Narrow win puts Valletta just one point behind leaders

An early goal by Denni Rocha dos Santos enabled Valletta to move to just one point behind leaders Balzan as they defeated Mosta 1-0 at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday.

The Citizens therefore bounced back from the defeat to Gzira last week. Mosta, on the other hand, now share the ninth place with Senglea Athletic.

Valletta had a perfect start, taking the lead after just four minutes when Matteo Piciollo advanced into the area before serving Denni Rocha dos Santos whose low shot beat goalkeeper Andreas Vella.

Mosta could have equalised on the 23rd but David Ifeanyi Nworah’s long-distance effort hit the crossbar and a few minutes later, Godwin Blessing Henshaw’s fine effort was parried in style by Nicky Vella.

MOSTA Andreas Vella, Leonardo Henrique Ferreira (78′ Neil Frendo), Zachary Brincat (6′ Dexter Xuereb), Thomas Veronese, Kurt Magro, Davide Mansi, Tyrone Farrugia, Jonas Rodriguez Ekani, David Ifeanyi Nworah (74′ Kyle Frendo), Ivan Maric, Godwin Blessing Henshaw.
Subs not used: Roberto Vella, Liam Portelli, Jurgen Grech, Calvin Camilleri.
Coach: Johann Scicluna

VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Ryan Camilleri, Jean Borg, Joseph Zerafa, Romeu Pericles Romao, Rowen Muscat, Claudio Pani (90′ Nicholas Pulis), Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Denni Rocha dos Santos (84′ Uchenna Calistus Umeh), Kyrian Nwoko (64′ Santiago Malano), Matteo Piciollo.
Subs not used: Andrea Spiteri, Russell Fenech, Shaun Dimech, Jeremy Micallef.
Coach: Zoran Popovic

Referee: Eman Grech
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: Magro, Denni, Mansi, Veronese
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo

Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Hamrun Spartans returned to winning ways as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 2-1.

A win which puts the Spartans just one point behind sixth-placed Sliema Wanderers and Hibernians. However the Paolites have a game in hand.

The Spartans took the lead on the 21st minute when off a Thiago Espindola De Paula freekick, Tiago Souza da Silveira rose high to head home past goalkeeper Antonio Chetcuti.

Eleven minutes in the second half, Hamrun doubled the score when Dale Camilleri concluded a solo effort by serving Davide Succi who passed the ball to Marco Criaco whose low shot beat the Tarxien custodian.

Tarxien pulled one back eleven minutes from time when they were awarded a penalty after Ebiabowei Baker was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Ricardo Silva Faria made no mistake.

HAMRUN Steve Sultana, Tiago Indigo Souza de Silveira, Daniel Zerafa, Marco Criaco, Guilherme Felipe de Castro, Cristian Zaccardo, Davide Succi (80′ Julian Galea), Thiago Espindola de Paula, Triston Caruana, Dale Camilleri (89′ Luke Sciberras), Lydon Micallef (65′ Wim Bokila).
Subs not used: Lyden Moore, Karl Micallef, Agatino Sicali, Terence Agius.
Coach: Jacques Scerri

TARXIEN Antonio Chetcuti, Mamadou Traore, Ebiabowei Baker, Godwin McKay, Matar Dieye, Andrew Agius (86′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Luke Grech, Andre Scicluna, Artur Benes (62′ Ayrton Azzopardi), Ricardo Silva Faria, Sean Cipriott (62′ James Brincat).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Matthew Brincat, Matthew Sladden, Eduard Calin.
Coach: Jose Borg

Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Theodore Zammit
Yellow Cards: Tiago Indigo, Baker, Caruana, Grech, Criaco, Mckay
BOV Player of the Match: Dale Camilleri
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 421