Valletta crowned champions for the 24th time as Hibs defeat Balzan

Valletta were crowned champions for the 24th time in the history of the club as they defeated Gzira United 2-1 at the National Stadium while Balzan who shared the top spot with the Citizens with before Saturday’s games were beaten by Hibernians.

Valletta managed to take the lead on the 8th minute when Kryian Nwoko advanced on the right before serving Raed Ibrahim Saleh who tried to avoid Roderick Briffa’s marking with Matteo Piciollo receving the ball and slotting past Curmi.

The Citizens doubled the score on the 64th minute thanks to Raed Ibrahim Saleh who received a pass by Santiago Malano and controlled the ball before hitting past Curmi.

Gzira pulled one back nine minutes from time thanks to an Andrew Cohen penalty after Juan Corbalan was brought down inside the area by Ryan Camilleri.

Photos: Copyright © Andrew Grima

VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri (85’ Albert Prosa), Santiago Malano (74’ Jean Borg), Matteo Piciollo, Kyrian Nwoko, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Rowen Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba (73’ Denni Rocha dos Santos).

GZIRA Anthony Curmi, Roderick Briffa (82’ Christian Sammut), Antonio Orlando Machedo Neto (65’ Luca Brincat), Kris Thackray (76’ Prince Mambouana), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Zack Scerri, Nikolai Muscat, Haruna Garba, Andrew Cohen, Juan Corbolan, Karl Pulo.

Referee: C. Pisani
Assitant Referees: Alan Camilleri, WIlliam Debattista
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Etienne Mangion
Fourth Official: Ishmael Barbara
Yellow Cards: Tony, R. Muscat, Z. Scerri, K. Thackray, Denni
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo
Attendance: 3,561

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Valletta FC Champions 2018 – Copyright © 2018 Andrew Grima & Neil Grima.

At the Hibernians Stadium, a goal by Clayton Failla early in the second half killed Balzan’s hopes of securing their first ever Premier League title as Hibernians registered a narrow win.

Balzan therefore disappointed once again in the moment of truth as they suffered their second defeat in three matches to finish in the runner-up position for the second consecutive year.

Failla scored the all-important goal on the 55th minute as he headed the ball home from close range following a corner from the left.

HIBS Andrew Hogg, Marcelo Dias, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Andrei Agius, Clayton Failla, Rodolfo Soares, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Dunstan Vella (81′ Conner Zammit), Johann Bezzina, Jurgen Degabriele (85′ Arlindo Oliveira Neto), Joseph Mbong (68′ Martin Kreuzriegler).

BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic (46′ Sean Mintoff), Bojan Kaljevic, Ivan Bozovic, Alex da Paixao Avles, Elkin Serrano Valero, Paul Fenech, Ryan Fenech (60′ Siraj Arab Eddin), Steve Bezzina, Alfred Effiong, Michael Johnson, Milos Lepovic (73′ Justin Grioli).

Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Darryl Agius

At the Centenary Stadium, Birkirkara came from behind to beat Hamrun Spartans 4-2 and secure the fourth place which could mean a UEFA Europa League spot should Balzan or Valletta win the FA Trophy.

The Spartans took the lead on the 13th minute thanks to Alexander Nilsson who received an assist by Marco Criaco and beat Naumovski.

Five minutes from the end of the first half, Hamrun doubled the score thanks to Marco Criaco who concluded a solo effort with a fine shot which beat the Birkirkara custodian.

However just before half-time, the Stripes pulled one back thanks to a Nikola Vukanac header following a freekick by Edward Herrera.

Four minutes in the second half, Birkirkara levelled matters thanks to Edward Herrera whose powerful drive gave the Hamrun custodian no chance.

Five minutes later, Ognjen Rolovic turned the score in favour of Birkirkara when he received an assist by Waldemar Acosta.

Birkirkara sealed the issue with a fourth goal five minutes from time, once again thanks to Ognjen Rolovic.

B’KARA Kristijan Naumovski, Cain Attard, Nikola Vukanac, Fernando Barbosa Pereira, Kurt Zammit, Edward Herrera, Terence Agius (72′ Luca Maia), Mislav Andjelkovic, Ryan Scicluna (92′ Carlo Zammit Lonardelli), Waldemar Acosta, Ognjen Rolovic (87′ Gianluca Zammit).

HAMRUN Jake Galea, Karl Micallef, Thiago Espindola de Paula, Tiago Souza de Silveira, Daniel Zerafa, Dale Camilleri, Triston Caruana, Guilherme Felipe de Castro (67′ Julian Galea), Marco Criaco, Lydon Micallef (46′ Arthur Faria Machado), Alex Nilsson (85′ Bradley Schembri).

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Paul Apap, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri

At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Floriana found no difficulty in beating Lija Athletic 6-2.

Floriana took the lead on the 29th minute thanks to Sebastian Nayar who beat Martinelli following a Juninho Cabral freekick.

Four minutes from the end of the first half, Juninho Cabral was brought down inside the area by the goalkeeper and from the penalty spot, the Brazilian made no mistake.

Nine minutes in the second half, Emerson Marcelina rose high to head home following a corner by Arthur Henrique.

Floriana made it 4-0 on the 69th thanks to another goal by Juninho Cabral following a cross from the left by Arthur Henrique.

Mario Fontanella, served by Juninho Cabral, made it 5-0 six minutes later, hitting home inside the empty net.

Lija Athletic reduced the gap twice thanks to Erjon Beu – a close range shot on the 82nd and another on the 90th.

However in added time, Mario Fontanella made it 6-2 after receiving a through pass by Juninho Cabral and slotting the ball past Jonathan Martinelli.

LIJA Jonathan Martinelli, Predrag Babic, Dylan Agius, Aaron Sammut (61′ Nigel Spiteri), Ryan Sammut, Vilfor Hysa, Abubakar Bello-Osagie, Kei Hirose, Erjon Beu, Raphael Kooh Sohna (57′ Antoine Borg), McAllister Clinch.

FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Arthur Henrique Oyama, Enrico Pepe (77′ Jamie Delia), Enzo Ruiz, Alex Cini, Emerson Marcelina (67′ Clyde Borg), Sebastian Nayar (70′ Denilson Borg Castaldi), Dylan Grima, Steve Pisani, Juninho Cabral, Mario Fontanella.

Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Dusan Petrovic
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
BOV Player of the Match: Juninho Cabral
Attendance: 191