Day 18: Valletta 2 Floriana 0 Published on: 12-02-2011

Derby ends Citizens way

Valletta made another significant step towards winning the title after overcoming rivals Floriana 2-0.

Goals from Denni and Ian Zammit, who had come on for the Brazilian late in the game, extended Valletta’s unbeaten run to 18 matches and, more importantly, increased their lead at the top to 15 points ahead of the start of the Championship Pool.

A sizeable crowd gathered at the National Stadium to watch this hotly-anticipated derby with thousands of fans, especially those of Valletta, making their way to Ta’ Qali hours before kick-off.

The volume level increased as kick-off approached as the flag-waving supporters went through their repertoire of chants.

Floriana enjoyed the better start but the first chance fell to Valletta after 11 minutes. Gilbert Agius’s floated pass from midfield released Denni who sped forward before passing to Terrence Scerri on the edge of the box. The latter’s cross-shot was cleared away by the Floriana defenders.

Scoring chances were at a premium for much of the opening 25 minutes with Valletta clearly toiling to find their rhythm in the face of Floriana’s tight pressing.

On 26 minutes, Valletta coach Jesmond Zerafa was forced into his first substitution as midfielder Jamie Pace, a second-half substitute for Malta in Wednesday’s goalless draw against Switzerland, appeared to suffer a recurrence of the injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks. Edmond Agius replaced Pace.

Floriana threatened Valletta when Dragomir Draganov’s cross was deflected towards Christian Caruana who was unmarked inside the City box but out came Andrew Hogg to close down the Greens forward. The danger was not over for Valletta though as Floriana quickly regained possession with Caruana hitting a measured cross towards Draganov whose looping header was pushed away by Hogg.

Shook into action by Hogg’s intervention, Valletta reacted. New Brazilian signing Andrade drifted across Floriana’s penalty box before releasing Scerri who outmuscled his marker but his low shot was blocked by Lofti Saidi, the Floriana goalkeeper.

The leaders opened the scoring 10 minutes from half-time. Nigerian winger Omonigho Temile sprinted into the box from the left before sending in a cut-back cross that reached Denni whose first-time
volley sailed past Saidi.

Scerri then volleyed high after being picked out by Edmond Agius.

Three minutes into the second half, Gilbert Agius let fly a fierce drive that was deflected away for a corner. Moments later, Agius turned provider with a perfectly-flighted cross from a free-kick but Scerri just failed to make contact with the ball at the far post.

Floriana came more into the picture as the first half moved on. They won two quick corners and from the second such set-piece, taken by Portuguese winger Marcal Guerreiro Fernandes, Ivan Woods’s
low strike was stopped by Hogg.

The roaming of the skilful Caruana increased Floriana’s attacking threat. On the hour mark, Caruana darted into the box to meet Duncan Pisani’s cross but his central header was saved by Hogg.

Nineteen minutes from time, Tyrone Farrugia headed wide from Doffo’s cross and, for Valletta,
Edmond Agius hit wide from a free-kick.

The Citizens should have wrapped up the points when Gilbert supplied a through-ball to Andrade
who sped into the box before laying the ball to Sammut, who had just come in for Scerri, but the midfielder’s close-range effort was pushed around the post by Saidi.

It was all Valletta now, Agius once more showing his extraordinary vision with a perfect ball to Denni who was clean through but the Brazilian lost his balance and his tame shot was blocked by Saidi.

An isolated breakaway by Floriana saw substitute Sacha Borg cut in from the left but his cross-cum-shot was kept out by Hogg.

With eight minutes left, Valletta spurned another chance to put their minds at rest when Edmond Agius passed to Andrade in the box and the latter’s cross flew to the unmarked Denni whose header smacked against the crossbar.

Valletta put the result beyond their opponents when, in stoppage time, Gilbert Agius’s quickly-taken free-kick sent Ian Zammit, a late substitute for Denni, through and fired past Saidi.

Denni was named BOV player of the match.

The match was watched by a crowd of 5,200, the biggest so far this season.

Source: Times of Malta

VALLETTA: A. Hogg, G. Agius, O. Temile, A. Antunes, I. Azzopardi, S. Borg, D. Dos Santos (I. Zammit), T. Scerri (K. Sammut), R. Briffa, J. Caruana, J. Pace (E. Agius).

FLORIANA: L. Saidi, B. Said, T. Farrugia, P. Doffo, D. Pisani, M. Micallef, C. Borg (K. Dzhorov), I. Woods, C. Caruana (C. Cassar), D. Draganov, M. Fernandes (S. Borg).

BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 12-02-11     Time: 16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 35' D. Dos Santos, 92' I. Zammit.

Yellow Cards: O. Temile, I. Azzopardi, D. Dos Santos

Man of match:
Denni Dos Santos