Late Michael Mifsud strike puts Citizens back on track

After dropping five points in a defeat to Floriana and a draw with Birkirkara, leaders Valletta returned to winning ways as they beat Balzan 2-1 to move temporarily four points clear of second-placed Hibernians.

Michael Mifsud turned out the hero for the Citizens as after Balzan had managed to cancel their early lead, it was the former Sliema Wanderers striker who struck late in the game to put them back on track.

Valletta managed to take the lead on the 13th minute when off a short clearance by Steve Bezzina, Federico Falcone took the loose ball and beat the Balzan goalkeeper with a first-time effort.

Balzan showed greater determination after the break, especially following the inclusion of Bojan Kaljevic and on the 59th minute, the Montenegrin striker equalised when he took advantage of an indecision between Camilleri and Bonello following a through pass by Dylan Grima and hit home.

Nine minutes from time, Valletta notched the winner when Federico Falcone sent Michael Mifsud through and the latter pulled to the left before beating Janjusevic with a low shot from just inside the area.

BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Justin Grioli, Paul Fenech, Steve Bezzina, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Clive Brincat, Alfred Effiong, Alan da Silva Souza (46’ Bojan Kaljevic), Lydon Micallef, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Dylan Grima.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Maxim Fosca , Alexander Vujacic, Sean Cipriott, Luke Sciberras, Ryan Fenech
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

VALLETTA Henry Bonello. Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Camilleri, Michael Mifsud (85’ Llywelyn Cremona), Roderick Briffa, Rafael Rodriguez Ledesma (64’ Abdelkarim Nafti), Federico Matias Falcone, Claudio Pani, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (89’ Romeu Pericles Romao).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Jean Borg, Jurgen Suda.

Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, William Debattista
Additional Assistant Referees: Mario Apap, Philip Farrugia
Fourth Official: Luke Portelli
Yellow Cards: Mifsud, Fenech, Pedrinho, Camilleri, Brincat, Falcone, Kaljevic
Scorers: 13’ Federico Matias Falcone, 59’ Bojan Kaljevic, 81’ Michael Mifsud
BOV Player of the Match: Federico Matias Falcone
Attendance at the National Stadium: 2,410

Renato Vella reporting from the National Stadium

Meanwhile Qormi returned to winning ways as a goal early in the first half enabled them to beat Sliema Wanderers 1-0 at the Hibernians Stadium. A win which leaves a slim chance of forcing a decider for the play-off spot should they manage to beat St. Andrews next week and Naxxar lose to Sliema.

Sliema were unlucky not to forge ahead on the 11th minute when a Denni Rocha dos Santos shot from the edge of the area hit the foot of the upright.

However Qormi managed to take the lead five minutes later minute thanks to a header from close range by Noah Olawole Ojuola which beat goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.

QORMI Jean Matthias Vella, Emerson Vella, Kurt Magro (88′ Clint Barbara), Djamel Leeflang, Alessio Cassar, Ousmane Sidibe, Noah Olawole Ojuola, Yannick Yankam, Clifford Gauci, Iven Zammit, Go Nagaoka (66′ Terence Vella).
Subs not used: Miguel Falzon, Joshua Barbara, Immy Micallef, Luke Farrugia, Juan Carlos Vieira Peixoto.
Coach: Johann Scicluna

SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Stefano Bianciardi, Aidan Friggieri, Njongo Priso, Marko Potezica, Michele Sansone (46′ Jean Paul Farrugia), Peter Xuereb, Johann Bezzina (64′ Mark Scerri), Denni Rocha dos Santos, Gary Muir.
Subs not used: Entonjo Elezaj, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Kurt Shaw, Benjamin Essel, Luke Dimech.
Coach: Alfonso Greco

Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Bianciardi, Scerri
Scorers: 16′ Noah Olawole Ojuola
BOV Player of the Match: Noah Olawole Ojuola
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 242