Early goal paves the way for comfortable Valletta win

Valletta bounced back from the defeat to leaders Hibernians with a 3-1 win over Sliema Wanderers. A win which puts them on level points with Birkirkara, fifteen points behind the leaders.

For the Wanderers, this was the third defeat in four matches, therefore staying in the seventh place.

Apart from the suspended Jonathan Caruana and Ryan Fenech, Valletta could not count on the injured Shaun Bajada. Sliema, on the other hand, lacked Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Trevor Cilia and Michael Mifsud.

Valletta had a perfect start taking the lead on the 4th minute thanks to a powerful shot by Llwelyn Cremona which beat goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.

The Citizens doubled the score on the 20th with Hamza Barry beating the Sliema custodian with a low shot from inside the area after receiving an assist on the left.

Cremona went close once again for Valletta but his attempt was blocked by a defender. On the half-hour, a header by Guy Gnabouyou for Sliema hit the crossbar with Nicky Vella beaten.

Six minutes from the end of the first half, Sliema were awarded a penalty in what seemed a rather harsh decision as Mark Scerri and Llywelyn Cremona got in contact with each other on the edge of the area. However Andrea Pisanu’s effort from the penalty spot hit the foot of the upright.

Ten minutes in the second half, Hamza Barry scored the third goal thanks to a powerful shot from inside the area which hit the upright before ending at the back of the net following an assist from the left.

In added time, Sliema reduced the gap thanks to a goal by Marko Potezica who beat Nicky Vella with a shot from close range when served by Gnabouyou.

VALLETTA Nicky Vella Ian Azzopardi, Steve Borg (83′ Hamid Al Kamali), Ryan Camilleri, Roderick Briffa, Luke Montebello, Lateef Elford-Alliyu, Hamza Barry (75′ Christian Caruana), Llywelyn Cremona, Abdelkarim Nafti (90′ Ian Montanaro), Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Leon Camilleri, Nicholas Pulis, Daniel Camilleri.
Coach: Gilbert Agius

SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Luca Martinelli, Guy Kassa Gnabouyou, Filippo Andrea Scozzese, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Andrea Pisanu (63′ Fabio Mangiacasale), Clive Psaila (46′ Peter Xuereb), Aidan Jake Friggieri (90′ Carl Cassar), Marko Potezica, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Alex Muscat, Iousef Meli, Beppe Muscat.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi

Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Bianciardi, Briffa, Vella
Scorers: 4′ Llywelyn Cremona, 20′ Hamza Barry, 55′ Hamza Barry, 90+1′ Marko Potezica
BOV Player of the Match: Hamza Barry
Attendance: 1,053