The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Premier League: Maroons register first win as Citizens succumb to second consecutive defeat

Simon Farrugia Sunday, 19 September 2021, 07:34 Last update: about 26 days ago

Gzira United gained their first win and three points of the campaign after disposing off Valletta scoring a goal in each half.

Though still early days for both teams this match was important since points at stake could mean a sigh of relief. For Valletta defeat against Floriana in their last match was harsh to swallow. Apart from the 3-0 drubbing it was a pathetic performance by the Citizens following good wins against Hamrun Spartans and Balzan.

The same can be said of Gzira who had yet to register their first win following two draws against Santa Lucia and neighbours Sliema Wanderers and defeat at the hands of Hibernians. But this time around the Maroons were on song and more convincing.

Valletta coach Cardoso Mendes had to do without Christian Gauci who was sent off in their last match.

Gzira did the early running and created a number of chances. On 6 minutes Thiago Espindola tried his luck with a diagonal shot but his shot just missed the target.

In the 13th minutes the Maroons were rather unlucky when following a pass by Jefferson towards Mendoza the latters shot from about 25 metres hitting the crossbar with goalkeeper Guarnone completely beaten.

Six minutes from the end of the first half Gzira broke the deadlock.  A Steve Pisani free kick  was headed goalwards by Steve Borg with Guarnone partially saving his effort and from close range Jefferson slotted the ball home aided by the upright.

Valletta started the second half brightly and in the 50th minute Curjuric tried a long range shot from the distance which went inches wide. And two minutes later Curjuric was once again in the thick of action when he perfectly set Shaun Dimech only for his acute shot to end wide off the mark.

Nearing the hour mark Valletta had three consecutive corners confirming their good moment in this part of the match. The last one was taken by Prado but Camilleri’s header sailed just over the bar.

The first time that Gzira went near was in the 64th minute through a Maxwell Maia shot which just missed out. Valletta were dealt a severe blow a minute later when for the second consecutive week they had a player sent off. This time Pena Beltre was given the marching orders for a retaliation foul on Jefferson De Assis.

The Maroons put the issue beyond doubt in the 76th minute when Espindola slotted the ball home after receiving from Yuri Messiah. Indeed they could have scored their third when eight minutes from the final whistle Martin Davis missed a sitter.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina


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