Valletta share top spot with Birkirkara after fourth successive draw

Valletta were held in a fourth consecutive 1-1 draw to lose the chance to regain sole leadership in the BOV Premier League. The Citizens now share the top sport with Birkirkara after they could not go beyond a 1-1 draw with Tarxien Rainbows.

Tarxien, on the other hand, maintain the challenge for a place in the Championship Pool as they join Balzan in sixth place on eighteen points.

The Rainbows lacked Carlo Mamo, David Fenech and Danilo Meira Santos while Steve Borg and Dyson Falzon were missing for Valletta with Gabriel and Michael Mifsud starting on the bench.

Tarxien took the lead on the 10th minute when off a corner by Andrezinho from the left, Evaldo Silva dos Santos head the ball down past goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.

Valletta went close with a corner by Denni on 29 minutes, hitting the crossbar direct from a corner. Then on 36 minutes, Leandro Almeida served Denni whose conclusion ended just wide. Another Denni effort was blocked by David Cassar one minute from the end of the first half. On the other side of the pitch, a diagonal shot by Daniel Mariano Bueno scraped past the post.

Two minutes in the second half, Jonathan Caruana headed just wide off a corner from the right. But the Rainbows threatened once again with an overhead kick by Daniel Mariano Bueno off a cross by Andrezinho on 52 minutes. In a swift counter-attack for Valletta, Michael Mifsud crossed from the left and Leandro da Silva Almeida hit the upright.

Valletta equalised on 58 minutes when Michael Mifsud received a through pass on the right and after entering the penalty area, he slotted the ball past goalkeeper David Cassar.

A good freekick by Andrezinho was parried by Manuel Bartolo on 73 minutes. A freekick by William Barbosa was then partially saved by David Cassar five minutes later.

Andrezinho was voted BOV Player of the Match.

TARXIEN David Cassar, Evaldo Silva dos Santos, Justin Grioli, Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Karl Pulo (91’ Andrew Agius), Ryan Sammut, Mark Tanti (64’ Roderick Bajada), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luiz Romulo de Castro (78’ Manuel Caruana), Orosco Anonam, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Clive Fenech, Nigel Vella.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella

VALLETTA Manuel Bartolo, Ricardo Barreto da Rocha Filho (70’ Gabriel da Silva), Kurt Magro, William Barbosa, Ryan Fenech, Shaun Bajada (46’ Michael Mifsud), Roderick Briffa, Jonathan Caruana, Leandro da Silva Almeida (84’ Ian Zammit), Ian Azzopardi, Denni Rocha dos Santos.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Edmond Agius, Llywelyn Cremona, Isaac Zammit.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth Official: Glenn Tonna
Yellow Cards: Andrezinho, de Castro, Grioli, R. Fenech, J. Caruana, Evaldo, I. Azzopardi
Scorers: 10’ Evaldo Silva dos Santos; 58′ Michael Mifsud
Attendance: 1,026

Qormi claimed another three points as an early goal paved the way for a comfortable 3-0 win over Rabat Ajax. A win which puts them in eighth place, ahead of rivals Hamrun Spartans.

The Magpies, on the other hand, disappointed once again, remaining anchored at the bottom of the table with just three points.

Both sides were unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Adam Smeir, Chris Schembri, Ryan Micallef, Wayne Borg and Nerijus Astrauskas for Rabat, Matthew Bartolo and Luke Sciberras for Qormi.

Qormi made their intentions clear right from the start and after just one minute a cross shot from the right by Leighton Grech was saved with particular difficulty. A minute later, a shot from outside the area by Joseph Chetcuti was parried by Azzopardi.

The first goal arrived on the 9th minute when off a good move on the right by Leighton Grech, he passed the ball to Sebastian Aurelio Siritto who flicked the ball home past goalkeeper Jonathan Azzopardi.

Leighton Grech went close with a great solo effort but his conclusion was neutralised by the Rabat goalkeeper on 15 minutes. Six minutes later, Grech served Siritto and the Argentine striker’s powerful derive hit the upright with Azzopardi beaten. Leighton Grech almost added another goal with a first-time effort after an erratic clearance by a defender on 28 minutes.

Qormi doubled the score on 31 minutes when they were awarded a penalty following a tackle by Clive Brincat on Siritto. From the penalty spot, Abubakar Bello-Osagie converted.

Abubakar Bello-Osagie increased the lead on 67 minutes when he received the ball inside the area, hitting low past goalkeeper Jonathan Azzopardi.

Leighton Grech was voted BOV Player of the Match.

QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Roderick Sammut (60’ Stephen Wellman), Joseph Chetcuti, Abubakar Bello-Osagie (83’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Matthew Gauci, Sebastian Aurelio Siritto, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Jonathan Bondin (72’ Carmelo Farrugia), Alessio Cassar, Leighton Grech.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Jeremy Farrugia, Vincenzo Pisani, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat

RABAT Jonathan Azzopardi, Ivan Carapic, Jonathan Caruana, Heiner Backhaus, Justin Felice, Manuel Moral Fuster (83’ Kurt Muscat), Dylan Falzon, Clive Brincat, Yan Cauchi (30’ Patrick Borg), David Azzopardi, Clifford Gauci (79’ Chris Vella).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Gaetano Gesualdi, Neil Farrugia, Zachary Tanti.
Coach: Silvio Vella
Asst. Coach: Joe Galea

Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: C. Brincat, M. Gauci
Scorers: 9’ Sebastian Aurelio Siritto, 31’ Abubakar Bello-Osagie pen; 67’ Abubakar Bello-Osagie