Valletta dropped two important points in a 1-1 draw with St. Andrews at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. A draw which denies the Citizens the opportunity to close the gap with Balzan and Hibernians.
For St. Andrews, who had already held Valletta in another draw in the first round, this was another precious point which puts them further away from the danger zone.
The two teams had one change from their last outing as Rowen Muscat replaced Llywelyn Cremona for Valletta and Godwin Mckay made way for Ivan Edgardo Paz for St. Andrews.
Valletta took the lead on the 32nd minute when off an assist by Claudio Pani from the right, Tomas Radzinevicius controlled before hitting low past goalkeeper Jake Galea.
St. Andrews equalised on the 54th minute when off a cross by Ivan Paz, Ziga Kastrevec anticipated Bartkus with a header to place the ball at the back of the net.
VALLETTA Dziugas Bartkus, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri (90′ Russell Fenech), Santiago Malano, Tomas Radzinevicius (76′ Luke Montebello), Claudio Pani, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Leandro Aguirre, Rowen Muscat, Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Jean Borg, Matthew Spiteri, Llywelyn Cremona, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Michael Johnson, Bong Won Che, Karlo Kesinovic, Dale Camilleri, Joseph Farrugia, Ivan Paz (75′ Aiden Friggieri), Felix Udoh Okon, Ziga Kastrevec (92′ Nenad Belacevic), Kyrian Nwoko (88′ Godwin Mckay).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Liam Grech, Jacob Walker, Ryan Darmanin.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Etienne Mangion
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: J. Farrugia, M. Johnson, Pena Beltre
BOV Player of the Match: Ziga Kastrevec
Attendance at the Victor Tedesdco Stadium: 674
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows came back from two goals down to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with leaders Balzan.
This was the seventh positive result for Tarxien since Jesmond Zerafa took over as their new coach. A draw which puts them alone in sixth place, one point ahead of Sliema. For Balzan, this was definitely a most disappointing result as they dropped two important points in a game which they were leading by two goals. This draw also gives Hibernians the opportunity to take the top spot should they beat Birkirkara on Sunday.
Balzan had four changes from the team which defeated St. Andrews as Ivan Janjusevic, Abdelkarim Nafti, Ryan Fenech and Alan da Silva Souza replacing Christian Cassar, Anderson de Barros, Alfred Effiong and Lydon Micallef. On the other hand, for Tarxien, Ebiabowei Baker and Matthew Tabone, on the other hand, replaced Sacha Borg and Ayrton Azzopardi from the team which humiliated Pembroke in their previous outing.
Balzan managed to take the lead on the 33rd minute when Bojan Kaljevic chested the ball down to beat a defender and served Abdelkarim Nafti who lobbed the ball over the onrushing Schranz.
One minute from the end of the first half, the leaders doubled the score when Paul Fenech latched on a long through pass and with a low shot beat Schranz from close range.
Tarxien pulled one back on the 76th minute when off a cross from the right, substitute Julian Galea beat Janjusevic with a rising shot from a tight angle.
Five minutes later, the Rainbows levelled matters thanks to Alex Nillson who chipped the ball over the Balzan keeper.
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Bruno Giglio de Oliviera, Bojan Kaljevic, Samir Arab, Alan da Silva Sousa (80’ Terrence Agius), Dylan Grima, Abelkarim Nafti (69’ Lydon Micallef), Ryan Fenech, Elkin Serano Valero, Paul Fenech, Matteo Piciollo (56’ Alfred Effiong).
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Lydon Micallef, Clive Brincat, Paul Lapira, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
TARXIEN Philip Schranz, Ebiabowei Baker, Emerson Marcellina, Triston Caruana (54’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Daniel Ponce de Leon Garcia (84’ Sacha Borg), Alex Nilsson, Sergio Fernandez Prendes, Daniel Zerafa, Alex da Paixao Alves, Matthew Tabone (71’ Julian Galea), Kurt Zammit.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Dylan Micallef, Andrew Agius, Claudio Daniel Francis.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Sammy Attard, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Eman Grech
Yellow Cards: Arab, Alex da Paixao, Nilsson, Baker
Scorers: 33’ Abdelkarim Nafti, 44’ Paul Fenech, 76’ Julian Galea,81’ Alex Nillson
BOV Player of the Match: Paul Fenech
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 612