Leaders Valletta extended their positive run to fourteen matches as they registered a seventh consecutive win, beating Naxxar Lions 4-0 to move temporarily five points ahead of Hibernians and six ahead of Balzan.
Naxxar could only keep their opponents at bay for most of the first half but once the Citizens managed to take the lead, they never looked back, adding another three goals after the break.
Federico Falcone returned for Valletta after serving a one-match ban but Ian Azzopardi and Romeu Romao were ruled out injured. Naxxar, on the other hand, lacked Ryan Grech.
Valletta made their intentions clear right from the start but a string of fine saves by Alberto Gallinetta in the Naxxar goal kept the Citizens at bay until the 39th minute when they managed to break the deadlock thanks to an Uchenna Calistus Umeh effort from the left which ended in the bottom right corner.
Four minutes in the second half, Valletta doubled the score through Rafael Ledesma who converted a penalty after Federico Falcone was brought down inside the area.
The Citizens increased the lead on the 64th thanks to Federico Falcone following an assist by Llywelyn Cremona from the right.
Naxxar went close to reducing the gap through David Fenech on the 68th but his powerful drive from outside the area hit the crossbar.
Ten minutes from time, Jhonnattann was floored inside the area, referee Mario Apap ordered a penalty and this time, Juan Cruz Gill’s effort hit the foot of the upright.
Substitute Michael Mifsud, however, made it 4-0 on the 88th when he concluded a good run on the right by slotting the ball past the Naxxar custodian.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Juan Cruz Gill, Ryan Camilleri (67′ Jean Borg), Claudio Pani, Federico Falcone, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (74′ Daniel Camilleri), Abdelkarim Nafti (67′ Michael Mifsud), Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Jonathan Caruana, Llywelyn Cremona.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Leon Camilleri, Jurgen Suda, Roderick Briffa.
Coach: Paul Zammit
NAXXAR Alberto Gallinetta, Alvaro Javier Hungria Rosero, Andrew Scicluna, Eduardo Vallecillo Casado, Daren Falzon (56′ Angus Buhagiar)(86′ Adam Pace), Duane Bonnici, Jurgen Debono, Ishmael Grech, David Fenech (73′ Joel Ellul), Ennio Matthews Hamuntenya, Nicola Tasic.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Francesco Gauci, Demba Toure, Gianluca Grima.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Martin Borg
Fourth Official: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Hungria, Vallecillo
Scorers: 39′ Uchenna Calistus Umeh, 49′ Rafael Ledesma pen, 64′ Federico Falcone, 88′ Michael Mifsud
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao