A last-gasp goal by Abdelkarim Nafti enabled Valletta to beat Naxxar Lions 1-0, therefore keeping the pace with second-placed Birkirkara.
Naxxar could consider themselves unlucky to leave Ta’ Qali empty-handed after sharing the exchanges with their opponents for long stretches. However they are still in a rather comfortable mid-table position as they lie six points ahead of Pietà and Zebbug and seven ahead of Tarxien.
The Citizens lacked Ryan Camilleri, Ryan Fenech and Lateef Elford-Alliyu. Gilmar da Silva Riberio, on the other hand, was back for Naxxar.
Valletta went close to taking the lead on the 12th minute thanks to an Abdelkarim Nafti effort, direct from a corner, which hit the upiright.
Six minutes from time, it was Naxxar’s turn to hit the posts, this time with a cross-shot by Gilmar, deflected by Angus Buhagiar.
However three minutes in added time Abdelkarim Nafti scored the all-important goal when his rising shot from the left gave goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi no chance.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva (46′ Demba Toure), Albert Bruce, Frank Temile, Terence Vella (79′ Daren Falzon), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Victor Bellia, Duane Bonnici, Yaron Sammut, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
VALLETTA Pietro Marino, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Steve Borg, Roderick Briffa, Ikenna Paul Hilary, Shaun Bajada (25′ Kurt Borg)(78′ Djamel Leeflang), Llywelyn Cremona, Luke Dimech, Abdelkarim Nafti, Hamza Barry.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Tristan Nappa Licari, Hamid Al Kamali, Jean Borg, Djamel Leeflang, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Gilbert Agius
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Briffa, Scicluna
BOV Player of the Match: Frank Temile