Valletta moved back in second place, two points behind leaders Balzan and one ahead of Birkirkara and Hibernians, as they defeated eternal rivals Floriana 3-1 at the National Stadium on Sunday.
The Citizens therefore extend their fine run in the derby with a tenth consecutive win over the Greens who remain fifth on thirteen points.
Valletta had two changes from the team which defeated Tarxien as Jhonnattann and Romeu Romao replaced Njongo Priso and Uchenna Umeh. Floriana, on the hand, had Steve Pisani replacing Conor Borg.
Valletta took the lead on the 9th minute when off an assist by Abdelkarim Nafti the on-rushing Federico Falcone slotted the ball past Calleja Cremona.
The Citizens doubled the score on the 26the when off a Jhonnattann freekick from the right, Ian Azzopardi’s fine header beat the Floriana goalkeeper.
Floriana pulled one back two minutes later when off a Steve Pisani cross from the right, Mario Fontanella anticipated goalkeeper Henry Bonello placing the ball at the back of the net.
Four minutes later, the Greens were awarded a penalty after Matteo Picciollo was brought down inside the area by Azzopardi but the Italian striker’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by the Valletta goalkeeper.
Just before half-time, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao scored direct from a freekick from a central position to make it 3-1 for Valletta.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Cruz Gill, Roderick Briffa, Federico Matias Falcone, Llywelyn Cremona, Claudio Pani, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (88′ Russell Fenech), Abdelkarim Nafti (76′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Romeu Pericles Romao (67′ Albert Bruce).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Jean Borg, Jurgen Suda.
Coach: Paul Zammit
FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Antonio Monticelli, Enrico Pepe, Steve Pisani (61′ Juninho Cabral), Clyde Borg (81′ Conor Borg), Jurgen Pisani, Filippo Andrea Scozzese, Matteo Picciollo, Emanuel Briffa, Nicolas Chiesa, Mario Fontanella.
Subs not used: Tyrone Gauci, Andre Scicluna, Daniel Agius, Steve Bonnici, Firas Aboulezz,.
Coach: Luis Oliveira
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, William Debattista
Additional Assistant Referees: Clayton Pisani, Fyodor Zammit
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Pani, J. Pisani, Azzopardi
Scorers: 9’ Matias Falcone, 26’ Ian Azzopardi, 28’ Mario Fontanella, 45′ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao