Nafti brace sinks Pietà

Abdelkarim Nafti scored twice during the second half as Valletta defeated Pietà Hotspurs 2-1 to join Birkirkara in second place.

After a good display against Hibernians, Pietà played another good game but they remain second from bottom on 12 points together with Qormi and Zebbug, one ahead of Tarxien.

Valletta managed to break the deadlock nine minutes in the second half when off a through pass by Shaun Bajada, Abdelkarim Nafti hit the ball past goalkeeper Miguel Montfort.

Two minutes later, off a corner by Nafti, Steve Borg’s goal-bound header was cleared off the goal-line by Gabriel. In a swift counter-attack for Pietà, Luke Micallef was unlucky to hit the upright after he advanced on the right and rounded Marino.

Pietà equalised on the 71st minute when Luke Micallef beat a defender on the run, serving Claudio Frances who rounded the goalkeeper before placing the ball at the back of the net.

A minute later, Valletta regained the lead thanks to Abdelkarim Nafti who chipped the ball ball over goalkeeper Miguel Montfort.

VALLETTA Pietro Demetrio Marino, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Camilleri, Hamza Barry, Ikenna Paul Hillary (86′ Roderick Briffa), Shaun Bajada, Llywelyn Cremona (78′ Luke Dimech), Abdelkarim Nafti, Steve Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Djamel Leeflang (43′ Ryan Fenech).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Hamid Ismaeel Alkamali, Daniel Camilleri, Kurt Borg.
Coach: Gilbert Agius

PIETÀ Miguel Montfort, Karl Micallef, Christian Grech, Leonardo Fortunato dos Santos, Jurgen Pisani, Joao Gabriel da Silva (74′ Kyle Cesare), Cain Attard, Rafael Rodrigues da Silva (16′ Ricardo Costa), Charles Nnaemeka Newuche (62′ Dylon Agius), Luke Micallef, Claudio Frances.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Orosco Anonam, Ayrton Mizzi, Neil Pace Cocks.
Coach: Noel Coleiro

Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Peter Abela
Additional Assistant Referees: Chris Lautier, Glenn Tonna
Fourth Official: Thomas Debono
Yellow Cards: Gabriel
Scorers: 54′ Abdelkarim Nafti, 71′ Claudio Frances, 72′ Abdelkarim Nafti
BOV Player of the Match: Abdelkarim Nafti
Attendance: 667