A goal after just two minutes and another in added time enabled Valletta to beat Birkirkara 2-0 and claim the the Premier League championship number twenty-two in the history of the club.
Valletta showed the better ideas during the first half, deserving the lead, and although Birkirkara, who needed just a point to claim the title, created their fair share of scoring opportunities, Valletta goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili performed some fine saves to keep them at bay.
The two coaches made no changes to their teams from the previous outings with Roderick Briffa starting the game on the bench for Valletta and Alejandro Mendoza missing for Birkirkara.
The Citizens had a perfect start taking the lead after just two minutes thanks to a great freekick from the right by Shaun Bajada which gave goalkeeper Justin Haber no chance.
Birkirkara replied with a Zach Muscat header which was tipped into a corner by Revishvili on he 9th minute. Justin Haber then came to the rescue on a first-time effort by Alan da Silva Souza following a cross from the left by Abdelkarim Nafti on 25 minutes.
Two minutes later, Luke Montebello headed wide off a cross by Nafti. Another header by Montebello, off a cross by Alan, was blocked into a corner on the half-hour. On the other side of the pitch, a rising shot by Paul Fenech ended high when served just inside the area on the 35th.
In the second half, Birkirkara tried to create more but the Valletta rear-guard did a good job in controlling their opponents.
Georgian goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili performed a good save on a Paul Fenech freekick on the 70th. Seven minutes for time, the Georgian goalkeeper was prominent in intercepting an inviting pass by substitute Frank Temile before Ronaille Calheira Seara could deposit the ball into the net. One minute later, Revishvili performed a great save at point blank on Temile following a cross from the right by Edward Herrera. On the 90th, a low powerful shot by Frank Temile scraped past the post.
In added time, Abdelkarim Nafti missed a good opportunity of doubling the score when he had a first attempt blocked by a defender and off the rebound, he concluded high.
However a minute later, Valletta sealed the issue with a second goal as substitute Roderick Briffa received the ball on the edge of the area and with a low shot, he beat goalkeeper Justin Haber. It was all over for the Stripes as Valletta jumped onto the field of play to celebrate with the players with referee Chris Lautier blowing the final whistle.
Photos courtesy of Bank of Valletta
B’KARA Justin Haber, Zach Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Matheus Bissi da Silva (59′ Frank Temile), Joseph Zerafa, Paul Fenech, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat (72′ Ronaille Calheira Seara), Edward Herrera, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Ryan Scicluna, Daniel Zerafa, Ryan Scicluna. Terence Vella.
Coach: Paul Zammit
VALLETTA Nukri Revishvili, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech (87′ Edmond Agius), Luke Montebello (81′ Lateef Elford-Alliyu), Alan da Silva Souza, Shaun Bajada, Denni Rocha dos Santos (75′ Roderick Briffa), Irakli Maisuradze, Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Ian Azzopardi, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Andre Paus
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Roberto Vella
Additional Assistant Referees: Mario Apap, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Paul Apap
Yellow Cards: P. Fenech, S. Borg, A. Nafti, N. Revishvili
Scorers: 2′ Shaun Bajada, 90+4′ Roderick Briffa
BOV Player of the Match: Shaun Bajada