Narrow win in derby puts Citizens in second place

Valletta moved second in the BOV Premier League as a goal by Luke Dimech after just one minute and eight seconds gave them a narrow win in the derby.

Goal-mouth action was rare throughout the ninety minutes and it was only late in the game that both sides threatened their opponents’ rear-guard.

Six successive wins in the last six matches put Ivan Zammit’s side one point ahead of Birkirkara. For the Greens, this was the first defeat after nine positive results.

Valletta had a perfect start, taking the lead after hardly a minute when off an Abdelkarim Nafti freekick, Luke Dimech flicked the ball past Calleja Cremona from the left.

Players and officials from the two teams clashed on the 12th minute following an argument between Nafti and Floriana coach Giovanni Tedesco.

On the 28th, Amadou Samb was lucky not to be sent off when he hit Ian Azzopardi with the elbow with the Valletta defender having to leave the pitch with a broken nose. However the incident went unnoticed by the match officials from San Marino.

Substitute Igor Coronado went close with a shot from outside the area which was partially saved by the Valletta goalkeeper on 78 minutes. Three minutes later, Matteo Piciollo controlled the ball inside the area before testing Marino with a low shot.

Five minutes from time, Ikenna Paul Hilary took a short clearance and tried his luck with a powerful shot from outside the area, ending just wide.

After having a goal disallowed for a foul on Luke Dimech, Floriana were reduced to ten men one minute from time when Matteo Piciollo was sent off for dissent.

VALLETTA Pietro Marino, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi (30′ Ryan Camilleri), Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech (86′ Hamid Al Kamali), Hamza Barry, Roderick Briffa, Ikenna Paul Hillary, Lateef Elford Alliyu (66′ Llywelyn Cremona), Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Tristan Nappa Licari, Kurt Borg, Jurgen Suda.
Coach: Gilbert Agius

FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Marcelina Emerson, Steve Pisani, Vito Plut, Matteo Piciollo, Emanuel Briffa (60′ Giovanni Galea), Amadou Samb (72′ Igor Coronado), Brooke Farrugia (46′ Sacha Borg), Gary Muir, Steve Bonnici, Manolito Micallef.
Subs not used: Tyrone Gauci, Luke Micallef, Daniel Agius, Luca Gatt.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco

Referee: Luca Barbeno (SMR)
Assistant Referees: Francesco Lunardon, Dario Sammaritani (SMR)
Fourth Official: Marco Avoni (SMR)
Yellow Cards: Nafti, Micallef, Marino, Dimech, Barry, Hilary, Pisani
Red Cards: 89′ Matteo Piciollo
Scorers: 2′ Luke Dimech
BOV Player of the Match: Steve Borg