The Malta Independent 17 November 2019, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Valletta held by Sirens, now eight points behind leaders Floriana

Henry Brincat Sunday, 3 November 2019, 16:06 Last update: about 3 days ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Sirens       0

Valletta   0

Sirens: D. Cassar, R. Grech, W. De Oliveira, R. Dos Anjos, Emm. Okoye, A. Borg, A. Abdullahi, R. Romau, R. Memezes, T. Espindola, F. Cheveresean

VallettaH. Bonello, J. Caruana, S. Dimech (K. Tulimieri 59), K. Nwoko (B. Kaljevic 73), J. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, D. Packer (M. Piciollo 59), R. Muscat, I. Dzaria, M. Fontanella 

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Referee:  D. Portelli

Asst. refs: A. Camilleri, M. Ciantar

4th official: P. Farrugia

Yellow cards: R. Memezes 45, R. Dos Anjos 61, K. Tulimieri 64, F. Cheveresan 78, A. Borg 90

BOV Player of the match: F. Cheveresan

TMI Top 3: 1. W. De Oliveira, 2. J. Borg, 3. R. Grech

Defending champions Valletta were held to a goalless draw by revelation side Sirens yesterday and are now a full eight points behind league leaders Floriana after nine rounds.

It was a very disappointing performance by the citizens who must consider themselves lucky not to have lost all the three points.

This is because Sirens simply deserved more even if it was partly striker Flavio Cheveresan's fault that they failed to score at least two goals in the second half. Twice he missed the post with only goalie Bonello to beat.

Valletta now have 15 points and occupy 6th place, while Sirens move one place up to third on 17 points.

Before the kick off, a one minute's silence was observed before kick-off in memory of Anthony Zarb, who was manager of the Centenary Stadium at least till last year.

Valletta were without the suspended Steve Borg. Usually regulars Ryan Camilleri and Kevin Tulimieri only started the match on the substitutes bench.

Valletta had a major share of the exchanges in the first half. With the wind blowing behind their backs, they took the initiative right from the first moment and kept Sirens mostly in defence.

But they found it absolutely difficult to get past a well organised defence in which Raphael Dos Anjos, Romeo Romau and Adrian Borg were outstanding.

Yet, it was the St Paul's Bay side who created the best scoring opportunity during the first half.

And at the back they rarely gave the City strikers an opportunity to test goalie David Cassar seriously.

Sirens operated only in a few breakaways but Wellington De Oliveira and Flavio Cheveresan rarely, if ever, managed to get past their direct opponents in the Valletta defence.

It was a completely different story in the second half as it was now Sirens who took the initiative and created at least two very good chances which Cheveresan missed to the detriment of his side.

Valletta were absolutely out of the picture in this half's opening 20 minutes as Sirens simply confirmed that they are an outfit not to be ignored.

It was only when Kevin Tulimieri and Bojan Kaljevic entered from the substitutes bench that City finally started moving forward, but still, Sirens goalie Cassar was never really tested.

Sirens threatened seriously in the 14th minute when De Oliveira set Romario Memezes in the City area. The latter in turn transferred the ball to the unmarked Emmanuel Okoye who saw his shot turned to corner by Henry Bonello.

Valletta's reply arrived in the 19th minute when Sean Dimech weaved his way beautifully past some Sirens defenders and squared the ball for Kyrian Nwoko in the area, but the latter's shot was weak and easy prey for goalie David Cassar.

In the 22nd minute, Rowen Muscat set Mario Fontanella in the Sirens area, but Cassar rushed out of his charge to avoid an awkward situation for his side.

Till the end of the half, Valletta maintained the initiative in midfield, but rarely found a chance to have a pot at the Sirens goal.

Early in the second half, Sirens had a Romario Memezes effort going wide of the left post.

Soon afterwards, Sirens missed a glorious opportunity to take the lead when Menezes set Cheveresan who advanced into the City area, but with only Bonello to beat, he saw his shot just missing the far upright.

And in the 50th minute, Cheveresan was again the culprit as Sirens missed another great chance to go ahead. It was a lapse by City's Jonathan Caruana in midfield which allowed Adeshina Abdullahi to set Cheversean alone in front of Bonello, but again he hit the ball badly and well wide of the post.

Valletta finally woke up to their responsibilities in the 71st minute when a fine move between Piciollo, Fontanella and Tulimieri ended with the latter's shot going just over.

Moments later, Zerafa advanced on the left and crossed for Nwoko to head forward to Fontanella who missed the post by inches.

On 76 minutes, at the other end, Abdullahi again provided a good pass to Memezes, but the latter's effort was blocked into a corner by Jean Borg.

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