Valletta returned to winning ways as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 2-0 at the National Stadium on Saturday. A win which puts Danilo Doncic’s side on top the BOV Premier League table along with Balzan, at least before the latter meet Gzira United in Monday night’s big match.
The Rainbows, on the other hand, remain second from bottom, one point behind Naxxar and two behind St. Andrews.
Following a goalless first half, the Citizens managed to break the deadlock when off a Miguel Angel Alba corner, Santiago Malano headed the ball home.
Four minutes later, Valletta doubled the score thanks to Matteo Piciollo who concluded a swift counter-attack by advancing into the area and slotting the ball past goalkeeper Andrea Cassar.
To make matters worse for Tarxien, Ebiabowei Baker was then sent off on the 66th minute as he received a second yellow card for a foul on Rowen Muscat.
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VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciollo, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa (77′ Jean Borg), Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Rowen Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba (70′ Uchenna Calistus Umeh), Albert Prosa (55′ Kyrian Nwoko).
Subs not used: Henry Bonello, Michael Mifsud, Rusell Fenech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Stefan Radovanovic, Ebiabowei Baker, Gabriel Aquilina, Andrew Agius, Luke Grech, Antonio Mitrev, Samba Tounkara, Wellington de Oliveira Vieira (71′ Godwin Mckay), Eduard Calin (60′ Matthew Spiteri), Ricardo Silva Faria (85′ James Brincat).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Matthew Brincat, Arsene Rye Cilia Mumford, Matteo Desira Buttigieg.
Coach: Jose Borg
Referee: Eman Grech
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Dusan Petrovic
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Camilleri, Baker, Radovanovic, Pena Beltre, Mitrev
Red Cards: 66′ Ebiabowei Baker
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo
Attendance at the National Stadium: 721
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, St. Andrews and Naxxar Lions shared the spoils in a goalless draw. A draw which leaves both sides disappointed as one point continues to separate the two teams who lie fourth and third from bottom.
Naxxar created the better chances during the first half with Yuri de Jesus Messias and Manolito Micallef testing Matthew Calleja Cremona. Early in the first half, Kemmu Degran Jackson had two attempts for St. Andrews but on the 69th minute, Naxxar appealed for a penalty as they claimed that defender Jason Vandelannoite handled the ball inside the area. However referee Mario Apap waved play on.
The Saints had Kemmu Degran Jackson sent off ten minutes from time.
ST ANDREWS Matthew Calleja Cremona, Adrian Borg, Misael Miranda Gomez (58′ Marcus Grima), Joseph Farrugia, Jason Vandelannoite, Matthew Gauci, Martin Davis (68′ Jacob Walker), Ricardo Martin, Kemmu Degran Jackson, Kemar Reid, Travis Blagrove.
Coach: Michael Woods
NAXXAR Christoph Nicht, Rafael Santos Henriques Caetano (86′ Joel Ellul), Mailson Souza Duarte Junior, Ryan Grech, Manolito Micallef, Duane Bonnici, Ryan Gilmour Cassar (58′ Daren Falzon), Daniel Mateo Bustos, Matheus Verissimo Casarotto, Ousseynou Elhadji Ndoye, Yuri De Jesus Messias.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: R. Grech, D. Bonnici, D. Falzon, K. Jackson
Red Cards: 80′ Kemmu Degran Jackson
BOV Player of the Match: Joseph Farrugia
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 452