Narrow win puts Citizens nine points clear

Leaders Valletta moved nine points clear on top the BOV Premier League table thanks to a narrow win over Balzan Youths. Hibernians, however, have a game in hand.

The Citizens scored the all-important goal early in the game and from then onwards controlled without particular difficulty.

Goalkeeper Andrew Hogg and Alfred Effiong were missing for Valletta as they were serving a one-match ban but Steve Borg returned after serving a one-match ban. Yessous Camilleri and Clifton Ciantar were missing for Balzan.

Valletta managed to take the lead on the 7th minute thanks to a long distance shot by William Barbosa whose shot ended in the top left corner behind Camilleri.

Denni hit high when served by Ousseni Zongo on 14 minutes. Four minutes later, Michael Mifsud received a through pass but his attempt from inside the area ended high.

Matthew Camilleri blocked a Denni effort from outside the area on 33 minutes and two minutes later, Mifsud entered the area after a failed clearance by a defender but his shot was deflected into a corner by the Balzan goalkeeper. Balzan replied with a Nikola Tasic effort which ended high one minute from the end of the first half.

Six minutes in the second half, Zongo tried to serve Mifsud with a through pass but the Balzan goalkeeper intercepted the ball before the Malta international striker could do any damage. Then off a through pass by Denni, William Barbosa controlled the ball well but his attempt from a distance of around 30 metres ended high over the crossbar.

On the other side of the pitch, on 69 minutes, Nikola Tasic released Forace on the right, the latter entered the penalty area but his attempt was deflected by Cini into a corner.

Finally on the 79th, off a cross by Zongo, Terence Scerri headed the ball in the direction of Steve Borg whose shot was neutralized by the Balzan keeper.

William Barbosa was voted BOV Player of the Match.

VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Edmond Agius, Ousseni Zongo, Denni Rocha dos Santos (86′ Aleksandrs Cekulajevs), William Barbosa, Michael Mifsud (74′ Terence Scerri).
Subs not used: Matthew Towns, Roderick Bajada, Nahuel Pulitano Jimenez, Filippo Andrea Scozzese, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Roderick Farrugia, Rennie Forace, Bledjon Guga, Jonathan Francica, Nikola Tasic, Bjorn Bondin, Jamie Pace, Dylan Grima (87′ Lydon Micallef), Glenn Bonello (73′ Miguel Ciantar), Martin Deyanov (90′ Michael Borg).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Silvan Ciscaldi, Nicholas Zammit, Kevin Camilleri.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official : Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 7’ William Barbosa (V)

Qormi moved a step closer to securing their Premier League status as they returned to winning ways, defeating Marsaxlokk 5-1.

The latter are now almost condemned to playing in Division 1 next season.

Luke Sciberras and Jonathan Bondin were missing for Qormi but Joseph Farrugia and Abubakar Bello-Osagie were back after skipping the last game. Marsaxlokk lacked Sunday Eboh, Peter Oladotun and the suspended Jonathan Xerri.

Qormi were awarded a penalty after just four minutes when Clive Brincat pulled Abubakar Bello Osagie inside the penalty area.

Referee Andre Arciola ordered a penalty and the Nigerian striker made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Two minutes later, Qormi doubled the score when Bello-Osagie served Jorge Pereira da Silva with a through pass and the latter’s low shot from inside the area beat the Marsaxlokk goalkeeper.

Qormi scored the third goal on 24 minutes when off a perfect pass by Bello-Osagie from the left, Jorge Pereira da Silva slotted the ball past Cassar.

Five minutes from the end of the first half, Jorge Pereira da Silva scored the fourth goal thanks to a direct freekick which gave goalkeeper Christian Cassar no chance.

Marsaxlokk pulled one back on 66 minutes thanks to Jean Paul Farrugia who concluded a solo effort with a low diagonal shot from the right which beat goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.

Christian Cassar performed a great save on a powerful drive by Joseph Chetcuti on 75 minutes.

Abubakar Bello Osagie sealed the issue with a fifth goal on the 90th after exchanging the ball with Jorge Pereira and hitting low past the Marsaxlokk goallkeeper.

Jorge Pereira da Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.

M’XLOKK Christian Cassar, Sacha Borg, Jermain Brincat, Clive Brincat (42′ Patrick Borg), Trevor Templeman, Luke Agius, Modesto Valeriani (71′ Craig Debattista), Darren Attard, Gary Caruana, Jean Paul Farrugia, Alex Cesar Pedrozo (80′ Darrell Grech).
Subs not used: Jurgen Muscat, Gabriel Buttigieg, Paul Paris, Darren Tabone.
Coach: Anton Cremona
Assistant Coach: Louis Cutajar

QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Chetcuti, Joseph Farrugia (68′ Ranier Buhagiar), Kenneth Scicluna, Jorge da Silva Pereira, Kris Thackray, Triston Caruana (46′ Carmelo Farrugia), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Vincent Kouadio Adioumani (46′ George Chircop).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Jeremy Farrugia, Alessio Cassar, Stephen Wellman.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi

Referee; Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: none
Scorers: 5’ Abubakar Bello Osagie pen (Q); 7′ Jorge Pereira da Silva (Q); 24′ Jorge Pereira da Silva (Q); 40′ Jorge Pereira da Silva (Q); 66′ Jean Paul Farrugia (M); 90′ Abubakar Bello Osagie (Q)
Attendance: 1,052