Matchday 08: Valletta 5 Santa Lucia 3
A brace by Shaun Dimech in the first four minutes paved the way for a 5-3 win for Valletta over Santa Lucia.
This was the third positive result on the trot for Toze Mendes’ side as the Citizens move third in the Premier League standings. Santa Lucia, on the other hand, remain joint-second from bottom with six points in eight matches obtained from six draws as they continue to chase their first win.
Valletta scored twice in the opening minutes and remained in the driving seat throughout the game although Santa Lucia kept fighting to reduce the arrears.
Shaun Dimech, who had notched the equaliser in the clash with Hibernians last week, replaced Rowen Muscat in an otherwise unchanged line-up for Valletta.
Santa Lucia coach Oliver Spiteri welcomed back Jurgen Pisani while Jan Tanti was handed a start, with Vito Plut and Victor Luis Filho being among the substitutes.
The Citizens took just three minutes to forge ahead. Kevin Tulimieri delivered a cross from the right, Haris Dilaver headed the ball down for Mario Fontanella and the latter served Shaun Dimech whose well-placed shot gave goalkeeper Julani Archibald no chance.
A minute later, Valletta doubled the score. Dilaver served Fontanella and the latter released Dimech on the right, who shot from the right.
On the half-hour, Santa Lucia reduced the gap. Kieran Xuereb served Pisani on the left and the latter beat Guarnone with an angled shot which the Valletta goalkeeper could only deflect into the net.
However, two minutes in added time, Eslit Sala made it 3-1 for Valletta, beating Archibald with a shot from the left after controlling a cross by Tulimieri.
On the restart, Santa Lucia went out in search of an early goal in their bid to get back in contention, and on 50 minutes, they scored a second goal. Gianmarco Conti had an angled shot from the right deflected into a corner and from the resulting corner by Alan da Silva Souza, the Valletta rear-guard failed to clear the ball into safety and Nicholas Pulis drilled the ball home.
Valletta restored a two-goal lead on 63 minutes courtesy of a lucky goal. Goalkeeper Archibald failed to control a long ball with the ball hitting Fontanella, slowly ending at the back of the net.
Nine minutes later, the Citizens extended the lead with an Ivan Curjuric effort, deflected by Dexter Xuereb, beating the Santa Lucia custodian.
On the 90th minute, Santa Lucia reduced the gap once again. Conti had a shot from outside the area partially saved by Guarnone and Plut hit home off the rebound.
Source: Times of Malta
VALLETTA: A. Guarnone, J. Borg (76 C. Gauci), R. Camilleri (83 J. Micallef), T. Caruana , J. Arthur, H. Dilaver , S. Dimech (65 J. Zerafa), I. Curjuric (76 L. Campos), E. Sala , M. Fontanella (83 I. Micallef), K. Tulimieri.
SANTA LUCIA: J. Archibald, A. Prates, J. Pisani, N. Pulis (80 B. Agius), G. Conti, P. Silva, A. Souza, J. Tanti (46 V. Filho), J. Zerafa (54 V. Plut), D. Xuereb (75 L. Mckay), K. Xuereb (75 A. Vella).
Scorers: Dimech 3, 4; Sala 45, Fontanella 63; Curjuric 72 (V), Pisani 30, Pulis 50, Plut 90 (S)
Referee: G. Tonna
Yellow Cards: J. Zerafa, I. Curjuric (V), A. Prates, J. Pisani (S)
Man of the Match: Shaun Dimech (V)