Valletta kept the pace with leaders Birkirkara as a goal late in the first half and another one just before the final whistle enabled them to beat Sliema Wanderers 2-0 and extend their positive run to twelve matches without defeat.
This was the third defeat in four matches for the Wanderers who now lie in fifth place, one behind Mosta and seven behind Hibernians.
Edmond Agius was missing for Valletta while the unfit Ryan Fenech was retained on the bench. Sliema, on the other hand, lacked Stanley Ohawuchi and Mark Scerri apart from Abubakar Bello-Osagie
Valletta held the initiative during the first half although shots at goal were quite rare but five minutes from half-time, they managed to break the deadlock when off a good move by Alan da Silva Souza on the left, he served Luke Montebello who hit hard past goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.
The Citizens remained the better side during the second half going close to increasing the lead on more than one occasion.
Four minutes from time, Admir Vladavic was sent off for Sliema for hitting Irakli Maisuradze in midfield.
Two minutes in added time, Valletta secured victory when off a perfect pass by Abdelkarim Nafti from the right, substitute Lateef Elford-Alliyu hit home from close range.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Jacob Borg, John Mintoff (79′ Alex Podda), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods, Trevor Cilia (46′ Axl Xuereb), Paltemio Barbetti, Matias Muchardi, Stefano Bianciardi, Admir Vladavic.
Subs not used: Henry Bonello, Carl Cassar, Kane Farrugia, Gabriel Aquilina, Beppe Muscat.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
VALLETTA Nukri Revishvili, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Roderick Briffa, Luke Montebello (69′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Hamza Barry, Alan da Silva Souza (80′ Lateef Elford-Alliyu), Shaun Bajada, Irakli Maisuradze, Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Fenech, Llywelyn Cremona, Dario Tabone.
Coach: Andre Paus
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Christopher Francalanza, Peter Abela
Additional Assistant Referees: Paul Caruana, Adrian Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Barbetti, A. Muscat
Scorers: 40′ Luke Montebello, 90+2′ Lateef Elford-Alliyu
BOV Player of the Match: Hamza Barry