After losing to Hamrun Spartans and Mosta, Sliema Wanderers earned a point as they held Valletta in a 1-1 draw. The Wanderers therefore join Qormi and Birkirkara in fourth place.
The Citizens, on the other hand, missed the chance to take sole leadership and now share the top spot with Hibernians. The Paolites, however, have a game in hand.
Valletta welcomed back Ryan Fenech after serving a three-match ban. Rumen Galabov returned for Sliema but Henry Bonello, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza were ruled out for Sliema.
The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on the 4th minute with a William Barbosa shot ending just wide. Sliema replied with a good move by Danial Mitev from the right but no one managed to connect off his inviting pass four minutes later.
A powerful shot by the Bulgarian striker from outside the area was neutralized by Hogg on the 8th. The Valletta custodian then performed a fine save on a Jorge Santos Silva effort from the left.
Curmi turned into a corner a Michael Mifsud effort from outside the area on 16 minutes. Seven minutes later, a fierce shot by Ryan Fenech scraped past the post.
Danial Mitev once again brought the best out of Andrew Hogg as the latter managed to turn into a corner the Sliema striker’s fine shot on 38 minutes.
Valletta managed to break the deadlock on 55 minutes when Roderick Briffa concluded a good move with a rising shot from outside the area which gave goalkeeper Anthony Curmi no chance.
Ryan Fenech then tested the Hamrun custodian with a powerful shot from outside the area on 63 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, an inswining corner from the right was turned into another corner by Hogg.
In a swift counter-attack for Valletta on 65 minutes, Denni served Michael MIfsud whose shot was partially saved by Curmi. Off the rebound, Denni’s effort was blocked by Mark Scerri.
The Wanderers restored equilibrium on 66 minutes when Roderick Bajada managed to round two defenders on the left before slotting the ball past Hogg.
Roderick Bajada was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Jamie Pace, Edmond Agius, Ryan Fenech (83’ Dyson Falzon), Denni Rocha Dos Santos (74’ Gilbert Agius), William Barbosa (69’ Alfred Effiong), Michael Mifsud.
Subs not used: Matthew Towns, Ousseni Zongo, Samir Arab, Siraj Arab.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst. Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
SLIEMA Anthony Curmi, Alex Muscat (77’ Timothy Thomas), Josef Mifsud, Mark Scerri, Danial Mitev, Steve Bezzina, Jackson Lima Sequeira, Rumen Galabov, Roderick Bajada, Jorge Santos Silva, Cleavon Frendo.
Subs not used: Keane Cutajar, David Spiteri, Ian Scerri, Glen Chircop, Ryan Dalli, Andrew Caligari.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Saviour Debono Grech
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Thomas Debono
Fourth official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Borg, Mifsud, Bajada, Mitev, Galabov
Scorers: 55’ Roderick Briffa; 66’ Roderick Bajada