A goal by former Floriana striker Matteo Piciollo enabled Valletta to return to winning ways as they defeated neighbours Floriana 1-0 at the National Stadium on Sunday.
This goal puts Valletta back on top the BOV Premier League table along with Balzan while condemning Floriana to the first defeat this season. The Greens are now fifth on 23 points, one behind Hibernians and Gzira and four behind the two joint-leaders.
Floriana went close to taking the lead on the 32nd minute but Mario Fontanella’s angled shot from the right was blocked by Henry Bonello.
In the second half, the Citizens held the initiative going close with a Kyrian Nwoko header on the 67th ending just over the bar following a freekick by Claudio Pani from the right. Two minutes later, a Juan Cruz Gill header was turned into a corner by Akpan following a corner by Pani from the left.
Valletta finally managed to break the deadlock ten minutes from time when Santiago Malano served Matteo Piciollo on the left and the latter hit hard past the Floriana custodian.
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VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Cruz Gill, Michael Mifsud (64′ Santiago Malano), Matteo Piciollo (89′ Uchenna Calistus Umeh), Kyrian Nwoko (90+2′ Rowen Muscat), Jean Borg, Joseph Zerafa, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Claudio Pani.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Russell Fenech, Nicholas Pulis, Romeu Pericles Romao.
Coach: Zoran Popovic
FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg (70′ Dylan Grima), Ignacio Varela, Maurizio Vella, Alex Cini (87′ Leighton Grech), Arthur Henrique Oyama, Mario Fontanella, Emerson Marcelina.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, James Baldacchino, Jurgen Pisani, Denilson Borg Castaldi, Neil Spiteri.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Glen Tonna, Eman Grech
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Fontanella, Ruiz, S. Borg, Varela, Nwoko, S. Pisani
BOV Player of the Match: Juan Cruz Gill