Valletta dropped two important points as they were held in a 1-1 draw by Balzan. A draw which keeps the Citizens in third place, four points behind Hibernians and one behind champions Birkirkara.
On the other hand, for Balzan, this was a positive result which enables them to join Floriana, Tarxien and Vittoriosa in seventh place on nine points.
Balzan welcomed back Michael Falzon and Justin Grioli but Dani Miguelez, Aaron Agius, Mark Spiteri, Firas Aboulezz and Erjon Beu were all missing for Jesmond Zerafa’s side. Ian Azzopardi and Hamza Barry were ruled out for Valletta.
The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on the 18th minute with a Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza effort ending just wide off a Ryan Fenech assist. Seven minutes later, Edmond Agius went close with a good attempt when served by Denni.
Valletta managed to take the lead on the 27th when off a cross from the left by Aziz Corr Nyang, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza flicked the ball past goalkeeper Michael Falzon with a defender slightly deflecting the ball before ending at the back of the net.
Three minutes in the second half, Balzan were awarded a penalty after Yenz Cini floored Lydon Micallef inside the area. Jose Luis Armario Negrin converted from the penalty spot.
The Citizens received another setback on the 53rd minute when Jason Vandelannoite picked a second yellow card for a foul in midfield.
Following a cross from the left by substitute Abdelkarim Nafti, another substitute Steve Borg had a shot from close range blocked at point blank by Michael Falzon. Off a Shaun Bajada freekick, Nafti had a powerful shot from the edge of the area blocked into a corner.
In a swift counter-attack for Balzan, Jose Luis Armario Negrin brought the best out of Yenz Cini who turned his attempt into a corner. A Fabio Vignaroli freekick created havoc inside the area five minutes from time with Ryan Darmanin finally hitting just wide.
BALZAN Michael Falzon, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Andrew Scicluna, Gianluca Calabretta, Fabio Vignaroli, Luke Sciberras, Joselito dos Reis (69′ Ryan Darmanin), Dylan Grima, Lydon Micallef, Jose Luis Armario Negrin (81′ Godwin McKay).
Subs not used: Guilherme Lorenzi Schelski, Shaun Bugeja, Charlie Fuller, Gianfranco Micallef, Ryan Darmanin, Levi Fernandez.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Fenech, Edmond Agius (59′ Steve Borg), Roderick Briffa, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (59′ Abdelkarim Nafti), Aziz Corr Nyang, Shaun Bajada, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Jason Lee Vandelannoite, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Ian Zammit, Dyson Falzon, Llywelyn Cremona, Yessous Camilleri.
Coach: Mark Miller
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Additional Assistant Referees: Kevin Azzopardi, Andre Arciola
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: J. Vandelannoite, Y. Cini, F. Vignaroli, R. Fenech, G. McKay
Red Cards: 53′ Jason Vandelannoite
Scorers: 27′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (V); 48′ Jose Luis Armario Negrin pen (B)
BOV Player of the Match: Jose Luis Armario Negrin