Valletta, Floriana share spoils in draw

Valletta will be starting the Championship Pool just two points ahead of second-placed Hibernians and seven ahead of Floriana after being held in a 1-1 draw by the Greens.

For Floriana, this was the third consecutive draw but this result still satisfies the team led by Michael Woods as they managed to avoid defeat after losing the three derbies played earlier this season in the Euro Cup, Super Cup and in the first round of the BOV Premier League.

The Citizens were in full strength as Terence Scerri was back in squad for the first time since May. Floriana, on the other hand, lacked Christian Cassar and goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.

The Greens managed to take the lead on 11 minutes when off a cross by John Mintoff from the left, Ivan Woods headed the ball home past goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.

Roderick Briffa hit the crossbar for Valletta with a shot from outside the area on 17 minutes. Nine minutes later, a shot by Edmond Agius from outside the area was turned into a corner by Patrick Jansen.

Floriana replied with a freekick by Pablo Doffo and a rising shot from the right by Ivan Woods which were both deflected into corners. On the other side of the pitch, following a cross from the right by Panadetiguiri, Aleksandars Cekulajevs tried his luck with a header which was parried by Jansen on 44 minutes.

Two minutes in added time, Valletta notched the equaliser. It was a direct freekick by Ousseni Zongo which gave goalkeeper Patrick Jansen no chance.

Six minutes in the second half, Briffa served Denni on the right but the Brazilian midfielder’s ball-control was quite poor and his conclusion was blocked by the Floriana goalkeeper. Ian Azzopardi then headed high off a Denni freekick from the left on 69 minutes.

Ousseni Zongo was voted BOV Player of the Match.

VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri (81′ William Barbosa), Aleksandars Cekulajevs (66′ Alfred Effiong), Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Edmond Agius, Ousseni Zongo, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Michael Mifsud (59′ Gilbert Agius).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Roderick Bajada, Terrence Scerri, Filippo Andrea Scozzese.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst. Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

FLORIANA Patrick Jansen, Ivan Woods (59′ Christian Caruana), Eric Akoto, Owen Bugeja, John Mintoff, Pablo Doffo, Manolito Micallef, Duncan Pisani, Joseph Borg, Alandson da Silva (63′ Andre Grabowski), Clyde Borg.
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Malcolm Licari, Thomas Paris, Onome Sodje, Ryan Darmanin.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Frank Schembri

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Panadetiguiri, Woods, Effiong, Akoto, S. Borg, Grabowski
Scorers: 11′ Ivan Woods (F); 45+2′ Ousseni Zongo (V)
Attendance: 4,011

Birkirkara registered a second successive as they defeated Spartans 3-1 to join Sliema Wanderers in fourth place. The Stripes will start the Championship Pool on eighteen points.

Hamrun, on the other hand, will be carrying ten points in Relegation Pool like Mqabba, one ahead of Tarxien Rainbows and two behind Mosta.

They welcomed back Anderson Mendes Ribeiro but Lee James Agius was ruled out through suspension. For Birkirkara, Rodrigo Pereira was suspended.

The Stripes managed to take the lead on the 7th minute when Shaun Bajada served Jorge Santos Silva who rounded goalkeeper Omar Borg before placing the ball at the back of the net.

Hamrun replied with a good cross by Dene Shields on the 11th minute but Angus Buhagiar cleared the ball into safety. On the other side of the pitch, Jorge Santos Silva concluded a good run on the right with a low shot which was parried by Omar Borg on the half-hour.

Eight minutes from the end of the first half, Birkirkara doubled the score through Shola Haruna Shodiya who flicked the ball past Borg from close range when served by Bajada.

A Massimo Grima freekick was parried by Reuben Gauci on the 50th minute. Four minutes later, following a cross by Shields from the left, Gaetan Spiteri provided Anderson Mendes Ribeiro with an intelligent pass but the Brazilian striker hit just wide when trying to impress with a back heel shot.

The Spartans reduced the gap on 66 minutes when off a cross by Dene Shields, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro headed home past Gauci.

On 75 minutes, Birkirkara restored a two-goal lead when Bajada released Shodiya inside the area and the latter ended on the ground when trying to dribble an opponent but Jorge Santos Silva slotted the ball past Borg from close range.

Substitute Ryan Spiteri was unlucky to hit the crossbar for Hamrun on 81 minutes when served by Sammut.

Jorge Santos Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.

B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Ryan Scicluna, Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa, Shaun Bajada, Jorge Santos Silva (92′ McAllister Clinch), Paul Fenech, Gareth Sciberras, Angus Buhagiar, Shola Haruna Shodiya (79′ Rowen Muscat), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (62′ Moises Avila Perez).
Subs not used: Karl Magri, Ryan Camenzuli, Fabian Zammit, Michael Camilleri.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino

HAMRUN Omar Borg, Gianluca Calabretta (67′ Glen Azzopardi), Matthew Gauci, Ronni Hartvig, Massimo Grima, Rupert Mangion (74′ David Camilleri), Daniel Zerafa, Gaetan Spiteri (79′ Ryan Spiteri), Dene Shields, Kevin Sammut, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Luke Grech, Diego Cucciardi, Steve Bonnici.
Coach: Stefan Sultana

Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Zerafa
Scorers: 7′ Jorge Santos Silva (B); 37′ Shola Haruna Shodiya (B); 66′ Anderson Mendes Ribeiro (H); 75′ Jorge Santos Silva (B)