Day 19 Valletta 2 Sliema W 0 Published on: 19-01-2013
Goals from Demba Tourè and Jonathan Caruana earned Valletta a 2-0 victory to return to the top of the table ahead of Hibernians and Birkirkara.
Valletta deserved their success as they were the livelier side. For all their commitment, the Wanderers struggled to make an attacking impact, only showing signs of life up front early in the second half.
Nine minutes from the start of the game had elapsed when Valletta opened the score. Receiving a pass from Fenech, Tourè lost his balance in the Sliema box after he tried to shield the ball from Stefano Bianciardi but he still succeeded in rolling it past Glenn Zammit with a neat shot-on-the-turn.
However, Sliema refused to lie down. The Sliema attacking trio were granted licence to interchange in attack with skipper Alex Muscat pushing up on the right wing. Yet it was not before the 22nd minute that they fashioned at decent chance, Ruggiero squared for the unmarked Faccini but the striker allowed Jonathan Caruana to get back and dispossess him as he intercepted the ball which should have given the Italian an easy finish.
The game entered a lull as the two teams matched each other in the opening as they struggled to make an impact in attack.
The Lilywhites were enjoying a greater share of possession after the break, but there was always the danger that they would be caught by a Sliema counter-attack. Woods demonstrated his penetrative qualities after 52 minutes when he sensed an opening in the Valletta defence as he find a channel for Ruggiero only to see Cini repel his strong drive.
The white-shirted players went up at the other end and scored.
Jonathan Caruana heading home from Michael Mifsud’s corner after 68 minutes.
Valletta were now showing signs of revival as they worked up a head of steam. Fenech swivelled on the right flank before hitting a grounder which came off the foot of the post with Zammit beaten.
The impressive Mifsud whose powerful running was a striking feature all evening, his brilliance zipped open the Sliema defence with a splitting pass to the unmarked Barbosa but the latter’s shot was tipped over the bar by Tourè after 72 minutes.
Six minutes from time, Barbosa went close to increase the lead with a swerving free-kick which flashed wide of the far post.
Ryan Fenech was voted B.O.V. man of the match.
VALLETTA - Y. Cini, J. Caruana, J. Vandelannoite, D. Toure, I. Azzopardi (D. Falzon), R. Briffa, L. Dimech, R. Fenech (I. Zammit), W. Barbosa, M. Mifsud (E. Agius), J. Gabriel.
SLIEMA W. - G. Zammit, A. Muscat (M. Ciantar), J. Mintoff, M. Scerri, L. Ruggiero, C. Gatt Baldacchino, I. Woods, A. Faccini, M. Muchardi, B. Muscat, S. Biancardi.
Date: 19-01-13 Time: 16:00 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 9' Demba Toure, 69' Jonathan Caruana.
Yellow Cards: J. Vandelannoite, W. Barbosa
Man of Match: Ryan Fenech (V)
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi