The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: Unimpressive Citizens just grab the points to go on top

Chris Cassar Friday, 8 February 2019, 20:55 Last update: about 11 days ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Qormi                   1
Valletta                2

Qormi: D. Cassar, D. Mansi, Y. Tankam, A. Rozzi, M. Micallef, A. Abela, W. De Oliveira (I. Zammit 79’), J. Lokando Mboyo, M. Bnagoura, L. Santana, R. Romeu

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Valletta: H. Bonello, S. Borg, R. Camilleri, S. Malano, M. Picciolo (B. Gavrila 67’), E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, R. Muscat, M.A. Alba (J. Caruana 77’), B. Kaljevic, M. Fontanella (J. Borg 89’).

Referee: Etienne Mangion

Ass.referees: Thomas Debono, Darko Stankovic

Fourth official: Philip Farrugia

Scorers: Miguel Angel Alba 24’, Bojan Kaljevic 28’, Malela Bangoura 44’,

Yellow cards: A. Abela

Player of the match: Rowen Muscat (Valletta)

TMI Best Three: 1. R. Muscat, 2. S. Malano, 3. D. Cassar

Attendance: 536

Champions Valletta wanted the three points at stake against bottom of the table side Qormi to move on top of the standings, and they did just that. Otherwise the Citizens failed to impress. Scoring two quick goals half way through the first half, Valletta looked set to repeat the goal feast of the first round when they hammered in six goals.

But it was not top be, as a defensive blunder between Bonello and Borg paved the way for Qormi’s goal just before the break. In the second half Valletta were constantly in search of that goal that would have given them a reassuring two-goal cushion, but the Citizens failed miserably.

Their move was rather slow and lacked movements especially on the flanks, making it easier for the packed Qormi defence to keep their opponents at bay.

Valletta immediately took control of the proceedings and on seven minutes Kaljevic missed a sitter following a Fontanella header. Pcciolo tested Cassar on 13 minutes as Valletta were rather erratic in this initial period.

On 17 minutes Cassar denied Fontanella who was freed in front of goal following a series of mishaps in the Qormi defence. Five minutes later Valletta’s first slick move with Cassar effecting a great save off a Picciolo grounder.

The goal was in the offing and on 24 minutes Valletta broke the deadlock when Rowen Muscat’ inch perfect pass found Alba free on the right, and the ex-Birkirkara player scored a beauty with a precise grounder.

Four minutes later Valletta practically put the issue beyond doubt when Pena Beltre from the right passed towards Bojan Kaljevic who fired home from close range with the ball hitting the crossbar before finishing at the back of the net.

Qormi should have pulled one back on 37 minutes when Rozzi crossed the completely unmarked Bangoura who headed incredibly when from four meters. Two minutes later a Fontanella shot left Cassar standing but the ball went just wide. But a minute before the break Qormi were back in business when a harmless Rozzi cross was missed by both Steve Borg and Bonello, who evidently lacked communication, and Bangoura had the easiest of tasks of putting the ball at the back of the net.

On the resumption Valletta continued to dictate in search of a third goal, but could not find a way past a packed Qormi defence. They almost found a way on the hour but Cassar made a great save to deny Rowen Muscat.

Gavrila came on for Picciolo and Jonathan Caruana for Alba, but the Citizens failed to score that vital third goal.

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