Matchday 08: Valletta 3 Tarxien R 0
There is substance to Valletta’s recovery as they recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
The Malta champions dominated possession against the Rainbows. A well-worked move engineered Kyrian Nwoko’s opener and Mario Fontanella’s fourth goal of the season put Valletta in control before Douglas Packer’s chip sealed the points for Darren Abdilla’s side.
Tarxien coped well for a side still rooted at the bottom of the table with no points but despite several half-chances in the opening period, Marko Glumac’s battling Rainbows succumbed to a technically-superior side.
Abdilla’s first XI showed three changes from the Gudja win. With Ryan Camilleri injured, Abdilla drafted in Jean Borg, youngster Shaun Dimech was preferred to Kevin Tulimieri while Nwoko started ahead of Bojan Kaljevic.
There was immediately a scare for Valletta when Aleksa Andrejic’s corner from the left was met by Destin Mambouana but his downward header went wide.
Valletta had the ball in the net within the first six minutes, but Irakli Dzaria’s ‘goal’ was ruled out by the Albanian referee Olsid Ferataj as Fontanella was in an offside position and clearly obstructing the Tarxien goalkeeper’s line of vision.
But Valletta were not to be denied as on 13 minutes Jean Borg’s pin-pointed low ball picked Nwoko who beat Tarxien’s offside trap and in no time, the Malta striker’s accurate angled effort nestled into the low corner of the net.
At the other end, Andrejic managed to carve another opening but the Serbian winger was unlucky to see his shot slide inches past the upright.
On 35 minutes, Fontanella was played in by Nwoko’s back-heel. An open goal was at the Italian striker’s mercy but he dallied his shot and Tarxien were able to recover.
Fontanella showed a lack of confidence in front of goals again eight minutes after the interval. He raced into the Tarxien box but shot wide.
On 56 minutes, Fontanella finally redeemed himself, as the Italian striker twisted and turned before curling a shot past Briffa.
Nine minutes later, the Italian striker hit a ball across the face of goal, Nwoko pounced on the delivery to set up Douglas Packer for Valletta’s third.
In the second half, Tarxien created little until the 80th minute when Stiv Shaba followed a hopeful cross from Thomas Veronese and poked home from close range.
Moments later, a hesitancy by Bonello almost gifted Tarxien a route back but Manuel Murillo’s shot was hooked off the line by Dimech.
VALLETTA: H. Bonello, S. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, M. Fontanella (R. Tonna), D. Packer (N. Pulis), R. Muscat, J. Zerafa, I. Dzaria (M. Piciollo), J. Borg, K. Nwoko, S. Dimech.
TARXIEN R.: R. Briffa, M. Botta, T. Veronese, D. Mambouana, M. Torres Murillo, A. Andrejic, G. Camilleri, (D. Vassallo) S. Shaba, N. Portelli, B. Farrugia (M. Ciantar), M. Gomez.
Scorers: 14′ K. Nwoko, 56′ M. Fontanella, 65′ D. Packer (V), 79′ S. Shaba (T).
Yellow Cards: S. Shaba (T), J. Zerafa (V)
BOV Player of the Match: M. Fontanella (V)
Referee: O. Ferataj (ALB)