Zebbug Rangers started the third round with a bang as they claimed three important points in a 3-2 win over Valletta. A win which puts Alfonso Greco’s side in the eighth place.
The Citizens, who were coming from a defeat to Balzan and a draw with Birkirkara, therefore drop three important points in their bid to move closer to leaders Hibernians.
Valletta lacked the suspended Roderick Briffa with Ivan Zammit naming Shaun Bajada and Lateef Elford-Alliyu a place in the starting line-up as Llywelyn Cremona started on the bench. Zebbug coach Alfonso Greco handed David Alejandro Reano and Thomas Paris a place in the starting line-up as they replaced Kurt Zammit and the suspended Lee Galea.
The Citizens went close on the 15th with a powerful shot by Ryan Fenech off a Shaun Bajada corner just missing the target. On 22 minutes, Luke Montebello sent Mauricio Britto through who however hit just high.
Zebbug took the lead on 26 minutes when Mathias Muchardi direct from a corner managed to beat Marino.
Eight minutes from the end of the first half, Manuel Bartolo turned into a corner a freekick by Abdelkarim Nafti and from the resulting corner, Ian Azzopardi’s header just missed the target. A minute later, Nafti went close once again with a long-distance shot which scraped past the post.
One minute in added time, the Valletta defence failed to clear the ball off a cross by Luke Montebello and Rashid Yussuff slotted the ball past Marino.
Valletta pulled one back on the hour thanks to Ryan Fenech whose powerful long-distance shot gave Bartolo no chance.
However on the 64th minute, Muchardi sent Luke Montebello through and the 64mins: A through pass by Mucchardi to Luke Montebello who managed to slide the ball from under Marino.
A swerving corner by Shaun Bajada three minutes later, hit the foot of the upright with Bartolo beaten. Four minutes later, a cross created havoc inside the Valletta penalty area with Jonathan Caruana coming to the rescue as he cleared the ball off the goal line.
Seven minutes from time, substitute Kurt Borg scored a second goal for the Citizens as he headed the ball home off a corner by Bajada.
VALLETTA Pietro Demetrio Marino, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi (57′ Djamel Leeflang), Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Ryan Fenech, Hamza Barry, Lateef Elford–Alliyu (46′ Llywelyn Cremona), Shaun Bajada, Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech (70′ Kurt Borg).
Subs not used: Nicholas George Vella, Jean Borg, Ikenna Paul Hillary, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Gilbert Agius
ZEBBUG Manuel Bartolo, Jacob Borg, Paltemio Barbetti, Mathias Mucchardi, Yessous Camilleri, Matthew Bartolo, Rashid Yussuff, Mauricio Osmar Rodrigues Britto, David Alejandro Reano, Thomas Paris (67′ Kurt Zammit), Luke Montebello (87′ Miguel Ciantar).
Subs not used: Jeffrey Farrugia, Shaun Borg, Stefano Zampa, Kurt Tanti, Matthew Gauci.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Yussuff, R. Camilleri, K. Zammit, Cremona
Scorers: 26’ Matias Muchardi, 45+1′ Rashid Yussuff, 60’ Ryan Fenech, 64’ Luke Montebello, 83’ Kurt Borg
BOV Player of the Match: Mathias Muchardi
Despite having a player sent off, Floriana collected the three points in a 2-0 win over Pietà Hotspurs at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
Floriana had three changes from the team which drew with Qormi as Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Gary Muir and Steve Bonnici replaced Brooke Farrugia, Manuel Briffa, Neil Spiteri and Rodrigo Aguiar. Cain Attard and Gabriel were named in the starting line-up for Pietà, replacing Ricardo Costa and the suspended Orosco Anonam.
The Greens had the first attempt at goal on the 23rd minute as Matteo Piciollo hit just wide with a rising shot from a central position just outside the area. Three minutes later, a header by Conor Borg, off a cross by Sacha Borg, was saved by the goalkeeper.
Floriana forged ahead six minutes in the second half when off a Steve Pisani freekick from the right, Matteo Piciollo headed home.
On the hour, the Greens missed an excellent opportunity with Piciollo hitting incredibly high from an ideal position on the left when served by Vito Plut. Two minutes later, Floriana were reduced to ten men after Sacha Borg picked a second yellow card.
However Giovanni Tedesco’s side made sure of the three points on the 76th when Vito Plut rounded the goalkeeper and hit low, the ball hit the foot of the upright and bounced onto the goalkeeper and defender Karl Micallef before ending at the back of the net.
Finally Matthew Calleja Cremona turned into a corner a fine freekick by Claudio Frances on the 85th minute.
FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Douglas Felipe Moreira Cobo, Marcelina Emerson, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Vito Plut (83′ Igor Coronado), Matteo Piciollo, Conor Borg (86′ Manolito Micallef), Gary Muir, Sacha Borg, Steve Bonnici (35′ Emanuel Briffa).
Subs not used: Tyrone Gauci, Darrell Baldacchino, Neil Spiteri, Giovanni Galea.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
PIETÀ Miguel Montfort, Karl Micallef, Leonardo Fortunato dos Santos, Christian Grech, Jurgen Pisani, Joao Gabriel da Silva (55′ Kyle Cesare), Rafael Rodrigues da Silva, Cain Attard (77′ Dylon Agius), Charles Newuche Nnaemeka (55′ Ricardo Costa), Claudio Frances, Luke Micallef.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Ayrton Mizzi, Neil Pace Cocks, Christian Degabriele.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: S. Borg, Pisani, Plut, Frances, Piciollo, K. Micallef, Pisani, Briffa
Red Cards: 62′ Sacha Borg, 76′ own goal
Scorers: 51′ Matteo Piciollo
BOV Player of the Match: Steve Pisani