Valletta back in second place — Qormi bounce back in direct clash against relegation

Valletta moved back into second place as they defeated Birkirkara 2-1, therefore halting the Stripes’ positive run of eighteen matches without defeat.

The Citizens are now two points ahead of Birkirkara with two games to go for the end of the Premier League campaign.

Valletta managed to take the lead on the 17th minute when off an Abdelkarim Nafti corner from the left, Steve Borg anticipated goalkeeper Justin Haber to head home.

Birkirkara equalised on the 54th minute when a corner from the right by Rafael Ledesma was not held by Nicky Vella and Ryan Scicluna slammed the ball home.

Valletta regained the lead eight minutes from time when off a cross by Roderick Briffa, the ball was headed into the direction of Hamza Barry who placed the ball at the back of the net.

VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Ryan Fenech, Hamza Barry, Roderick Briffa (92′ Nicholas Pulis), Lateef Elford-Alliyu (72′ Llywelyn Cremona), Shaun Bajada (63′ Ian Azzopardi), Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Pietro Demetrio Marino, Tristan Nappa Licaari, Hamid Al Kamali, Jurgen Suda.
Coach: Gilbert Agius

B’KARA Justin Haber, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma, Nikola Vukanac, Mauricio Matias Latini Mazzetti, Joseph Zerafa, Edward Herrera, Paul Fenech, Zach Muscat (83′ Kurt Zammit), Rowen Muscat, Ryan Camenzuli (46′ Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais), Ryan Scicluna (75′ Matheus Bissi da Silva).
Subs not used: Mirza Hamzabegovic, Antoine Borg, Gareth Sciberras, Edmond Agius.
Coach: Paul Zammit

Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Roberto Vella
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Glen Tonna
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Dimech, Nafti, Z. Muscat, Borg
Scorers: 17′ Steve Borg, 54′ Ryan Scicluna, 81′ Hamza Barry
BOV Player of the Match: Hamza Barry
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1,012

Meanwhile Qormi collected three precious points in the battle against relegation as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 4-0.

Qormi are now ninth on 18 points, two behind Mosta and one behind Naxxar, one ahead of Tarxien, two ahead of Pietà and six ahead of Zebbug.

Mark Miller’s side had a perfect start taking the lead on the 1st minute when Marcelo Roberto Lima De Mattos received a through pass by Leighton Grech and beat Sean Mintoff with a low diagonal shot.

Alex Nilsson doubled the score on the 9th minute when off a cross by Alfred Effiong, the Swedish striker tapped the ball home from close range.

One minute in added time, Qormi scored the third goal when Leighton Grech concluded a solo effort with a diagonal shot which beat the Tarxien goalkeeper.

Edu Vallecillo was unlucky to hit the upright with a header off a cross by Firas Aboulezz on the 75th. Seven minutes from time, Alfred Effiong hit the upright as he concluded a solo effort.

However two minutes in added time, Jonathan Bondin scored the fourth goal as his powerful shot was not held by goalkeeper Sean Mintoff.

TARXIEN Sean Mintoff, Kane Paul Farrugia, Manuel Caruana (87’ Steven Sadowski), Triston Caruana, Eduardo Vallecillo Casado, Jose Angel Godar Pereira, Ishmael Grech, Matthew Tabone (23’ Firas Aboulezz), Mouhamed Soly, Obinna Darlington Ajoku, Manuel Bonaque Acevedo
Subs not used: Antonio Chetcuti, Owen Bugeja, Mikhail Schembri, Nigel Vella, Manuel Xerri,

QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Marcelo Roberto Lima De Mattos (77’ Ryan Micallef), Alfred Effiong, Clifford Gauci, Zoran Levnajic, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Billy Bentsson, Gustavo Villalobos, Leighton Grech (82’ Bjorn Bondin), Alex Nilsson (61’ Alejandro Mendoza Corujo).
Subs not used: Mario Muscat, Jurgen Cilia, Steve Agius, Karl Sciortino.
Coach: Mark Miller

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Berntsson, Farrugia
Scorers 1’ Marcelo Roberto Lima de Mattos, 9’ Alex Nilsson, 45+1’ Leighton Grech, 90+2′ Jonathan Bondin
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 516