With just two rounds of matches to go for the end of the season, Valletta moved to three points behind joint-leaders Birkirkara and Hibernians as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 3-1.
Next weekend, Valletta face Birkirkara while Hibernians take on Mosta.
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Valletta lacked Michael Mifsud and Demba Toure apart from Steve Borg. Tarxien, on the other hand, were in full strength.
The Citizens had an excellent start taking the lead on the 4th minute thanks to Denni Rocha dos Santos who headed the ball home off a cross by Ryan Fenech from the right.
Ten minutes later, the provider was Jason Vandelannoite and Abubakar Bello-Osagie headed home, anticipating goalkeeper Nicky Vella.
On the 37th, Ryan Fenech concluded a swift counter-attack with a pass for Abubakar Bello-Osagie whose goal-bound effort was cleared off the goal line and into a corner by Ryan Sammut.
The Citizens continued to hold the initiative after the break, going close to increasing the lead with attempts by Ryan Fenech and William Barbosa which were neutralised by Nicky Vella.
Valletta made it 3-0 on the 69th when they were awarded a penalty after Leandro da Silva Almeida handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, William Barbosa converted.
Tarxien scored a consolation goal twelve minutes from time when Andrezinho entered the penalty area from the right and tried to serve Roderick Bajada whose attempt was blocked by a defender; the Brazilian midfielder took the rebound, placing the ball at the back of the net.
Ryan Fenech was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Manuel Caruana, Andrew Agius, Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito, Justin Grioli, Ryan Sammut (46’ Leandro da Silva Almeida), Daniel Mariano Bueno, Branislav Timotic, David Fenech (46’ Roderick Bajada), Steve Bonnici (43’ Orosco Anonam).
Subs not used: David Cassar, Steve Sadowski, Mark Tanti, Gianluca Calabretta.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Steven Vella
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Michael Church
VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Fenech (78’ Roderick Briffa), Edmond Agius, William Barbosa, Abubakar Bello-Osagie (72’ Joao Gabriel da Silva), Denni Rocha dos Santos, Dyson Falzon (61’ Daniel Bogdanovic), Jason Vandelannoite, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Joseph Jojo Ogunuppe, Llywelyn Cremona, Manuel Bartolo, Brandon Grech.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Reuben Debono
Referee: Ignasi Villamayor (AND)
Assistant Referees: Laudino Lopez, Manuel Nogueira (AND)
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Bueno, Grioli, Leandro
Scorers: 4’ Denni Rocha dos Santos, 14’ Abubakar Bello-Osagie, 69’ William Barbosa pen, 78’ Andre Reinaldo de Souza Esposito
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
Balzan ended their disappointing run with a 2-1 win over Melita to secure their Premier League status. This was the first win since Riccardo Tumiatti took over as the new Balzan coach.
For Melita, this was another major setback in the battle against relegation as even if they win the remaining two matches against Rabat and Hamrun, it may not be enough to force a decider against relegation.
With coach Patxi Salinas forced to watch the game from the stands, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, Matthew Borg and Karl Vella Petroni were all ruled out injured. Balzan, on the other hand, were in full strength.
Balzan managed to take the lead on the 16th minute thanks to a powerful drive by Firas Aboulezz which beat goalkeeper Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia.
The Amateurs made a timid reaction after the break, going close with a Luke Bianco effort which was parried by Dani Miguelez Martinez while an attempt by Alan Borg Olivier just missed the target.
Balzan doubled the score on 68 minutes when following a Melita defender lost possession to Ryan Darmanin who hit low past goalkeeper Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia.
Melita replied with a George Gribbon headed ending just wide on 72 minutes.
Four minutes later, the Amateurs pulled one back thanks to a header by substitute Antoine Attard off a cross by Julian Galea from the right.
Gabilondo Garcia managed to turn into a corner a good freekick by Aboulezz on the 81st minute.
Melita could have equalised two minutes from time when they were awarded a penalty after Jacob Borg handled the ball inside the area. However from the penalty spot, Julian Galea saw goalkeeper Daniel Miguelez Martinez save partially his attempt.
Firas Aboulezz was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MELITA Guillermo Gabilondo Garcia, Luke Bianco, Ivan Tufegdzic, George Gribbon, Julian Galea, Daniel Cabanillas Ayllon, Luke Micallef, Rudi Alhinho, Alan Borg Olivier (57’ Antoine Attard), Michael Martin (68’ Jean Pierre Attard), Luke Sammut.
Subs not used: Philip Schranz, Michael Valenzia, Andrew Caruana Scicluna, Nigel Rizzo, Marc Attard,.
Coach: Alejandro Martinez Lopez
Asst. Coach: Alfred Zammit
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Nikolai Attard
BALZAN Daniel Miguelez Martinez, Firas Aboulezz, Aaron Agius, Elie Moises Akui N’Dekre (62’ Christian Caruana), Jacob Borg, Yessous Camilleri, Ryan Darmanin, Renato Conceicao, Dylan Grima (89’ Rennie Forace), Matthew Mendy, Jamie Pace.
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Bjorn Bondin, Shaun Bugeja, Kevin Camilleri, Stefan Giglio.
Coach: Riccardo Tumiatti
Asst. Coach: Silvan Ciscaldi
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Peter Abela
Fourth official: Kevin Azzoaprdi
Yellow Cards: Aboulezz, Borg Olivier, Grima, Rizzo, JP Attard, Martinez
Scorers: 16’ Firas Aboulezz, 68’ Ryan Darmanin, 76’ Antoine Attard