Valletta moved third, three points behind leaders Balzan and two behind Hibernians, as they defeated Hamrun Spartans 3-0 at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Hamrun had two changes from the team which defeated Pembroke as Luis Vergara Rodriguez and Luke Sciberras replaced Mark Anthony Borg and Luke Grech. With Henry Bonello still ruled out through suspension, Dziugas Bartkus once again started in goal for Valletta. On the other hand, Romeu Romao and Llwelyn Cremona replaced Jonathan Caruana and Santiago Malano.
The Citizens took the lead just before half-time when goalkeeper Fredrick Tabone brought Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao down inside the penalty area; the referee ordered a penalty and Jhonattann made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Hamrun were reduced to ten men on the 74th minute when Jorge Mesqueu Neto was given marching orders by referee Malcolm Spiteri after receiving a second yellow card.
Two minutes later, Valletta doubled the score thanks to a diagonal shot by Leandro Aguirre which gave the Hamrun custodian no chance.
The Citizens sealed the issue with a third goal on the 91st minute thanks to a powerful shot from inside the area by Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao which beat Tabone for the third time.[gallery_bank type=”images” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” display=”all” sort_by=”random” animation_effect=”bounce” album_title=”true” album_id=”29″]
VALLETTA Dziugas Bartkus, Romeu Romao, Leandro Aquirre, Valdo Alhinho Goncalves, Claudio Pani, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, Federico Matias Falcone (68’ Jean Borg), Ryan Camilleri, Steve Borg, Llywelyn Cremona (89’ Nicholas Pulis), Michael Mifsud (81’ Jurgen Suda).
Subs not used: Maverick Buhagiar, Ian Azzopardi, Leon Camilleri, Russel Fenech,
Coach: Paul Zammit
HAMRUN Fredrick Tabone, Glenn Azzopardi, Patrick Jean Teixeira Maia, Luke Sciberras, Luis Miguel Vergara Rodriguez, Saturday Nanapere, Jorge Mesqueu Neto, Leandro Wallace Motta dos Santos (67’ Massimiliano Giusti), Jake Grech, Sergio Raphael Dos Anjos Raphael, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (85’ Rodney Refalo).
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Mark Anthony Borg, Daren Falzon, Luke Grech, Philip Chircop.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Martin Borg
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Jorginho, Aguirre, Tabone, Vergara, Romao, Pani
Red Cards: 74′ Jorginho
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattann Benites Da Conceicao
Attendance at the National Stadium: 3,201
Renato Vella reporting at the National Stadium
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Pembroke Athleta returned to winning ways as they scored three goals in the first half to defeat Mosta 3-0 in the basement clash. Although Pembroke remain at the bottom of the table, Pembroke move to just one point behind Mosta.
This was the first win for Macedonian coach Artim Shaqiri since he took over as new Pembroke coach. Mosta, with JoJo Bajada, officially, as their new coach, have now suffered three defeats in the last five matches.
Mosta had three changes as Emerson Vella, Kurt Magro and Bradley Meledje were preferred to Kyle Frendo, Kemar Reid and Kevaun Atkinson. On the other hand, for Pembroke, Adrian Borg and Haruna Shola Shodiya replaced Brandon Muscat and Clifford Gauci.
Pembroke took the lead on the 15th minute when off Jhonathan Bernardo Mariano intelligently served Borche Manevski whose conclusion was deflected by Emerson Vella for an own goal.
On the 35th, Pembroke scored the second goal when off a cross from the right by Jhonathan Bernardo Mariano, Luca Martinelli chipped the ball over the goalkeeper, in an attempt to clear into safety, for an own goal.
Four minutes from the end of the first half, Manolito Micallef scored the third goal with a shot from the right when served by Shola Shodiya.
MOSTA Yenz Cini, Emerson Vella, Luca Martinelli (46′ Adrian Caruana), Ricardo Adrian Martin (46′ Martin Vlcek), Triston Anthony Grant, Gabriel Bezak (38′ Kyle Frendo), Kurt Magro, Bradley Meledje, Dexter Xuereb, Dany Djoufack, Njongo Priso.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo, Antoine Borg, Neil Frendo, Zachary Brincat.
Coach: JoJo Bajada
PEMBROKE Matthew Calleja Cremona, Zoran Levnaic, Asani Djeljilj, Manolito Micallef, Paltemio Barbetti, Siraj Arab Eddin, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Jhonathan Bernardo Mariano, Boche Manevski (77′ Owen Bugeja), Filippo Andrea Scozzese, Adrian Borg.
Subs not used: Craig Abdilla, Julian Zammit, David Fenech, Tyron Fenech, Neil Micallef, Ronaldo Cassar.
Coach: Artim Shaqiri
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: Djoufack, Grant, Priso
Scorers: 15′ own goal Emerson Vella, 35′ own goal Luca Martinelli, 41′ Manolito Micallef
BOV Player of the Match: Manolito Micallef
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 265