Malta Football Association
Rivals Valletta, Birkirkara cancel each other out
Feb 25, 2018
Posted in:
BOV Premier League



Valletta and Birkirkara had to settle for a point apiece after their eagerly-awaited second-round clash ended goalless at the National Stadium on Sunday.

A tight game, played in front of a good crowd of just over 4,000 fans saw both teams create some scoring opportunities but wayward finishing and some good saves from both goalkeepers ensured that the stalemate prevailed.


The draw left Valletta on 42 points, three behind leaders Balzan, while Birkirkara remain four points behind the Citizens.


Valletta produced the better chances in the first half.


Estonian striker Albert Prosa galloped forward on the right flank and sent a low cross towards Miguel Alba who miscued his effort.


The Whites had another glorious chance when Mislav Andelkovic’s slip was pounced upon Prosa who surged forward but his drive was blocked by Birkirkara goalkeeper Kristjan Naumovski.


The Macedonian goalkeeper distinguished himself again on 32 minutes as he denied Kyrian Nwoko who had been teed up by Ibrahim Saleh.


From the ensuing corner, taken by Alba, the ball was deflected towards Ryan Camilleri but the Valletta captain blasted wide.


Now attacking in the direction of the gusty wind, Birkirkara raised their game in the second half.


A minute past the hour, Carlos Alberto made headway on the right and his low cross found Ognjen Rolovic unmarked but the Montenegrin sent his shot wide from a glorious position.


Eight minutes from time, Nikola Vukanac almost opened the scoring for Birkirkara but his thumping header was blocked by Camilleri while, at the other end, Santiago Malano’s ferocious drive was repelled by Naumovski.


In the dying stages, Vukanac headed over from Ryan Scicluna’s cross.


BOV player of the match: Ibrahim Raed Saleh (Valletta).


BALZAN            3


Balzan stayed on course to win the BOV Premier League title after beating neighbours Lija Athletic 3-0.


It was Balzan’s first win after back-to-back draws.


Alfred Effiong gave Balzan a 31st-minute lead. The Malta striker capitalised on a clearance by Ousmane Sidibe, sped into the area and hit past Luke Bonnici.


On the hour, Leejoe Schembri tripped Alex da Paixao Alves inside the penalty area. From the penalty spot, Brazilian Cadu drilled his shot past Bonnici to all but secure Balzan’s win.


Balzan made it 3-0 with 19 minutes remaining thanks to Siraj Arab who rifled past the Lija custodian after receiving from Effiong.



BOV player of the match: Alex Da Paixao Alves (Balzan).




FLORIANA        0


Gżira United and Floriana missed the opportunity to boost their top-three hopes as they cancelled each other out on Saturday. 


The Maroons remain third, level with Birkirkara on 38 points while Floriana are sixth, two points behind Hibernians.


In a match of few chances, Andrew Cohen went closest to scoring but his well-taken free-kick, seven minutes from half-time, was tipped away for a corner by Floriana goalkeeper Ini Akpan.


BOV player of the match: Andrew Cohen (Gżira United).






Hibernians’ top-three hopes suffered a further setback after they were held to a goalless draw by strugglers Naxxar Lions on Friday.


The Paolites dominated for long stretches but couldn’t find a way past the Naxxar Lions defence and goalkeeper Christoph Nicht.

Jurgen Degabriele and Johann Bezzina were both thwarted by Nicht.


Scoring chances remained rare with Hibs threatening three minutes from the break when Jorginho's header was saved by Nicht.


In a rare breakaway, Naxxar came close to scoring 20 minutes into the second half. Angus Buhagiar, who had just replaced Leandro Da Costa, released the advancing Daniel Bustos who was closed down by the onrushing Rudy Briffa.


Hibs created another chance a minute from time but Jackson Lima’s volley was high.


BOV player of the match: Jackson Lima (Hibernians).



MOSTA                         0


Ħamrun Spartans ended their three-match losing run as Swedish striker Alex Nilsson hit a brace in a 2-0 win over Mosta on Sunday.


With this win, the eighth-placed Spartans opened a five-point gap on Mosta.


After a goalless first half, Ħamrun took the lead 20 minutes into the second half.


Arthur Faria Machado’s through-pass released Nilsson who ran through before firing past Mosta goalkeeper Andreas Vella.


Five minutes from the end, Nilsson sealed Ħamrun’s win with another crisp finish.


BOV player of the match: Lydon Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans).





Sliema Wanderers lost further ground in the race for a top-four finish after being held to a 1-1 draw by relegation strugglers Tarxien Rainbows on Saturday.


The first half was 26 minutes old when Frank Temile switched the ball to Nicolae Milinceanu who raced past goalkeeper Andrea Cassar before tapping the ball home.


The Rainbows equalised three minutes later thanks to Gabriel Aquilina, who is on loan from Sliema Wanderers. Aquilina’s first attempt was partially saved by Antonio Cotticelli but he scored from the rebound.


BOV player of the match: Antonio Cotticelli (Sliema Wanderers).



ST ANDREWS            1

Senglea Athletic further strengthened their survival hopes after a 2-1 win over relegation rivals St Andrews on Saturday.


With this win, Senglea moved six points clear of St Andrews who remained fourth from bottom.


Senglea were off to a great start, taking the lead after three minutes. Ivan Paz’s free-kick was met by Matias Garcia who headed home from close range. 


St Andrews thought they had salvaged a point when, with 12 minutes left, Joseph Farrugia, who was served by Tano Azian, guided his shot past Senglea goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia. 


The Saints’ joy was short-lived as Senglea regained the lead with a brilliant free-kick by Paz.


BOV player of the match: Ivan Paz (Senglea).

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