Day 25 Valletta 1 Tarxien R. 0
Miguel Alba’s strike in the first half was enough for Valletta to complete the job over Tarxien Rainbows and move five points clear of Hibernians.
A Hibernians slip against Senglea Athletic tomorrow would award the defending champions their 25th title with one game spare.
It was one way traffic from the start as Valletta controlled proceedings from the early stages of the game.
Nwoko was the first to attempt his luck when he received the ball on the edge of the area before firing a curling effort just to be denied by inches.
Moments later, Mario Fontanella pounced on a Tarxien mistake at the back but his close-range effort was blocked by goalkeeper Maverick Buhagiar.
On the 18th minute, Fontanella thought to have opened the score for Valletta but his goal was disallowed for an offside as the Citizens were piling up their pressure to forge ahead.
Tarxien were blocking all passing channels, forcing the Citizens to attempt their luck from the distance.
Miguel Alba saw his wonderful effort from outside the area but failed to hit the base of the net.
Yet, the Argentine midfielder was not to be denied on the half-hour mark. Joseph Zerafa cut into the middle before notching forward the ball towards Alba before the latter blasted a long-range shot in the far corner to the relief of the Valletta players and supporters.
After the change of ends, Valletta enjoyed the lions’ share of possession but were struggling to break down Tarxien’s backline as they never threatened the Rainbows’ custodian in the first quarter of the restart.
Midway into the second half, Gilbert Agius opted to replace Joseph Zerafa with winger Bogdan Gavrila in an attempt to put the result to bed.
On minute 70, Fontanella could have wrapped up the win but the Italian saw his effort parried by Buhagiar.
Miguel Alba of Valletta was named BOV Player of the Match.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, J. Caruana, S. Malano, M. Fontanella (N. Pulis), K. Nwoko, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa (B. Gavrila), J. Borg (A. Monticelli), R. Camilleri, R. Muscat, M. Alba.
TARXIEN R. – M. Buhagiar, M. Botta, D. Zerafa, M. Spiteri, G. Aquilina, L. Grech, D. Mambouana, A. de Barros, M. Ciantar (M. Brincat), R. da Silva Faria (D. Vassallo), A. Nilsson (A. Agius)
Yellow Cards: R. Camilleri, J. Zerafa, A. Monticelli (V), M. Botta, A. de Barros, M. Spiteri (T)
Scorers: 29′ M. Alba
BOV Player of the Match: M. Alba
Referee: P. Farrugia