Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Top trio still setting the pace
Mar 5, 2017
Posted in:
General
BOV Premier League

Balzan, Hibernians and Valletta continued to set the pace at the top of the BOV Premier League when they picked maximum spoils after defeating Pembroke, Sliema and Mosta respectively during the weekend matches. On their part, Floriana lost some ground after failing to beat St Andrews, thus slipping eight points behind the leaders.

 

Birkirkara edged to a solitary goal victory over Tarxien to reach the 41-point mark, two points behind Floriana. While the mid-table positions remained unchanged, the battle at the lower end is turning out to be interesting even if Mosta and Pembroke are clearly embedded in the bottom two places.


FIRST-HALF GOALS

 

Hibernians kept their title hopes very much alive when they had the better of Sliema Wanderers 2-1 on Saturday.

 

The Paolites stamped their authority on the proceedings mainly in the opening period when Juergen Degabriele gave them an early lead with a low diagonal shot.

 

Sliema’s reaction proved futile and it was Hibernians who increased their advantage in the 34th minute courtesy of Bjorn Kristensen who stabbed into the roof of the net from close range after connecting with Gilmar’s free-kick.

 

The Blues were given a lifeline when Alex Muscat reduced the deficit from a penalty shortly after the hour mark. However, they could not capitalise further and as a consequence suffered the second defeat in a row.

 

GŻIRA ON TOP

 

In the previous match, played at the National Stadium, Ħamrun Spartans, fresh from their 3-3 draw against Hibernians in their previous outing, fell down to earth with a heavy thud when they came a cropper at the hands of Gżira United 3-1. 

 

The Maroons, who maintained their positive run, fell behind through Philip Chircop but just before ends were changed Louis Rene Zome equalised with a strong header from a perfect cross from man-of-the-match Andrew Cohen.

With the minutes ticking away Carlos Reyna put the newly-promoted side ahead before Jacob Borg netted a third in the dying minutes after Gżira United had broken away on the counter.

 

BOOST FOR STRIPES

 

Birkirkara were relieved to close the gap on Floriana after edging Tarxien Rainbows 1-0 at the Hibernians Stadium.

 

It was a badly-needed victory which could go some way towards putting the Stripes back within reach of the leading teams.

 

The goal was scored by Miguel Alba whose free-kick minutes before the interval took a deflection to end behind the Tarxien goalkeeper.

 

As the game entered its final stages Birkirkara were more intent on preserving their advantage and opted to close their ranks, a ploy which denied the Rainbows who thus remain on the 29-point mark.

 

GREENS’ RUN HALTED

 

In the preceding match, Floriana’s winning sequence was halted by a resolute St Andrews who held them to a 0-0 draw.

 

Although bossing possession the Greens were clearly in an uninspiring mood and never really threatened to breach a well-organised St Andrews rearguard except for some brief moments especially when Ignacio Varela’s header smacked against the crossbar.

 

Later on, a strong appeal for a penalty by Floriana went unheeded after which other tame efforts came to no fruition.

 

BALZAN BACK ON POLE

 

Balzan regained pole position on Sunday when they brushed aside the feeble challenge of Pembroke Athleta after beating the bottom-placed team 5-2 at the National Stadium.

 

The scoring protagonist for the league leaders was Alan da Silva Souza who slotted in a hat-trick to make it 3-1 after Go Nagaoka had temporarily equalised for Pembroke.

 

Two more goals midway into the second period put Balzan firmly in the driving seat before Daren Falzon trimmed the deficit late on. Both teams made several changes from their previous match.

 

CITY KEEP PACE

 

In the last match of the weekend, Valletta kept up the pace with Balzan and Hibernians to go on 47 points, four and three lengths respectively from the top-placed team Balzan and the Paolites, when they defeated Mosta by four clear goals,

 

The Lilywhites’ goals came from Max Velasco and Luke Montebello who each netted a brace.

 

Although never giving the impression that their gameplan was based on parking the bus in their final third, Mosta could not match the City team’s fire-power and in the end two goals in each half forced them to throw in the towel.

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