Day 09 Valletta 1 Tarxien 0
A brilliant goal from substitute Michael Mifsud gave Valletta a hard-earned 1-0 win over Tarxien Rainbows.
The champions found the going tough as Tarxien matched them all over the pitch but their efforts were undone by Mifsud who came off the bench to keep his team on the winning track.
The first half produced little excitement as Valletta struggled to break down the organised Tarxien defence.
Jean Borg shot wide from a wide position and Jhonnattann did likewise after Alex Alves had blocked Federico Falcone’s effort.
Late in the first half, Andrea Cassar, the Tarxien goalkeeper, repelled Jhonnattann’s flick after he had pushed away Falcone’s header.
Off colour in the first half, Valletta needed to raise their game significantly after the change of ends if they were to unlock the Tarxien defence.
Valletta produced their best chance so far when Valdo Alhinho cut out a pass outside the Tarxien box and the ball rolled to Falcone. The Argentine crossed for Jhonnattann whose strong drive was beaten away by Cassar.
Tarxien also had a great chance to open the scoring as Aguirre’s miscued clearance dropped to Prendes in the box and the Argentine picked out Nilsson whose acrobatic kick appeared to take a deflection off Ryan Camilleri, forcing Dziugas Bartkus to dive to his right to turn the ball around his near post.
The Lithuanian goalkeeper effected another fine save to push away Nilsson’s diagonal effort from the left.
Suddenly, the game came to life with both sides creating more chances.
Steve Borg, pushing up on the right, sent in a teasing cross that was headed on by Malano but Falcone wasted the chance as his first touch was heavy.
Cassar, the Tarxien goalkeeper, blocked Falcone’s header from Aguirre’s cross.
With 20 minutes remaining, Malano’s cross from the right set up Jhonnattann who controlled well but his scrambled shot was cleared by the Tarxien defenders.
The Citizens opened the scoring with 16 minutes left. Michael Mifsud, who had just come on for Borg, stole the limelight with a brilliant volley after the Malta captain had run through to connect with Aguirre’s cross-field pass.
Llywelyn Cremona had a great chance to seal the issue for Valletta but fired wide after being set up by Falcone.
Claudio Pani, the Valletta midfielder, was named BOV player of the match.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – D. Barktus, S. Borg, R. Camilleri, J. Benites (I. Azzopardi), J. Borg (M. Mifsud), J. Caruana, F. Falcone, C. Pani, V. Alhinho, S. Malano (L. Cremona), L. Aguirre.
TARXIEN – A. Cassar, E. Baker, T. Caruana (j. Galea), D. De Leon Garcia, A. Nilsson, E. Marcelina, S. Prendes, D. Zerafa, A. Alves, K. Zammit (C. Frances), S. Borg (D.Micallef).
Yellow Cards: None
Man of Match: C. Pani (V)
Scorers: 75′ M. Mifsud (V)
Referee: Mario Apap