Valletta take sole leadership in the BOV Premier League as they scored three in the first half to beat St. Andrews 3-0 at the Centenary Stadium. A win which puts them two points ahead of Gzira United.
This was also the fourth consecutive win for Zoran Popovic’s side while for the Saints, this was the sixth win in seven matches.
The Citizens forged ahead on the 6th minute when off a long ball by goalkeeper Henry Bonello for Matteo Piciollo, the latter sent Denni Rocha dos Santos through and the latter slotted the ball past Calleja Cremona.
On the 21st minute, Jean Borg doubled the score with a fine header off a cross by Umeh.
Nine minutes from the end of the first half, Matteo Piciollo made it 3-0 following a good move between Umeh and Nwoko.
Photo: Copyright © Andrew Grima
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VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Jean Borg, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Cruz Gill, Santiago Malano (69′ Michael Mifsud), Matteo Piciollo, Kyrian Nwoko, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Raed Ibrahim Saleh (85′ Rowen Muscat), Denni Rocha dos Santos (57′ Claudio Pani).
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Paul Chircop, Russell Fenech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Zoran Popovic
ST. ANDREWS Matthew Calleja Cremona, Emny Pena Beltre, Adrian Borg, Aidan Friggieri, Joseph Farrugia, Kevaughn Atkinson, Matthew Gauci, Martin David, Tristan Grant (46′ Liam Grech), Ricardo Martin (56′ Jacob Walker), Kyle Butler (75′ Marcus Grima).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Miguel D’Alessandro, Malcolm Vella Vidal, Kemmu Degran Jackson.
Assistant Coach: Fausto Craighero
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Asssistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Dusan Petrovic
Fourth Official: Jude Amin Utulu
Yellow Cards: Pena Beltre, Butler, J. Borg, A. Borg, Farrugia, Gauci
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo
Meanwhile Hibernians returned to winning ways as they defeated Lija Athletic 3-0 at the Hibernians Stadium.
A win which enables the Paolites to close in on Gzira and keep the pace with leaders Valletta. For Lija, this was the eighth defeat in nine matches.
Lija could not count on the suspended Luke Bonnici and Daniel Scerri while Hibernians had Brazilian Leandro Augusto da Silva making his debut.
Hibernians took the lead four minutes from the end of the first half when Jurgen Degabriele sent Marco Sahanek through and the latter controlled before beating Martinelli with a fine diagonal shot.
Altough they remained in control, they had to wait until the 84th to double the score when Jackson Lima released Jurgen Degabriele and the latter rounded the goalkeeper before placing the ball at the back of the net.
One minute from time, substitute Johann Bezzina made it 3-0 when his effort beat the Lija custodian, following a slight deflection by Babic.
LIJA Jonathan Martinelli, McAllister Clinch (67′ Aaron Sammut), Patrick Borg, Ousmane Sidibe, Carl Cassar (82′ Aiden Galea), Predrag Babic, Djamel Leeflang, Leejoe Schembri, Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Erjon Beu, Raphael Kooh Sohna.
Subs not used: Luke Attard, Adrian Caruana, Leon Muscat, Joaqin Lores Varela.
Coach: Joseph Galea
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Andrei Agius, Rodolfo Soares (46′ Martin Kreuzriegler), Clayton Failla, Dunstan Vella, Marcelo Dias, Bjorn Kristensen, Leandro Augusto da Silva (82′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Marco Sahanek, Jorge Elias dos Santos (61′ Johann Bezzina), Jurgen Degabriele.
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Joseph Mbong, Timothy Tabone Desira, Conner Zammit.
Coach: Mark Miller
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Clinch, Kristensen, Soares, Beu, Failla, Borg
BOV Player of the Match: Jurgen Degabriele