The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Valletta make sure of win against St Andrews with second half goals

Henry Brincat Sunday, 14 April 2019, 19:56 Last update: about 4 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

St Andrews       0
Valletta             4

St Andrews: M. Calleja Cremona, A. Satariano, K. Mcfarlane (K. Reid 67), R. Martin, A. Friggieri (A. Magri Overend 88), J. Farrugia, K. Magro, A. Borg, J. Walker (L. Sciberras 67), M. Davis, D. Debono

Valletta: H. Bonello, J. Caruana, S. Borg, R. Camilleri (B. Gavrila 71), S. Malano, K. Nwoko (N. Pulis 78), E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa (J. Borg 68), R. Muscat, M. Alba, M. Fontanella

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Referee: G. Tonna

Asst refs: L. Portelli, T. Zammit

4th official: E. Mangion

Scorers: M. Fontanella 46, K. Nwoko 68, M. Calleja Cremona og 77, S. Malano 83

Yellow cards: S. Borg 51, R. Martin 51, M. Alba 70, A. Borg 88

Red card: R. Martin

BoV Player of the Match: E. Pena Beltre

TMI Top 3: 1. J. Zerafa, 2. M.  Fontanella, 3. M. Davis

Attendance: 983

Valletta were back at the top of the table yesterday evening after beating 12th placed St Andrews 4-0.

Goals in the 2nd half from Mario Fontanella, Kyrian Nwoko, an own goal by Calleja Cremona and Santiago Malano, secured the three points for the citizens who had to struggle to get past a resolute St Andrews defence in the opening 45 minutes.

The victory enabled the citizens to move onto the 54 point mark, two ahead of Hibernians who will only be in action this evening against Qormi. After that, both teams will have just two matches to play till the end of the campaign.

On the other hand, the defeat keeps St Andrews four points behind Senglea and still hoping to avoid finishing 12th. If Senglea beat Sliema today then the Saints will definitely be in the playoff against the third placed in the first division to try and avoid the Drop.

The result also means that Mosta and Tarxien are now mathematically safe.

For this match, Valletta missed the services of the injured Raed Saleh and Bojan Kaljevic.

Despite their win, the citizens had to wait till the second half to claim all the three points.

They started the match like a house on fire keeping the Saints in their area, but they found it difficult to penetrate the amassed Saints defence.

As time went by, St Andrews grew in confidence and even had some chances of their own, one of which was glaringly missed by Martin Davis.

The citizens enjoyed a vast territorial superiority with about 75 per cent possession.

In the second half, the citizens took control as they quickly scored to take the lead. From then on, there was no doubt as to where the points were going even if the Saints continued to battle gallantly despite the difference in class between the two teams which resulted in a further three goals for the league leaders.

Valletta went all out on attack and on 7 minutes from a Zerafa cross, it was Fontanella who back passed to Nwoko, but the latter's shot was saved by Calleja Cremona and eventually cleared away by a Saints defender.

St Andrews replied with a counter-attack on 19 minutes. Satariano advanced from three quarters pitch to set Aidan Friggieri, but the latter's effort from the edge of the area went wide.

Soon after, St Andrew s tried again through Martin Davis, but his low shot also went wide.

On 26 minutes, Martin Davis missed a great occasion to stun the citizens. In a fast counter-attack, he was served a perfect ball by Farrugia and while advancing unhindered, City goalie Bonello slipped, but managed to recover in time to somehow foil the nippy St Andrews player. The ball remained at the Saints' striker's feet, but his volley towards goal was stopped by Joe Zerafa on the goalline.

Valletta replied with a cross by Alba to Malano, but the latter's header finished well over the bar.

At the end of the first half the scoresheet was still blank.

Valletta broke the deadlock in the 46th minute. Steve Borg shot from well outside the area and Mario Fontanella was on the right spot to turn the ball into the net.

In the 54th minute, veteran Joe Farrugia had a shot going just over.

In the 63rd minute, Bonello's clearance hit Kurt Magro on the edge of the area, but with the goalie still out of position, the St Andrews player shot well over the bar, thus missing another good chance.

Valletta scored a second goal on the 68th minute when off a good cross by Pena Beltre, it was Kyrian Nwoko who headed home past Calleja Cremona.

The boat seemed to be safely home for Valletta, but on 74 minutes, it was goalie Bonello who saved City's fort turning to corner in style a Friggieri humdinger.

Valletta made sure of their win with a third goal on 78 minutes. A shot by substitute Bogdan Gavrila hit the upright and finished at the back of the net off goalie Calleja Cremona's back.

A few minutes later, the Saints ended in 10 men as Ricardo Martin was dismissed after being shown a second yellow card.

And in the 83rd minute, Santiago Malano added his name to the scoresheet as he hit home following a cross from the right.

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