The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Valletta edge closer to the title as they overcome Tarxien’s challenge

Stewart Said Saturday, 20 April 2019, 20:43 Last update: about 5 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

VALLETTA              1
TARXIEN R.           0

Valletta: H. Bonello, E. Pena Beltre, R. Camilleri, J. Caruana, J. Borg (A. Monticelli 86'), J. Zerafa (B. Gavrila 69'), R. Muscat, S. Malano, M. Alba, M. Fontanella (N. Pulis 89'), K. Nwoko

Tarxien: M. Buhagiar, M. Botta, D. Zerafa, D. Mambouana, L. Grech, M. Spiteri, A. De Barros, G. Aquilina, M. Ciantar (M. Brincat 89'), R. Faria (D. Falzon 86'), A. Nilsson (A. Agius 75')

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Yellow Cards: H. Bonello 8' (V), D. Zerafa 24', M. Botta 32', A. De Barros 68', M. Spiteri 80' (T)

Scorers: M. Alba 29' (V)

Referee: Stefan Pace

Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, William Debattista

TMI Top 3: 1. R. Muscat (V), 2. M. Alba (V), 3. D. Zerafa (T)

BOV Player of the match: Miguel Alba (Valletta)

Attendenza: 1419

Valletta are a step closer to win their 25th league as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows with difficulty. They are now five points above Hibernians, the latter playing tomorrow against Senglea Athletic in a must win game for them.

Valletta's performance wasn't stellar and even kept their supporters waiting anxiously for the final whistle. The solitary goal by Miguel Alba proved to be the difference as despite having the initiative during the whole 90 minutes, they failed to create several chances to score, especially for a team who's aspiring to win the league.

Tarxien played with no pressure after securing their status last week. They put a decent show despite not having enough of the possession to create danger to their opponents, apart from the final action of the game.

Both strikers Kyrian Nwoko and Mario Fontanella tried to score in the opening ten minutes. Nwoko had a shot after two minutes that finished over the bar while on the 9th minute, a bad pass by Marco Botta permitted Mario Fontanella to have a go to the opponents' post but Maverick Buhagiar blocked the grounded shot.

Valletta deservedly took the lead on the 29th minute as Miguel Alba fired past Maverick Buhagiar with a brilliant shot from a central position that gave the Tarxien goalkeeper no chance.

Tarxien had no response to Valletta's goal as the champions continued to control even in the second half without creating serious threats. Valletta's first attempt on goal in the second half came on the 70th minute. Santiago Malano passed forward in the space to Mario Fontanella who was in an ideal position but his finishing could have been better as Buhagiar saved his low shot.

Gilbert Agius' team had another occasion a minute later but Kyrian Nwoko's header finished well over the bar after a cross by Enmy Pena Beltre. Valletta failed to close the game and permitted Tarxien to pile a bit the pressure in the last minutes.

In fact they could have snatched a point in the dying moments of the game. From a corner, Daniel Zerafa thought he equalised with a shot from the small box but Henry Bonello somehow saved the effort, an action that could prove to be decisive for Valletta to win the league.

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