Day 14 Valletta 4 Floriana 1
Three goals in the first half set Valletta on the way to an easy win over derby rivals Floriana.
Floriana had high hopes of ending their negative run against their main adversaries but they proved no match for the resurgent champions who extended their winning run to six games to set themselves up nicely for next weekend’s crucial clash with leaders Hibernians.
Lateef Elford-Alliyu scored a hat-trick for Valletta but the man-of-the-match award went to Hamza Barry who produced another stunning display.
The first half was a totally one-sided affair as Valletta scored three goals to all but seal victory.
Valletta needed only two minutes to take the lead. Abdelkarim Nafti was the provider as cross sailed into the box and Lateef Elford-Alliyu guided the ball into the net.
Nafti’s long-range drive was dropped wide of the far post as the champions continued to produce the better chances.
Floriana were on the back foot as Valletta broke on the counter on 25 minutes.
Shaun Bajada, playing on the left of midfield, burst forward before serving Nafti inside the box but the Tunisian miscued his first-time effort.
On 31 minutes, Valletta missed another great chance to increase their lead as Roderick Briffa drove high from a great position after being sent clear by Hamza Barry.
Briffa was high from the distance after Barry, now pushing on the left, again found the Malta midfielder with a perfect pass.
Four minutes from half-time, Valletta doubled their lead.
Nafti’s corner from the left flew over a clutch of players and towards the far post where Elford-Alliyu slotted the ball home.
With Floriana looking stunned, Valletta pressed for more.
They scored a third just before half-time, Barry powering clear before hitting his low cross that was turned in by Nafti.
Nine minutes into the second half, Floriana finally threatened as Steve Pisani’s set-piece cross dropped to Rodrigo Aguiar who put the ball into the goalmouth. Steve Bonnici produced an overhead volley that was tipped away by Nicky Vella.
But it was Valletta who increased their lead on the hour. They were awarded a penalty for Clyde Borg’s handsball on Bajada’s shot and Elford-Alliyu made no mistake from the spot as the English forward completed his hat-trick.
Valletta continued to attack.
They would have scored their fifth but for a fine block by Floriana goalkeeper Gauci who sprinted off the line to deflect Barry’s shot after the Gambian had received from Briffa.
At the other end, Floriana produced a good move as Pisani advanced before serving Piciollo whose menacing cross was met by Amadou Samb who lifted his shot over the bar.
Floriana pulled one back 13 minutes from time.
Clyde Borg supplied an excellent through-ball to Plut who lobbed the ball over the on-rushing Vella.
VALLETTA – N. Vella, R. Camilleri, S. Borg, H. Barry, L. Elford, R. Fenech, S. Bajada (L. Dimech), J. Caruana (R. Kook Sohna), I. Azzopardi, R. Briffa, A. Nafti (H. Faria).
FLORIANA: – T. Gauci, R. Aguiar, D. Felipe Moreira Cobo (A. Samb), S. Pisani, C. Borg, V. Plut, M. Piciollo, E. Briffa, B. Farrugia (C. Borg), G. Muir, S. Bonnici.
Date: 06.12.14 Time: 16:00 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 2′ 41′ 60′ L. Elford, 45′ A. Nafti, 76′ V. Plut (F)
Yellow Cards: J. Caruana (V), M. Piciollo, C. Borg, A. Samb (F)
Man of Match: Hamza Barry (V)
Referee: Philip Farrugia