Mario Fontanella notched a hat-trick as Valletta defeated nine-man Balzan at the National Stadium on Saturday.
For the Citizens, this was the eleventh consecutive positive result which puts them at least temporarily on top the BOV Premier League table. Balzan, on the other hand, suffer a second defeat in three matches to remain in a mid-table position.
Valletta took the lead on the 32nd minute when Steve Borg was brought down inside the area by goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski and from the penalty spot, Mario Fontanella converted.
However, in added time, Balzan levelled matters thanks to Ivan Bozovic who headed the ball home off a Steve Pisani corner with the ball hitting the upright before ending at the back of the net.
On the 76th minute, Valletta were awarded another penalty when Fontanella was fouled inside the area by Naumovski. A decision which brought harsh protests by the Balzan players. Uros Ljubomirac was sent off for acting aggressively towards the referee while Naumovski picked his second yellow card and was also sent off. Sean Mintoff was brought in, replacing Stefan Dimic and from the penalty spot, Mario Fontanella beat the Balzan substitute goalkeeper.
Mario Fontanella scored a third goal on the 90th, hitting home off an assist by Jhony Cano.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano (56’ Miguel Angel Alba), Bojan Kaljevic, Matteo Piciollo (65’ Jhony Moises Cano Barrios), Shaun Dimech, Jean Borg, Enmy Pena Beltre, Nicholas Pulis, Mario Fontanella (90’ Joseph Zerafa).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Samuel Vella, Ryan Tonna.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius
BALZAN Kristijan Naumovski, Nenad Sljivic, Steve Pisani, Michael Johnson, Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong (70’ Dale Camilleri), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Stefan Dimic (78’ Sean Mintoff gk), Arthur Faria Machado (52’ Adeseyi Shinobu Adekoya), Samir Arab.
Subs not used: Marcus Grima, Steve Bezzina, Zak Grech, Luke Montebello.
Asst. Coach: Andrea Pisanu
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Ivan Galea
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Naumovski, Beltre, S. Pisani, Johnson
Red Cards: 78’ Kristijan Naumovski, 78’ Uros Ljubomirac
BOV Player of the Match: Mario Fontanella