Qormi gave Valletta a hard time but the Citizens scored a late goal to beat them 2-1 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium and move temporarily on top the BOV Premier League table. This fourth consecutive win for Valletta puts them one point ahead of Balzan and four ahead of Hibernians and Birkirkara, who however have a game in hand.
On the other hand, this was the fourth consecutive defeat for Qormi and the third successive game lost after conceding a goal late in the game.
Valletta had Albert Bruce and Njongo Priso replacing the injured Roderick Briffa and Jhonnattan. Also missing for the Citizens was Jonathan Caruana. Qormi lacked goalkeeper Andreas Vella and replacing him in goal was Jean Matthias Vella. Terence Vella replaced Ryan Micallef.
It was a great goal which put Valletta ahead on the 11th minute when off a cross by Romeu Romao, Federico Falcone’s acrobatic overhead kick gave goalkeeper Jean Matthias Vella no chance.
Qormi levelled matters on the 24th thanks to a first-time effort by Terence Vella when served by Carlo Monti.
On the 65th, Qormi almost forged ahead but Henry Bonello blocked Alex Nilsson’s close-range effort. Eleven minutes later, Noah Ojuola missed an excellent opportunity hitting high following a swift counter-attack for Qormi.
However eight minutes from time, Valletta notched the winner when Abdelkarim Nafti’s direct freekick saw the ball hit the woodwork and bounce on the goalkeeper before ending at the back of the net.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Camielleri, Juan Gill Cruz, Albert Bruce, Njongo Priso (83′ Jurgen Suda), Federico Matias Falcone (86′ Jean Borg), Llywelyn Cremona (69′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Claudio Pani, Abdelkarim Nafti, Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Russell Fenech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
QORMI Jean Matthias Vella, Alessio Cassar, Ousmane Sidibe, Noah Olawole Ojuola, Billy Velo Berntsson, Steve Agius (41′ Emerson Vella), Clifford Gauci, Kurt Magro (80′ Sorin Virgil Oproiescu), Carlo Gordon Monti, Terence Vella (68′ Ryan Micallef), Alex Nilsson.
Subs not used: Isaac Kyle Grima, Karl Sciortino, Juan Carlos Vieira Peixoto, Joshua Barbara.
Coach: Johann Scicluna
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Cremona, Berntsson, Agius, Magro
Scorers: 11′ Federico Falcone, 24′ Terence Vella, 82′ Abdelkarim Nafti
BOV Player of the Match: Jean Matthias Vella
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 871
Meanwhile Sliema Wanderers returned to winning ways as they defeated Naxxar Lions 2-1 at the National Stadium.
For Naxxar, Angus Buhagiar and David Fenech replaced Ryan Gilmour Cassar and the suspended Richard Cardozo. Sliema coach Stephen Azzopardi named Benjamin Essel, Pedrinho and Johann Bezzina in the starting line-up as they replaced Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, John Mintoff and Marko Potezica.
The Blues went close to taking the lead after just two minutes with a powerful shot by Pedrinho hitting the upright.
However they were not to be denied on the 7th minute when off a Pedrinho freekick, Aidan Jake Friggieri slotted the ball past goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi.
Sliema doubled the score on 33 minutes when Rafael Ledesma’sdirect freekick from the right beat Azzopardi in the bottom right side.
Naxxar pulled one back on 36 minutes thanks to Daren Falzon who received a through pass and advanced, anticipating goalkeeper Entonjo Elezaj.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Blazo Rajovic, Andrew Scicluna, Moise Gnenegbe Zady, (85’ Duane Bonnici), Daren Falzon, Jurgen Debono, Ishmael Grech, David Fenech (46’ Oussou Noudehouenon Sidoine), Angus Buhagiar, Emiliano Lattes, Armando Tarlazis Viera dos Santos.
Subs: Luke Pecorella, Mattia Del Negro, Arya Koorosh Haghigi, Isaac McCarthy, Ryan Gilmour Cassar.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
SLIEMA Entonio Elezaj (64’ Glenn Zammit), Alex Muscat, Benjamin Essel, Mark Scerri, Pedro Henrique Dos Santos Calcado (89’ Cristian Fernando Toro Perdomo), Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (81’ Peter Xuereb), Aiden Jake Friggieri, Johann Bezzina Gary Muir, Stefano Bianciardi, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Cristian, John Mintoff, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ryan Dalli, Michele Sansone.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri David Castillo
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Gnenegbe, Oussou, Pedrinho, Scicluna, Muscat
Scorers: 7’ Aiden Jake Friggieri, 33’ Rafael Ledesma, 36‘ Daren Falzon
BOV Player of the Match: Pedro Henrique Dos Santos Calcado
Attendence at the National Stadium: 427