Champions Valletta moved three points clear in the BOV Premier League after defeating Birkirkara 1-0 in a top-of-the-table clash despite playing for the whole of the second half in ten men.
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Birkirkara lacked Ryan Camenzuli, Gareth Sciberras, Rodrigo Pereira, Nikola Vukanac and Joselito dos Reis. Manuel Bartolo, Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech and Demba Toure were, on the other hand, missing for Valletta.
William Barbosa had the first attempt at goal with a direct freekick which hit the crossbar on the 11th minute as the two teams shared the exchanges.
Denni Rocha dos Santos was sent off for Valletta for retaliation on 41 minutes but three minutes later, the Citizens managed to take the lead when off a cross by Gabriel from the right, Ian Zammit headed the ball home in style past goalkeeper Reuben Gauci.
Paul Fenech went close for Birkirkara twenty minutes in the second half with a shot which hit the woodwork. On the other side of the pitch, a conclusion by substitute Michael Mifsud was blocked by a defender.
One minute in added time, a freekick by William Barbosa ended just over the bar and a few seconds later, substitute Joseph Jo Jo Ogonuppe stole the ball off a defender and advanced on the left but his shot was deflected into a corner by Reuben Gauci.
Joao Gabriel da Silva was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Roderick Briffa, Luke Dimech, Jonathan Caruana, Jason Lee Vandelannoite, William Barbosa, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Joao Gabriel da Silva (90’ Joseph Jo Jo Ogonuppe), Dyson Falzon (87’ Kurt Magro), Ian Zammit (53’ Michael Mifsud), Ian Azzopardi.
Subs not used: Reuben Debono, Edmond Agius, Gilbert Agius, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Keith Fenech
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Ryan Scicluna, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Rowen Muscat, Joseph Zerafa, Edward Herrera, Paul Fenech, Yoismiar Hernandez (75’ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Harun Shola Shodiya, Zach Muscat, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao.
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Ian Schembri, Antoine Borg, Roderick Taliana, Fabian Zammit, Bernard Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Denni, Z. Muscat, R. Scicluna, Fenech, Barbosa
Red Cards: 41’ Denni
Scorers: 44’ Ian Zammit
Qormi and Floriana shared the spoils in a goalless draw. A result which suited neither side as they remain ninth and eighth respectively, virtually resigned to playing in the Relegation Pool.
After losing to Balzan in their last outing, the team led by Jesmond Zerafa showed the better ideas but still this was not enough to get the three points against the Greens who were determined not to end without any points after last week’s defeat to Mosta.
Qormi had three new players in squad, namely Moises Avila Perez, Alfred Effiong and Clyde Camoin but the latter two were included as substitutes during the second half. Edison Bilbao Zarate was ruled out through suspension. Floriana, on the other hand, lacked Igor Coronado and Trevor Cilia.
Qormi had the first attempt at goal on the 22nd minute with Leighton Grech’s effort from the right blocked into a corner. On 42 minutes, in a swift counter-attack, Joseph Chetcuti tried to serve Leighton Grech but the ball was blocked by Owen Bugeja with Moises Avila Perez failing to connect. A minute later, a Stephen Wellman freekick hit the crossbar.
Jonathan Bondin missed a good opportunity, hitting high from theedge of the area following a cross by Avila Perez on 55 minutes. Finally Qormi goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia performed a great save on substitute Luca Casha, turning the ball into a corner on the 81st minute.
Moises Avila Perez was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Matthew Bartolo (82’ Alessio Cassar), Joseph Chetcuti (55’ Alfred Effiong), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Luke Sciberras, Matthew Gauci, Jonathan Bondin, Stephen Wellman, Moises Avila Perez, Leighton Grech (66’ Clyde Camoin).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Roderick Sammut, Carmelo Farrugia, , Gabriel Buttigieg.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Kane Farrugia, Carl Tremarco, Owen Bugeja, Thomas Paris, Duncan Pisani, Joseph Borg, Ryan Darmanin (70’ Luca Casha), Brooke Farrugia, Clyde Borg, Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Francesco Guzman, Manuel Briffa, Isaac Galea, Luke Scorfna, Glen Tabone.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Asst. Coach: Gary Howard
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: B. Farrugia, C. Tremarco