First defeat for Valletta — Leighton Grech sinks Hibernians

Champions Valletta continued to disappoint as after four consecutive 1-1 draws, they suffered the first defeat, losing narrowly to Mosta. A defeat which leaves the Citizens one point behind leaders Birkirkara.

This was the first defeat for Valletta who have now gone five matches without a win, winning just one game out of the last seven matches. Mosta, on the other hand, bounce back following the defeats to Birkirkara and Hibernians and are now fourth.

The Citizens had the first attempt at goal with a good freekick by William Barbosa hitting the upright on the 7th. Mosta replied with a cross from the left by Jonathan Bajada on the 15th minute from which Daniel Bogdanovic’s close-range effort hit the posts. A freekick by Bogdanovic ended just wide on 26 minutes. Two minutes later, it was Denni’s turn to hit the upright with a shot from close range.

Mosta forged ahead nine minutes in the second half when Ousseni Zongo released Daniel Bogdanovic on the flank and off the latter’s pass, Obinna Obiefule placed the ball at the back of the net.

The Citizens’ reaction was poor and Mosta goalkeeper Justin Haber was only tested with a couple of shots from outside the area.

Daniel Bogdanovic was voted BOV Player of the Match.

VALLETTA Manuel Bartolo, Dyson Falzon, Ian Azzopardi, Jonathan Caruana, William Barbosa, Edmond Agius (71’ Ian Zammit), Ryan Fenech (46’ Michael Mifsud), Denni Rocha dos Santos, Leandro da Silva Ameida (83’ Riccardo Barreto da Rocha Filho), Joao Gabriel da Silva, Roderick Briffa.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Kurt Magro, Shaun Bajada, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius

MOSTA Justin Haber, Manolito Micallef, Steve Bezzina, Steve Onyii Chiemeka, Luke Dimech, Carlos Campagnoli, Ryan Grech (55’ Firas Aboulezz), Ousseni Zongo, Daniel Bogdanovic, Obinna Obiefule, Jonathan Bajada (72’ Alex Cini).
Subs not used: Noel Attard, Ferdinando Apap, David Maia dos Santos, Danial Mitev, Bryan Agius.
Coach: Steve D’Amato

Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Campagnoli, Briffa, R. Grech, Gabriel, Aboulezz
Scorers: 54’ Obinna Obiefule
Attendance: 1,585

Meanwhile Qormi maintained their positive run as a goal by former Hibernians striker Leighton Grech handed them the three points in a narrow win over the Paolites.

A win which puts Jesmond Zerafa’s side just one point behind Tarxien Rainbows and four ahead of Hamrun Spartans and Qormi. For Hibernians, this was a most disappointing result as they could have taken sole leadership.

The two teams failed to impress and both goalkeepers had a rather quiet afternoon.
Qormi coach Jesmond Zerafa could not count on a number of players, namely Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo, Matthew Gauci and Vincenzo Pisani apart from Gaetan Spiteri. Hibernians, on the other hand, lacked Jackson Lima.

The Paolites could have taken the lead on 19 minutes but off Marcelo Dias’ inviting pass from the right, Andrew Cohen and Anderson Ribeiro and failed to connect. Qormi replied with a powerful shot by Abubakar Bello-Osagie from the edge of the area but Muscat performed a good save on 44 minutes. Just before half-time, Andrew Cohen was unlucky to hit the crossbar after an Anderson Ribeiro effort was blocked by a defender.

Stephen Wellman hit the upright from a direct freekick for Qormi on 69 minutes. Eleven minutes later, Sebastian Aurelio Siritto started a good run on the left but was anticipated by Marcelo Dias before he could conclude.

However on the 82nd minute, Qormi managed to take the lead when Joseph Chetcuti released Leighton Grech on the left and the latter rounded a defender before hitting past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.

Edison Bilbao Zarate was voted BOV Player of the Match.

HIBS Mario Muscat, Scott Chircop, Rodolfo Soares, Ryan Camilleri, Zoran Levnajic (85’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Bjorn Kristensen, Udo Nwoko (58’ John Nwoba), Anderson Mendes Ribeiro (70’ Allan Kardeck dos Santos), Clayton Failla, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Keith Tanti, Johann Bezzina, Jonathan Pearson.
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla

QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Joseph Chetcuti (86’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Luke Sciberras, Sebastian Aurelio Siritto, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Jonathan Bondin, Alessio Cassar, Stephen Wellman, Leighton Grech.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, Jeremy Farrugia, Kane Guedjoma, Dormond Micallef, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Wellman, Nwoko, Bondin, Levnajic, Dias, Soares
Scorers: 82’ Leighton Grech