Malta Football Association
Valletta edge Hibs in exciting match to keep Balzan in sight
Mar 12, 2018
Posted in:
BOV Premier League


Valletta maintained the pressure on leaders Balzan after beating Hibernians 2-1 in a pulsating match at the National Stadium on Sunday.

After Balzan had opened a four-point gap following their win over Birkirkara, Valletta responded with a lively performance to trim the deficit to one point with four matches remaining.


Led for the first time by new coaches Mario Muscat and Neil Zarb Cousin, the Paolites slumped to their second consecutive defeat and remain sixth, level with Sliema Wanderers on 36 points.


Valletta opened the scoring on 25 minutes.


Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre cut in from the right before crossing for Santiago Malano whose low drive from inside the box had the better of Andrew Hogg.


Five minutes later, the Citizens made it 2-0.


Malano headed the ball towards Estonian striker Albert Prosa who rifled home from close range.


Valletta looked in control but Hibernians revived their hopes just before half-time.


Jackson Lima made headway on the left before dragging a cross into the six-yard box where Jurgen Degabriele, on as a substitute, anticipated his marker to volley past goalkeeper Henry Bonello.


The game remained exciting after the change of ends with Valletta missing a host of chances to put the game to bed.
Italian forward Matteo Piciollo went very close but his back-heeled flick from Beltre’s cross grazed the far post.


Valletta were also made to pay for these chances on the stroke of time as Degabriele darted into the box but his drive cannoned off the upright.


BOV player of the match: Santiago Malano (Valletta).


MOSTA              3


Gżira United leapfrogged Birkirkara into third place after a 5-3 victory over Mosta Sunday.


Gżira are now one point ahead of Birkirkara after returning to winning form following back-to-back 0-0 draws against Floriana and Balzan.


For their part, Mosta are sharing ninth place with Senglea Athletic, just six points ahead of the relegation zone.


The goal rush began after eight minutes when Andrew Cohen put Gżira ahead. Latching on to a cross by Nikolai Muscat, Cohen beat Andreas Vella with a brilliant shot from outside the area.


Three minutes later, Ndubisi Okoye freed Cohen who hit home from close range.


Mosta narrowed the deficit in the 16th minute.


Clifford Gatt Baldacchino was adjudged to have floored Tyrone Farrugia inside the box and Damir Bartulovic converted from the spot.


It took Gżira three minutes to restore their two-goal lead, Okoye scoring from close in.


Mosta reduced the gap once again on 34 minutes when Bartulovic’s effort was partially saved by Anthony Curmi and Leonardo Henrique Ferreira headed home from the rebound.


Three minutes in the second half, Nigerian striker Haruna Garba made it 4-2 when he sprinted forward before lobbing the ball over Vella, the Mosta goalkeeper.


Okoye sealed Gżira’s win when he advanced on the right before firing past Vella.


Seven minutes from time, Bartulovic scored his second goal of the game and Mosta’s third when he leapt high to head home from Thomas Veronese’s corner.


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

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