded a defender but hit high from the edge of the area.
The Southseasiders were reduced to ten men on 64 minutes when Trevor Templeman received marching orders by referee Chris Lautier for retaliation.
Hibs then went close with a Diego Balbinot header off an Andrew Cohen freekick from the left on 69 minutes. One minute later, Edison Luis Dos Santos hit the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the area.
A diagonal shot from the left by Clayton Failla scraped past the post on the 82nd minute.
Edison Luis Dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photos: Copyright © James Galea www.fotoincmalta.com
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Diego Balbinot, Rodolfo Soares, Adrian Pulis, Bjorn Kristensen, Steve Pisani, Clayton Failla, Triston Caruana (63’ Edward Herrera), Andrew Cohen, Edison Luis Dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Bonnici, Peter Anizoba, Dylan Sammut, Aaron Xuereb, Johann Bezzina, Ayrton Azzopardi.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Richard Mercieca
M’XLOKK Reuben Gauci, Carlo Mamo, Patrick Borg (88’ Dylan Kokavessis), Sunday Eboh, Clive Brincat, Florent Raimy, Carlos Campagnoli, Trevor Templeman, Emiliano Lattes (70’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Martin Deanov (82’ Malcolm Licari), Obinna Obiefule.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Jonathan Xerri, Sacha Borg, Modesto Valeriani.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant referees: Thomas Debono, Duncan Sultana
Fourth official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Pulis, Pisani, P. Borg, Obiefule, Mamo, Balbinot, Eboh
Red Cards: 64’ Trevor Templeman
Scorers: 18’ Edison Luis Dos Santos, 28’ Triston Caruana, 43’ Obinna Obiefule