The Malta Independent 21 March 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: First half goals put Valletta in pole position

Simon Farrugia Saturday, 9 March 2019, 16:00 Last update: about 11 days ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

Valletta                  3
Pieta H.                 0

Valletta  FC: H. Bonello, J. Caruana, R. Camilleri, S. Malano (N.Pulis 78'), J. Borg, I. Saleh, R. Muscat (A.Monticelli 46'), M.A.Alba, B. Gavrila (K. Nwoko 67'), B. Kaljevic, M. Fontanella

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Pieta H.  FC: N. Vella, T. Bartolo (O.Takaki 72'), N. Pace Cocks, D. Agius,  P. Chimezie, J. Busuttil (J. Scicluna 78'), H. Singh, J. M. Artiaga, S. Radovanovic, G. Kekua, I. Jalo (K. Mercieca 68')

Referee: Ishmael Barbara

Asst refs: Mitchell Scerri, Darko Stankovic  

4th official: Alex Johnson

Scorers: Mario Fontanella 29', Santiago Malano 36',  Bogdan Gavrila 43'

Yellow cards: Singh

Player of the match: Mario Fontanella (Valletta)

TMI Top 3:  1.  M.Fontanella         2.  B. Gavrila           3.     J. Borg

Valletta joined Hibernians at the top of the standings when they easily disposed of basement side Pieta Hotspurs. It was one sided affair with Valletta dominating possession and scoring at regular intervals.

This defeat was another nail in Pieta's coffin who showed practically nothing on the offensive side that could have brought them something from this difficult encounter.

Prior to this match Valletta had won  five out of their last six matches, defeating Balzan 2-1 in their last outing when they came from behing.

Pieta lost the last nine matches and in all probability they will be playing in a lower division next season. Their last win dates back to October when they defeated Floriana by a 2-1 scoreline.

Pietà had Christian Grech and Antonio Macedo Neto missing through suspension. On the other hand Valletta were missing the injured Steve Borg together with Pena Beltre and Piciollo.

In the first round, Valletta registered a  comfortable 4-0 win against the Hotspurs from Pieta.

In the 6th minute Valletta went near when a long ball by Camilleri found Kaljevic who played the ball downwards in the path of the onrushing Jean Borg only for his shot to miss the target by a few inches.

A minute later Alba crossed from the left flank finding Kaljevic who missed to connect from beneath the goal line.

Pieta tried their luck on 12 minutes with Pace Cocks shooting from the edge of the area with Bonello saving with ease.

And in the 13th minute Gavrila's grounder was saved by the Pieta goalkeeper. Valletta drew first blood just off the half hour when off a Kaljevic cross from the right flank Mario Fontanella rose high above two defenders and headed into the corner of the net.

In the 34th minute Saleh combined well with Fontanella with the latter rounding goalkeeper Vella only for this shot to be cleared to safety by Singh. Nine minute from the break Valletta doubled their lead. A Gavrila free kick was perfectly met by Santiago Malano who headed beautifully past a helpless Vella.

Two minutes from the end of the first half Valletta found the net once again. A long ball from Jean Borg found Bogdan Gavrila whose lobbed over Vella for Valletta's third.

In the 52nd minute Valletta unlucky not to increase their lead when Kaljevic hit the upright following some poor defending by the Hotspurs rearguard. In the 65th minute Valletta countered with Kaljevic setting Alba but his shot hit the side rigging.

Fourteen minutes from time a rising shot by Alba sailed just over the bar. On 82 minutes substitute Pulis was unlucky to hit the post the ball came in front of Kaljevic who incredibly with the goal at his mercy shot wide to his disbelief.

And four minutes from the end Nwoko tried a shot from the distance which went wide.  In added time Vella tipped over the bar a Monticelli fierce shot from the edge of the area. 

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