Following a most disappointing start to the BOV Premier League campaign, champions Valletta bounced back as they registered a fine 3-0 win over rivals Birkirkara at the National Stadium on Sunday to claim their first three points.
The Stripes, on the other hand, suffered their first defeat after two narrow wins over Balzan and Pietà Hotspurs.
Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit made three changes as Terence Agius, Uchenna Umeh and Milan Basrak replaced Jake Grech, Thiago de Souza and the suspended Cain Attard. Their latest signing, Myles Beerman, was included as a substitute mid-way through the second half.
Valletta, on the other hand, had Bojan Kaljevic making his debut. Rowen Muscat and Ryan Camilleri were also back after missing the last game. They replaced Jean Borg, Raed Ibrahim Saleh and Bogdan Gavrila. Jonathan Caruana made his return following a doping ban when he was included as a substitute late in the game.
Following a goalless first half, the Citizens took the lead ten minutes in the second half when off a cross by Miguel Angel Alba from the right, Bojan Kaljevic headed home past Kristijan Naumovski.
Photos: Copyright © Andrew Grima
Valletta doubled the score on the 82nd minute thanks to Mario Fontanella who pounced on an assist on the left and advanced before hitting home past Naumovski.
Two minutes later, Santiago Malano sent Bogdan Gavrila through and the latter beat the Birkirkara goalkeeper with a diagonal shot from the right.
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B’KARA Kristijan Naumovski, Danilo Augusto Chapoval, Mislav Andjelkovic, Paul Fenech, Kurt Zammit (82′ Jake Grech), Eduardo Ferreira dos Santos, Michael Mifsud, Terence Agius (85′ Edward Herrera), Marcelo de Siqueira, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Milan Basrak (72′ Myles Beerman).
Subs not used: Amara Sylla, Neil Micallef, Matthew Guillaumier, Gianluca Zammit.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Mark Buttigieg
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri (90′ Jonathan Caruana), Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciollo, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Rowen Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba (80′ Bogdan Gavrila), Bojan Kaljevic (72′ Kyrian Nwoko), Mario Fontanella.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Russell Fenech, Jean Borg, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Matthew Degabriele
Yellow Cards: Basrak, Zerafa, Mifsud, Pena Beltre, Umeh
BOV Player of the Match: Bojan Kaljevic