Day 25: Valletta 4 Tarxien R 0 Published on: 08-03-2015

A potentially tricky match against Tarxien Rainbows in desperate need of points turned into a stroll for Valletta.

Their experience and attacking flair proved too much for a Tarxien side, depleted as they were by the absence of five first-squad players struggled to keep up with their opponents.

For all the abundance of attacking players on the Valletta side, the early exchanges were devoid of scoring chances as both teams toiled to find some sort of rhythm. Inside the first ten minutes, Triston Caruana tested Vella with a long-range drive which the City goalkeeper turned away for a corner.

The Citizens broke the deadlock from their first decent scoring opportunity after 23 minutes. Roderick Briffa initiated the move by slipping the ball towards Cremona. “Offside” yelled the Tarxien players but as the assistant referee’s flag stay down, Cremona sidestepped his market to lift a shot over Sean Mintoff.

After a somewhat indifferent start, Valletta began to dominate but lacked fluidity in attack. When Ryan Sammut barged into Cremona outside the box, danger loomed for Tarxien as Valletta were awarded a free-kick near the D. Their fears were justified as Nafti produced an inswinger that arched over the wall and into the top corner beyond Mintoff’s despairing dive.

In the 37th minute, Luke Dimech who was brought in to replace the injured Briffa, sent a pass into the edge of the penalty area from the right and Nafti reached out at full stretch to guide the ball across Mintoff on the volley and into the far corner.

The second half was less than eight minutes old when Barry turned well inside the box but his angled shot fizzed wide of the far post.

Past the hour mark, Tarxien finally presented themselves in the Valletta box but Caruana’ set-piece landed over the bar. Soon after, Triston Caruana’s shot was too tame to trouble Vella.

Ryan Fenech kept tormenting the Rainbows and six minutes from time his fierce drive from free-kick was a whisker out.

At the other end, Tarxien created a good move as Jorge Yepes advanced on the flank before switching the ball toTriston Caruana who menacing volley was kept out by the brave Vella. But in the stoppage time, Valletta went 4-0 up. Fenech’s corner from the right sailed toward the far post and Ian Azzopardi outjumped Mintoff to head home.

With the game having long been won and lost, the Rainbows tried to restore some lost pride but Vella held firm.

VALLETTA - N. Vella, R. Camilleri, H. Barry, J. Caruana, L. Cremona,  I. Azzopardi, A. Nafti, I. Hillary, S. Bajada (D. Leeflang), R. Fenech, R. Briffa (L. Dimech).

TARXIEN - S. Mintoff, K. Paul Farrugia, J. Yepes Roda, T. Caruana, E. Casado (M. Scerri), R. Sammut, J. Godar Pereira, A. Cini, M. Tabone, O. Ajoku, M. Acevedo (M. Caruana) 

Date: 08.03.15     Time:  16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 24' L. Cremona, 29' 37' A. Nafti, 90' I. Azzopardi.

Yellow Cards: E. Vallecillo Casado, R. Sammut, S. Mintoff (T), L. Dimech, L. Cremona (V)

Man of Match: A. Nafti (V)

Referee: P. Farrugia