Denni inspires Valletta to derby win

valletta-floriana131208pzcValletta kept the pace with leaders Hibernians and Birkirkara as they scored one in each half to beat neighbours Floriana 2-0. The Citizens therefore move back to just one point behind the Paolites before next weekend’s big clash between the two rivals.

Floriana, on the other hand, remain in seventh place together with Tarxien and Balzan, three points behind Naxxar Lions and one ahead of Qormi.

Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

Valletta had Spanish defender Oscar Reyes Sanchez making his debut but could not count on the injured Ian Azzopardi, Dyson Falzon, Hamza Barry and Lateef Elford-Alliyu together with Jason Vandelannoite who is suspended by the club. Sacha Borg and Jonathan Xerri were missing for Floriana. Coach Ian Dawes handed the debut to seventeen-year old Darrell Baldacchino.

Although the Citizens were the better side, shots at goal were quite rare until a brilliant scissors-kick by Denni Rocha dos Santos brought the best out of goalkeeper Daniel Hanford who turned the ball into a corner in style on 34 minutes. A minute later, off another cross by Roderick Briffa, Denni’s header scraped past the post.

This was the prelude for the goal as Denni Rocha dos Santos managed to put Valletta ahead on the 40th with a low shot from the right after receiving a through pass by Edmond Agius and beating the challenge of Ibok Edet and Darrell Baldacchino.

Steve Borg tested Daniel Hanford with a good header off a corner from the right by Abdelkarim Nafti on 62 minutes.

Valletta doubled the score on the 70th minute when off a cross by Denni from the left, Abdelkarim Nafti headed the ball down for Edmond Agius to hit low past the Floriana goalkeeper.

In stoppage time, substitute Ian Zammit could have scored a third goal but his diagonal shot from the right scraped past the post.

FLORIANA Daniel Hanford, Andre Scicluna, Emanuel Ibok Edet, Steve Pisani (63′ Luca Casha), Christian Caruana (75′ Brooke Farrugia), Igor Coronado, Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa, Darrell Baldacchino, Clyde Borg, Joseph Borg, Gary Muir.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Sunday Eboh, Giacomo Favero, Glen Tabone, Isaac Galea.
Coach: Ian Dawes

VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech, Edmond Agius (82′ Shaun Bajada), Roderick Briffa, Oscar Reyes Sanchez, Raimi Bakare, Aziz Corr Nyang, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Abdelkarim Nafti (80′ Ian Zammit), Luke Dimech (72′ Jonathan Caruana).
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Llywelyn Cremona, Yessous Camilleri.
Coach: Mark Miller

Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Dimech, Cini, Pisani
Scorers: 40′ Denni Rocha dos Santos, 70′ Edmond Agius
BOV Player of the Match: Denni Rocha dos Santos
Attendance: 1,491