The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Premier League: Valletta hold high-flying Stripes

Chris Cassar Monday, 6 February 2023, 06:39 Last update: about 2 years ago

Valletta and Birkirkara figured in a 1-1 draw yesterday, with both goals scored in the first fourty five minutes. For Valletta this was their fourth consecutive draw a result that halts Birkirkara’s streak of three wins in a row.

It was a fair result as both teams were well organised and never gave away an inch. Valletta were without Rowen Muscat who is still serving a four-game suspension, and regular goalkeeper Guarnone who could not face his former club due to an injury that will keep him away for the next five to six weeks.

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The match was rather cagey and the tempo was rather slow and both failed to create goal-mouth actions in the opening fifteen minutes. On sixteen minutes the first attempt at goal from a Coppola freekick, that the Valletta custodian turned into a corner. Three minutes later Birkirkara took the lead when from a Fedele corner the Valletta defence was caught napping an Yankam headed home.

Valletta took some time to regain their composure but went close on 32 minutes when Dimech failed to connect in front of goal and Zammit was blocked in time by a Birkirkara defender. Two minutes later Valletta were back on level terms when ex-Birkirkara striker Federico Falcone punished his former team mates when he shot home following a Shaun Dimech good run.

On 38 minutes Valletta almost went ahead when a Bevis grounder was blocked by Nava’s outstretched leg.

The second half saw fewer goal-scoring opportunities as both sides blotted out each other in midfield with both defences always coming on top. Fifteen minutes from time a Paiber effort from the edge of the area missed the crossbar by a whisker and a couple of minutes later a dangerous cross from substitute Ciolacu was missed by all in front of goal.

 

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