The Malta Independent 24 January 2020, Friday

BOV Premier League: Maroons remain unbeatan and stop Valletta’s winning streak

Simon Farrugia Friday, 9 November 2018, 22:12 Last update: about 2 years ago
Photos: Jonathan Bugeja
Photos: Jonathan Bugeja

Gzira Utd.                0
Valletta                   0

Gzira Utd.: J. Haber, N. Muscat, R. Soares, A. Cohen, J. Corbalan, E. Zarate, R. Briffa, S. Borg, F. Barbosa, A. Samb ( T. Veronese 35' ), H. Garba ( J, Pereira Da Silva 15')   

Valletta:  H. Bonello, S. Borg,  R, Camilleri,  S. Malano, E. Pena Beltre, J, Zerafa, I. Saleh ( M. Piciollo 56') , R. Muscat, M. Alba ( K. Nwoko 70') , B. Kaljevic ( J. Caruana 60' ), M. Fontanella

Referee: Matthew Degabriele

Asst refs: Jurgen Spiteri, Paul Apap

4th official: Emanuel Grech

Yellow cards: J. Zerafa, R. Muscat, R. Briffa, T. Veronese, J. Corbolan, S. Malano, S. Borg, S.Borg

Red Card: J. Zerafa

Player of the match:  Miguel Angel Alba ( Valletta)

TMI Top 3:    1.   M. Alba      2.  J. Corbolan     3. E. Pena Beltre

Attendance :  2,003

The top of the table match between Gzira United and Valletta ended all square with the Maroons thus remaining at the top. It was a tense match with neither team controlling the match and the result being a fair one.

Hibernians gained the most from this match when if they beat Birkirkara in tomorrow's match they will join Gzira at the top.

The Maroons have been enjoying the top spot since mid-September. But in their last outing this surprisingly drew against Pieta giving their opponents Valletta the chance to leapfrog them by winning this direct clasth.

However, Gzira were still unbeaten, dropping their only points in two draws. Valletta, on the other hand, lost their first two matches but then registered seven consecutive wins. A game featuring the best attack against the best defence, the Citizen scoring 29 goals so far with the Maroon conceeding just five goals.

Gzira had Zachary Scerri missing through suspension following four yellow cards with Haber returning between the posts.  For Valletta Montenegrin Kaljevic was returned and leading their attack,

A good crowd flocked to the National Stadium with both ends of supporters encouraging their players all throughout.

The first minutes were rather tactical with the first real goal mouth action maturing on thirteen minutes when Fontanella set Kaljevic but his shot from the edge of the area was easy prey for Haber.

A setback for the Maroons on fifteen minutes when they lost Haruna Garba through injury with Jorginho coming on to replace him. Valletta tried through an acute shot from the right by Alba but his fierce drive missed the target.

Matters worsened for Gzira ten minutes from the end of the first half when they lost Samb through injury following a tackle by Zerafa. This meant that the Maroons striking duo were substituted with Abdilla making a tactical change putting forward Cohen to partner Jorginho.

In the 36th minute Briffa took charge of a free kick from the edge of the area but his shot sailed just over the bar.

The second half started with Valletta going close off an Alba cross from the right headed by Fontanella with Haber saving. But in the 58th minute Valletta were dealt a blow when they had Zerafa sent off for a second bookable offence.

But it was the Citizens who nearly broke the stalemate on the hour when in a swift counter attack substitute Piciollo found Alba whose low shot was palmed onto a corner by an alert Haber. Gzira replied with a Cohen shot following a solo run which ended on the roof of the net.

Valletta were now focusing and defending the draw and operating on counter attacks. In fact Doncic drafted in Caruana instead of Kaljevic for the last part of the match. Gzira failed to exploit their numerical advantage with the Valletta rearguard holding tight till the end.

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