The Malta Independent 10 December 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Matteo Piciollo strike sees Valletta through against resilient Senglea

Henry Brincat Friday, 8 November 2019, 21:01 Last update: about 1 month ago
Photo: Martin Agius
Photo: Martin Agius

Valletta       1
Senglea       0

Valletta: H. Bonello, J. Caruana, S. Borg, M. Piciollo (N. Pulis 84), K. Nwoko (B. Kaljevic 79), J. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, R. Muscat, I. Dzaria, M. Fontanella (S. Dimech 90)

Senglea: M. Farrugia, S. Olberkis, D. Debono (J. Tanti 76), E. Sakyi, L. Grech (JW Teixeira 57), M. Micallef, S. Cipriott (T. Marukawa 68), W. Zamble, A. Do Nascimento, D. Xuereb, M. Dias

Referee: T. Farrugia Cann

Asst refs: J. Spiteri, I. Galea

4th official: Emm. Grech

Scorers: M. Piciollo 28,

Yellow cards: J. Zerafa 7, S. Cipriott 30, A. Do Nascimento 64, M. Dias 68, N. Pulis 87, M. Fontanella 90

BOV Player of the Match: M. Piciollo

TMI Top 3: 1. M. Piciollo, 2. E. Sakyi, 3. I.Dzaria

Attendance: 567

A Matteo Piciollo strike on 28 minutes proved to be the winner for Valletta as they moved temporarily into third place on 18 points, five behind league leaders Floriana.

It was the difference between the two sides at the end as Valletta were relieved to have ended with the three points after a hectic finale in which Senglea went very close to obtaining an equaliser.

The victory enabled Valletta to move temporarily into third place on 18 points, five behind league leaders Floriana.

Valletta were in complete control in the first half as they took the initiative from the first whistle.

They enjoyed a lot more possession than their opponents and should have scored at least one more goal apart from the one which gave them a slender first half lead.

Senglea's plan was obvious - defend and counterattack.

But while the defence worked continuously in an organised manner, the front line was found wanting and City goalie Henry Bonello was never seriously tested throughout the first 45 minutes.

In the second half, Valletta remained mostly in command and once again created some good chances, but failed to add to their lead. Near the end, they had to work overtime to thwart Senglea from obtaining an equaliser.

On the other hand, the Yellow Reds moved forward much more frequently than they did in the first half and they also missed a good chance to score an equaliser midway through the half.

They almost achieved that in the closing minutes of the game as they pressed hard for an equaliser going very close from a freekick by substitute Teixeira.

Valletta were the first to have a pot at goal when on 13 minutes, Enmy Pena Beltre saw his low shot saved confidently by Senglea goalie Matthew Farrugia.

In the 20th minute, Farrugia had to rush out of his charge and dive at Fontanella's feet to avoid an awkward situation for Senglea.

On 28 minutes, Valletta went closer through a Rowen Muscat lob which surprised goalie Farrugia and hit the crossbar.

In the next minute, the citizens took a deserved lead when off a Pena Beltre cross, it was Matteo Piciollo who headed into the net from close in.

Five minutes later, Senglea went close to an equaliser when a Marcelo Dias cross passed across goal with a deviation by a City defender sending the ball to a corner.

In the 43rd minute, Irakli Dzaria set Piciollo in the Senglea area, but after controlling the ball well, he saw his shot being well saved by the diving Farrugia.

On 57 minutes, Fontanella set Kyrian Nwoko, but goalie Farrugia rushed out of his penalty area to clear the ball away.

Two minutes later, Senglea missed a good opportunity to equalise when Zamble bustled his way into the Valletta area and crossed low for David Xuereb, but the latter lifted his effort well over the bar.

In the 69th minute, it was Zamble who set Dias in the Valletta area, but the former Hibs player hit wildly over the bar.

Nwoko had a good effort from the left angle which went over in the 75th minute. And moments later, it was Fontanella who had a good effort well saved by the agile Farrugia.

Seven minutes from the end, substitute Bojan Kaljevic failed to assure Valletta of their win when he missed the ball from a Fontanella cross with an open goal at his mercy.

Just before the end of normal time, Senglea were awarded a freekick on the edge of the City area. Jose Wilkson Teixeira's full-blooded effort hit goalie Bonello and finished in a corner to the great relief of the whole Valletta clan.

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