Day 22: Valletta 3 Floriana 0 Published on: 13-03-2011
Citizens beat neighboursValletta further underlined their status as champions-elect this evening as they delivered a stellar display to trounce rivals Floriana 3-0 at the National Stadium.
Buoyed by an early goal from Andrade, Valletta were too for much for Floriana, much to the delight of their numerous fans who turned up in their thousands despite the inclement weather.
Victory for the Citizens took them nine points clear of Birkirkara with only six games left as Floriana stay third on 20 points.
Valletta took only eight minutes to open the scoring. High on confidence after scoring his first City goal in the 1-0 win over Birkirkara, Brazilian striker Andrade put Valletta ahead with a diagonal shot that fizzed past the diving Lofti Said and into the far corner.
The numerous City fans were still on their feet when Floriana came close to an equaliser. Pouncing on a half-clearance in the Valletta box, Thomas Paris produced a firm grounder from the edge of the box that was beaten away by Andrew Hogg. Nigerian striker Daniel Nwoke closed in on the loose ball at the far post but Steve Borg nipped in to clear the danger.
On 24 minutes, Floriana goalkeeper Saidi denied Valletta a second goal as the Tunisian goalkeeper leapt to the right to touch away Fenech’s swerving free-kick, given for Brian Said’s charge on Scerri.
After a period of scrappy football, Valletta regained the initiative, with captain Gilbert Agius at the heart of City’s improvement.
Outfought in midfield, Floriana struggled to create openings as the Valletta defenders kept the likes of Nwoke and Ivan Woods under lock and key.
The Greens had to wait until four minutes from half-time to trouble Valletta. Woods, picking up a short clearance just inside the box, fired over the bar.
At the other end, Gilbert Agius ran forward and released Scerri who blasted high and wide. A long-range shot by Agius was blocked by Saidi in first-half stoppage time.
Valletta doubled their lead within a minute from the start of the second half. Agius’s low cross from the left unhinged the Floriana defence as Scerri pulled the ball back for Denni who unleashed a powerful shot that sent the net bulging.
Buttressed by their two-goal advantage, Valletta stayed on top. They may have added to their lead when Fenech ran into the box from the left and released Andrade who rifled over the bar with only Saidi to beat.
Zerafa was forced into his first substitution just past the hour as Gilbert Agius was taken off on a stretcher after seemingly taking a blow to his head. The City captain was replaced by Kevin Sammut.
Doffo’s dipping drive from a central free-kick unsettled Valletta as the ball dropped in the goalmouth but Hogg diverted the ball away for a corner.
The game was 66 minutes old when Valletta were hit by another blow as Denni was sent off after his flailing elbow caught Mano Micallef in the face.
Ten minutes later, Floriana also finished with 10 men as substitute Owen Bugeja was dismissed after getting a second caution for a foul on Andrade.
Woods came close to reducing the deficit for Floriana but his free-kick came off the base of the post.
Four minutes from time, Valletta applied the killer touch when substitute Ian Zammit drove home after being set up by Omonigho Temile, who had just replaced Scerri.
Valletta captain Gilbert Agius was named BOV player of the match.
|VALLETTA, A. Hogg, S. Borg, J. Caruana, I. Azzopardi, R. Dos Santos, E. Agius (I. Zammit), G. Agius (K. Sammut), T. Scerri (O. Temile), R. Fenech, A. Anderson, D. Dos Santos.|
|FLORIANA, L. Saidi, B. Said (C. Borg), T. Farrugia, D. Pisani (O.Bugeja), M. Micallef, P. Doffo, D. Nwoke, I. Woods, T. Paris (D. Draganov), C. Cassar, C. Caruana.|
BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 13-03-11 Time: 16:00 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 7' A. Andrade Antunes, 47' D. Dos Santos, 86' I. Zammit
Yellow Cards: T. Scerri
Red Cards: D. Dos Santos
Man of match: Gilbert Agius