Day 20 Valletta 6 Rabat A. 1
Valletta hit four goals in the second half as they trounced bottom team Rabat Ajax 6-1 in a one-sided encounter.
Substitute Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza helped himself to a brace of goals as Valletta cut the gap on leaders Birkirkara to three points, in the process turning a hint of pressure on their rivals before their match against Tarxien Rainbows this evening.Rabat Ajax almost shocked Valletta after 23 seconds as Malcolm Licari’s firm drive from outside the box rattled the crossbar.
Valletta replied with a central shot from Edmond Agius which was saved by Rabat goalkeeper Pavle Velimirovic.
After 13 minutes, Valletta were awarded a penalty after referee Glenn Tonna spotted a handling infringement in the Rabat box after City midfielder Hamza Barry had delivered a cross-shot from the left.
The decision brought protests from the Rabat players but their spirits rose when Velimirovic beat away by Lateef Elford-Alliyu’s strike before Joseph Caruana cleared the danger.
Midway into the first half, Rabat’s Sorin Oproiescu headed over from Diego Carrillo’s corner.Valletta broke the deadlock on 24 minutes. Shaun Bajada passed to Abdelkarim Nafti whose dipping shot took a deflection as it drifted above Velimirovic and into the far corner.
The Citizens doubled their advantage on 28 minutes. Nafti’s cross from a left free-kick was met by Elford-Alliyu whose header came off the crossbar and landed on the back of Velimirovic before dropping into the net.Valletta grew dominant, Elford-Alliyu flicking wide from Bajada’s corner.
Three minutes from half-time, Rabat revived their hopes as they were awarded a penalty after Jonathan Caruana was penalised for pulling Patrick Borg. The game became a dull affair but, three minutes from half-time, Rabat gained a lifeline. They were awarded a penalty after Valletta defender Jonathan Caruana was deemed to have impeded Borg inside the box. Ryan Micallef made no mistake from the spot.
Rabat’s comeback hopes were dashed four minutes into the second half when Valletta restored their two-goal lead thanks to Briffa’s perfect lob after Velimirovic’s mishit clearance landed in the path of the City right-back. Twelve minutes into the second half, Valletta added a fourth. It came from Agius who swooped on a short clearance before hammering his shot past Velimirovic and into the net.Valletta continued to push forward.
Nafti swept clear on the left before crossing for Nyang who lifted his shot over the bar.The Citizens didn’t have to wait long for their fifth as, two minutes past the hour, Briffa quickly passed the ball to Nafti who sped into the box before crossing for substitute Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who stabbed home at the far post.
With 22 minutes remaining, Valletta went 6-1 up. Bajada, jumping to connect with a cross from the right, deftly directed the ball to Mifsud Triganza who rifled home for his second goal in seven minutes.
Valletta came close to a seventh goal but LLywelyn Cremona, a second-half substitute, failed to beat Velimirovic from point blank after another fine cross from Nafti.
Nine minutes from time, Briffa’s cross-shot caressed the crossbar after taking as deflection. From the resultant corner, taken by Bajada, the ball dropped to Steve Borg who released Cremona but the latter’s effort was touched away by Velimirovic.The Rabat goalkeeper was prominent again when smothering away Bajada’s audacious lob from the distance.
Valletta’s Abdelkarim Nafti was named BOV player of the match.
VALLETTA – Y. Cini, J. Caruana, S. Borg, R. Fenech, E. Agius (I. Azzopardi), R. Briffa, H. Barry (L. Cremona), A. Corr Nyang, A. Nafti, S. Bajada, L. Elford Alliyu (J. P. Mifsud Triganza)
RABAT AJAX – P. Velimirovic, S. Gauci (Z. Tanti), D. Azzopardi, D. Falzon, I. Carapic, P. Borg, D. Carillo Pendas, J. Caruana, R. Micallef, S. Oproiescu, M. Licari (J. Bajada).
Date: 26.01.14 Time: 16:15 Venue: Victor Tedesco Stadium
Yellow Cards: R. Fenech (V) D. Falzon, S. Gauci.
Scorers: 25′ Abdelkarim Nafti, 28′ L. Elford Alliyu, 49′ R. Briffa, 57′ E. Agius, 62′ 69′ J. P. Mifsud Triganza (V) 43′ R. Micallef (R)
Man of Match: Abdelkarim Nafti (V)
Referee: Glenn Tonna