Valletta, Birkirkara share spoils in draw

Valletta retained a one-point lead over rivals Birkirkara as the two teams shared the spoils in a goalless draw at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The Citizens therefore stay in second place, followed by Birkirkara in third place. Hibernians lead the way with 24 points, followed by Valletta on 20, Birkirkara 19 while Floriana are fourth on 16 points. Hibs and Floriana cross swords on Sunday.

Following a quiet start, Diego Venancio tested Alessandro Guarnone with a shot from outside the area which was saved in two attempts on 22 minutes. Valletta replied with a Haris Dilaver first time effort, off a cross by Ivan Curjuric which was parried by Daniel Fernandes on the 33rd minute and a minute later, off a cross by Kevin Tulimieri, Eslit Sala’s header was partially saved by the Birkirkara goalkeeper with Rowen Muscat hitting wide off the rebound.

Seven minutes from the end of the first half, a Kevin Tulimieri effort was blocked by Fernandes with Leandro Aguirre clearing the ball off the goal line while in added time, Eslit Sala’s acrobatic first-time effort was parried by the Birkirkara goalkeeper.

In the second half, Ivan Curjuric went close with two freekicks – one which was parried by Fernandes on the 52nd minute and another ending just wide on the 68th.

However late in the game, Luke Montebello concluded a good run on the right flank with a diagonal shot which scraped past the post on the 79th while two minutes in added time, Leandro Aguirre’s freekick scraped past the post.