Tarabai brace halts Valletta's unbeaten run

Hibernians are the new leaders of the BOV Premier League as they brought Valletta’s unbeaten run to an end thanks to a brace by Edison Luis Dos Santos ‘Tarabai’.

An early goal paved the way for the Paolites in a game which was full of tension as the Citizens aimed at establishing a new record of thirty eight matches without defeat. No less than four players were sent off – Gilbert Agius, Steve Borg and Ryan Fenech for Valletta and Adrian Pulis for Hibernians.

For Valletta, this was the first league defeat in eighteen months and therefore they continue to share the record of thirty-seven matches without defeat with Hibernians. The Paolites, on the other hand, are still unbeaten after winning the last four matches following a draw in the opening game with Sliema.

Gilbert Agius was back in the starting line-up for Valletta as he replaced the injured Michael Mifsud. Hibernians, on the other hand, were in full strength.

The Paolites could not have a better start as they took the lead on the 3rd minute when off a cross by Edward Herrera from the right, Edison Luis dos Santos tapped the ball home from close range.

On 33 minutes, Gilbert Agius was sent off by referee Andre Arciola for a foul on Andrew Cohen. From the resulting freekick, Clayton Failla hit the foot of the post and off the rebound, Adrian Pulis hit just wide.

Valletta went close four minutes from the end of the first half with a freekick by William Barbosa ending just over the bar.

Two minutes later, Hibernians were also reduced to ten men after Adrian Pulis picked a second yellow card for a foul on Alfred Effiong.

In the second half, tension was high as the Citizens went out in search of the equaliser and the Paolites tried to keep their opponents at bay.

On 73 minutes, Mario Muscat blocked a close-range effort by Roderick Briffa following a cross from the right by Edmond Agius. Three minutes later, an Alfred Effiong header ended just wide off another cross by Agius. Substitute Ousseni Zongo went close with a powerful shot on 85 minutes.

One minute from time, Peter Anizoba sent Edison Luis Dos Santos through only to be floored by Steve Borg. Referee Andre Arciola had no option other than send off the Valletta defender. A few seconds later, substitute Ryan Fenech was also sent off for passing remarks in the direction of the referee.

Two minutes in added time, Hibernians doubled the score. With goalkeeper Andrew Hogg joining the Valletta strikers in attack in the Citizens’ desperate bid to equalise, Edward Herrera sent Edison Luis dos Santos through and the latter advanced all alone for a distance of around fifty metres, placing the ball at the back of the net.

Edward Herrera was voted BOV Player of the Match.

Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com

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VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Alfred Effiong, Roderick Briffa (73’ Dyson Falzon), Jamie Pace, Edmond Agius, Gilbert Agius, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, William Barbosa da Silva (83’ Ousseni Zongo).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Ryan Fenech, Samir Arab, Isaac Zammit, Siraj Arab.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Adrian Pulis, Diego Balbinot, Edward Herrera, Clayton Failla, Andrew Cohen (85’ Jonathan Pearson), Marcelo Dias (73’ Peter Anizoba), Rodolfo Soares, Bjorn Kristensen, Edison Luis Dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Bonnici, Triston Caruana, Aaron Xuereb, Steve Pisani, Dylan Sammut.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Richard Mercieca

Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Effiong, Dias, Azzopardi, Pulis, Balbinot, Kristensen, Denni, Cohen, Pace, Hogg
Red Cards: 33’ Gilbert Agius, 43’ Adrian Pulis, 89’ Steve Borg, 90’ Ryan Fenech
Scorers: 3’ Edison Luis Dos Santos, 90+2’ Edison Luis Dos Santos
Attendance: 4,485

In the first match, Mqabba collected another three points as they came from behind to beat Balzan Youths 2-1 in a clash between two newly-promoted sides.

This was the third positive result for Mqabba who now move sixth on level points with Birkirkara.

The Youths lacked Rennie Forace and the injured Jonathan Francica but had New Zealand striker Kris Bright making his debut. Mqabba, on the other hand, were in full strength.

Miguel Ciantar went close to putting Balzan ahead on 15 minutes with an angled shot from the right which was deflected slightly into a corner. Mqabba replied with a Bojan Mamic effort from the edge of the area, after exchanging the ball with John Paul Muscat, ending just wide on 24 minutes.

The Youths finally managed to break the deadlock on the hour when Nikola Tasic served Miguel Ciantar on the right and the latter hit low past goalkeeper Kris Calleja.

However Mqabba levelled matters on 74 minutes when the Balzan rear-guard failed to clear the ball off a cross by John Paul Muscat from the right and substitute Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.

On the 80th minute, Balzan were reduced to ten men as Pedro Dos Santos Calcado was sent off for a harsh tackle on Mark Anthony Psaila.

Two minutes in added time, Mqabba notched the winner thanks to a direct freekick by Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli which beat goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri.

John Paul Muscat was voted BOV Player of the Match.

Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com

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BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Bledjon Guga, Yessous Camilleri, Clifton Ciantar, Bjorn Bondin (84’ Fagner Luis Bernardes), Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, Lydon Micallef (53’ David Fenech), Miguel Ciantar (65’ Silvan Ciscaldi), Pedro Dos Santos Calcado, Kris William Bright.
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Aaron Agius, Michael Borg, Daryl Martinelli.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit

MQABBA Kris Calleja, Pierre Grima, Marko Potezica, Andrew Scicluna (26’ Mark Anthony Psaila), Branislav Timotic, David Azzopardi, Claudio Calleja (68’ Marlon Briffa), John Paul Muscat, Mauro Bonnici (30’ Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli), Clayton Micallef, Bojan Mamic.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Omar Farrugia, Ryan Sammut, Rene Duca.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Assistant Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo

Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant referees: Konrad Borg, Alan Camilleri
Fourth official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Scicluna, Ciantar, P. Grima, Psaila, Ciscaldi
Red Cards: 80’ Pedro Calcado
Scorers: 60’ Miguel Ciantar, 74’ Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli, 90+2’ Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli