Day 26: Valletta 1 Birkirkara 1 Published on: 25-04-2011
Valletta and Birkirkara share spoils in a drawNewly-crowned champions Valletta stayed on course to finish the season unbeaten following a 1-1 draw with Birkirkara this evening.
Valletta looked set for another victory when Terrence Scerri fired them ahead 12 minutes from time but Birkirkara saved a potentially vital point thanks to Rodolfo Kumbrevicius's late equaliser.
The first half was a dull affair as the two teams struggled to create scoring chances.
Birkirkara's Angus Buhagiar tried to surprise Valletta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg with a diagonal shot after just two minutes but his effort sailed over the bar.
Danger loomed for Birkirkara when Valletta striker Ian Zammit's cross from the left sailed towards Denni but the Brazilian committed a foul as his extended foot caught Birkirkara goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo in the chest.
At the other end, after 17 minutes Emiliano Lattes swung a dangerous cross into the six-yard box where Rowen Muscat got the ball first but the Birkirkara midfielder was crowded out by the Valletta defenders.
With both teams seemingly more concerned with keeping their tactical shape, goalmouth action was scarce for the remainder of the first half.
As the end of the opening period approached, Birkirkara briefly raised the spirits of their fans as, in a short spell of pressure, they hit two consecutive shots that were blocked by the Valletta defenders.
The second half began on a better note in so far as attacking football was concerned. After just 37 seconds, Babatunde whipped in a teasing cross from the left but the ball just eluded the sliding Trevor Cilia at the far post.
Valletta's response was immediate. Zammit's mishit header from Edmond Agius's cross fell to Gilbert Agius whose first-time strike was deflected past the far post.
The rate of scoring chances dropped as the second half progressed but Valletta took the lead 12 minutes from time. Latching onto a long ball from Jamie Pace, Scerri, who had earlier replaced Zammit, chested the ball past the on-rushing Manuel Bartolo and slotted the ball home.
As Valletta celebrated their goal, Birkirkara's Andrei Agius exchanged angry words with Steve Borg. The two received a yellow card but Borg was sent off as he had already been cautioned.
Despite their numerical disparity, Valletta threatened to increase their lead when Scerri set up Denni whose shot was deflected away for a corner.
Birkirkara's late rally got them an equaliser. Having burst into the box from the left, Babatunde's first shot was parried away by Hogg but, from the rebound, the Nigerian served Kumbrevicius, who had just come on as a substitute, and the Brazilian fired the ball home.
Valletta defender Jonathan Caruana was voted BOV player of the match.
|VALLETTA, A. Hogg, S. Borg, J. Caruana, K. Sammut, E. Agius, D. Dos Santos (K. Magro), G. Agius, R. Fenech, I. Zammit (T. Scerri), J. Pace, R. Briffa.|
|BIRKIRKARA M. Bartolo, A. Buhagiar, T. Cilia (R. Kumbrevicius), E. Lattes, J. Zerafa, A. Decesare (M. Galea), A. Agius, N. Vukanac, P. Borg (K. Pulo), R. Muscat, I. Babatunde|
BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 25-04-11 Time: 19:30 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 79' Terrence Scerri
Yellow Cards: R. Fenech, S. Borg
Red Cards: S. Borg
Man of match: Jonathan caruana