Valletta moved back on top the BOV Premier League table but the game turned out to be more difficult than expected to beat ten-man Balzan Youths 1-0. They are now two points ahead of Hibernians, who however have a game in hand.
The Citizens held the initiative right from the start. On the 3rd minue, a cross shot from the left by Jamie Pace was easily saved by Matthew Camilleri. Three minutes later, a shot by William Barbosa from inside the penalty area ended over the bar. Edmond Agius then received a through pass by Gilbert Agius but his conclusion ended wide.
Nikola Tasic then cleared the ball into safety off a corner by Dyson Falzon from the right. On the other side of the pitch, a freekick from the right by Pedro Dos Santos Calcado was easily blocked by the Valletta keeper on 18 minutes. Gilbert Agius then tried his luck with a shot from outside the penalty area ending just over the bar.
Balzan were reduced to ten men on 24 minutes when Clifton Ciantar was sent off for an early shower by referee Andre Arciola following a bad tackle on Jonathan Caruana.
On 29 minutes, Gilbert Agius’ through pass was well controlled by Barbosa whose attempt ended over the crossbar and three minutes later, a freekick by Calcado was parried by Andrew Hogg. William Barbosa had a shot from outside the area blocked by the Balzan defence on 37 minutes and off the rebound, Jamie Pace’s low effort ended just wide.
Six minutes, a David Fenech cross from the right was met by Miguel Ciantar whose conclusion ended high. On 54 minutes, Ryan Fenech served Gilbert Agius inside the area and the latter’s first time effort hit the upright.
On 61 minutes, a Denni Rocha dos Santos cross from the right was met by Michael Mifsud’s header which was blocked by Matthew Camilleri into a corner. Four minutes later, an Edmond Agius effort from outside the penalty area ended high. A freekick by Ryan Fenech from outside the area was punched by the Balzan goalkeeper into a corner.
Valletta finally managed to break the deadlock on 76 minutes thanks to a low shot by Roderick Briffa from outside the penalty area, deflected by Tasic, with the ball ending at the back of the net.
Three minutes from time, Valletta doubled the score. Alfred Effiong gained possession following a shot by Dyson Falzon from outside the area and his low shot beat the Balzan keeper.
Kris Bright was voted BOV Player of the Match.
BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Clifton Ciantar, Rennie Forace, Bledjon Guga, Roderick Farrugia, Nikola Tasic (88′ Fagner Lins Bernardes), Dylan Grima, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Miguel Ciantar (77’ Bondin Bjorn), David Fenech, Kris Bright (90′ Lydon Micallef).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Jonathan Francica, Silvan Ciscaldi, Michael Borg.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Roderick Briffa, Edmond Agius, Jamie Pace (46′ Alfred Effiong), Gilbert Agius, Dyson Falzon, Denni Rocha dos Santos, William Barbosa (46′ Ryan Fenech), Michael Mifsud.
Subs not used: Matthew Towns, Ian Azzopardi, Ramon dos Santos, Ousseni Zongo, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst. Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Andre Arciola
Asst Referees: Konrad Borg, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Borg, Effiong
Red Cards: 24′ Clifton Ciantar
Scorers: 76′ Roderick Briffa, 87′ Alfred Effiong
Mqabba and Mosta shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in a clash between two teams who were promoted from Division 1 last season. A result which satisfied Mqabba rather than Mosta as the latter remain anchored at the bottom of the table with five points.
The Reds, on the other hand, join Balzan on ten points.
Mqabba welcomed back four players after serving a one-match ban, namely Marko Potezica, Branislav Timotic, Clayton Micallef and Mark Anthony Psaila but the latter two were named among the substitutes. However Bojan Mamic was still ruled out through suspension. For Mosta, Italian defender Federico Tisbi was missing as he serves a one-match ban.
Mosta took the lead on 21 minutes thanks to Gilbert Martin whose poweful shot hit the upright before ending at the back of the net.
The Reds replied with a well-taken freekick by Thiago Mazzitelli which was neutralised by Mosta goalkeeper Jonathan Debono on 34 minutes. Two minutes later, off a cross by Mazzitelli from the left, there was a short clearance by Bryan Agius and David Azzopardi’s effort off the rebound was blocked by Debono.
However a few seconds later, Mqabba levelled matters thanks to a goal by Marko Potezica whose long-distance effort gave the Mosta custodian no chance.
Marko Potezica was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Pierre Grima, Marko Potezica, Branislav Timotic, Marlon Briffa (46′ Mauro Bonnici), David Azzopardi, Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli, Claudio Calleja, John Paul Muscat (90′ Shawn Magro), Ryan Sammut, Rene Duca.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Mark Anthony Psaila, Omar Farrugia, Clayton Micallef.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Adrian Borg, Luca Martinelli, Bryan Agius, Yannick Ossok, Kurt Magro, Nikola Bogdanovic (62′ Sheldon Grech), Alex Cini (55′ Arilson Mello da Silva), Gilbert Martin, Ian Zammit, Michel Bertrand Maki Mvondo.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Kane Farrugia, Pio Vassallo, Jonathan Bajada, Firas Aboulezz.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Asst. Coach: Ramon Zammit
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Asst Referees: William Debattista, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Duca, Bogdanovic, Martin, Magro, Grima, Muscat, Zammit, Mazzitelli, Agius
Scorers: 21′ Gilbert Martin; 37′ Marko Potezica