Day 4 Valletta 5 Melita 1 Published on: 16-09-2012
Valletta beat 10-man Melita to make it four in a row
Valletta scored four goals in the final 30 minutes to trounce Melita 5-1 and maintain their perfect start to the season.
The final scoreline suggests that the champions had an easy ride against the newcomers but that was certainly not the case as Melita put up a strong fight to the point that, with 60 minutes goal, they were holding Valletta 1-1.
It was only after the introduction of Michael Mifsud, scorer of a brace, and the dismissal of Jovan Vukanic, Melita's flank defender, that Valletta took full control. The Citizens deserved their win but the 5-1 result was definitely harsh on Melia.
Inside the opening two minutes, Manuel Bartolo, the Valletta goalkeeper, beat away a dangerous cross-shot from Jovan Vukanic as Melita began brightly.
Melita's Luke Micallef then hit over after being set up by Julian Galea.
Valletta's first chances came courtesy of Ryan Fenech who, after heading high from Ian Azzopardi's cross, had a powerful shot cleared by the Melita defenders after the Malta midfielder had received from Gabriel.
Matthew Sapiano, the Melita goalkeeper, blocked a low shot by Gabriel but Valletta opened the scoring on 15 minutes. Fenech's cross from the right fell into the path of Denni whose fierce shot shook the crossbar but Gabriel was on hand to nod the ball home.
Somewhat surprisingly, Valletta's lead didn't last long as two minutes later Melita equalised. They were awarded a penalty after Galea was brought down by Azzopardi and Jovan Vukanic converted from the spot.
Buoyed by their encouraging start, Melita continued to produce some good football. On one occasion, Jose Luis Armando Negrin powered his way into the six-yard box before being crowded out by the Valletta defenders.
As was to be expected, Valletta saw more of the ball but the organised Melita held firm.
Valletta threatened to regain the lead when Fenech ran past Ivan Tufegdzic and advanced into the box but his grounder ended wide.
Melita refused to lie down and their brisk approach almost yielded a second goal late in the first half. A sweeping move saw Galea direct a back-heeled pass to Micallef who promptly hit a perfect through-ball to Negrin whose strike was parried away by Bartolo before Ricardo cleared.
Early in the second half, Negrin hit wide from close in after a solo move and, at the other end, Sapiano,. the Melita goalkeeper, saved a header by Steve Borg and a close-range attempt by Denni.
Unimpressed by their team's showing, the City fans urged their players to raise their game.
Mark Miller, the Valletta coach, brought on Michael Mifsud and William Barbosa for Azzopardi and Leandro respectively. Martin Gregory, the Melita coach, responded with a double substitution of his own, Nigel Rizzo and Kane Micallef replacing Luke Sammut and Andrew Caruana Scicluna.
But, on 65 minutes, Valletta ahead, Mifsud making an instant impact on the game with a first-time strike that had the better of Sapiano after Melita had partially cleared Gabriel's corner.
Three minutes later, Melita suffered a double blow as they conceded a penalty and had Vukanic sent off after he stopped Gabriel's goalbound effort with his hands. Mifsud beat Sapiano from the spot to make it 3-1 for the champions.
With 15 minutes remaining, Valletta put the result beyond Melita when Ivan Tefugdzic diverted the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear Denni's angled strike.
Valletta were dominant. Caruana went close with a low shot that was slightly off target. Fenech should have got on the scoresheet when Denni found him unmarked inside the box but the former Spartans midfielder rifled wide.
A minute from time, Valletta scored their fifth, Gabriel flicking home from close in after connecting with Denni's precise cross.
Sapiano denied Valletta a sixth goal when tipping Dyson Falzon's high-riser over the bar.
Mifsud, the Valletta striker, was named BOV player of the match.
VALLETTA - M. Bartolo, S. Borg, J. Caruana, J. Gabriel Da Silva, R. Barretto da Rocha Filho, R. Briffa, I. Azzopardi (M. Mifsud), D. Dos Santos, S. Bajada (D. Falzon), R. Fenech, L. Da Silva Almeida (W. Barbosa)
MELITA - M. Sapiano, D. Gravino, I. Tufegdzic, M. Borg, L. Sammut (N. Rizzo), J. Galea, M. Sierra Camacho, L. Micallef, A. Caruana Scicluna (K. Micallef), J. Armaro Negrin (R. Alhinho), J. Vukanic.
BOV Premier League
Date: 61-09-12 Time: 19.00 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 15' 89' Gabriel Da Silva, 17' Juvan Vukanic (p), 65' 69' Michael Mifsud (p), 75' (o.g.) Ivan Tufegdzic,
Red Cards: Jovan Vukanic (M)
Man of Match: Michael Mifsud (V)
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi