Matchday 10: Valletta 3 Mosta 1
Valletta underlined their title credentials with an emphatic defeat of Mosta.
A combination of results on-and-off pitch saw them from climb from sixth place to take the second spot behind runaway leaders Hibernians.
In the run-up to the match, Valletta received a big boost when the MFA Protests Board overturned their 2-1 defeat against Sliema, before Floriana’s upset to Sirens gave them the opportunity to go three points ahead of their arch-rivals and Valletta duly accepted the invitation.
What a turnaround in little more than 24 hours.
Valletta started confidently enough with Rowen Muscat and Ivan Curjuric controlling the middle of the park.
Yet, it was Alessandro Guarmone who was twice called into action at the other end to clear his lines as Mosta showed plenty of willingness to attack.
Antonio Cardoso Mendes’s side dominated for long periods of an uneventful opening quarter of an hour but could not get the vital breakthrough.
So as minutes ticked by, it became clear it was going to take something special to break the deadlock.
Mario Fontanella lifted a cross to Kevin Tulimieri who soared in the air and sent a flying acrobatic kick past Marko Jovicic, who had no chance.
That moment of brilliance was almost nullified immediately by a glaring mistake from Jean Borg when he inadvertently deflected the ball past the Valletta goalkeeper.
Yet his clearance finished against the post much to the relief of the Valletta defender.
But Valletta further deepened Mosta’s gloom just before half-time when they doubled the lead.
Muscat broke free through the middle channel and his timely cross was met by Haris Dilaver whose first shot thundered off the post only for James Arthur to bury the ball home on the rebound.
Mosta coach Mario Muscat reacted by making a quadruple substitution at the start of the second half in a bid to revive his side’s hopes. He roped in Nathan Agius, Johnson Nsumoh, Jake Vassallo and Gianluca Sciberras.
It failed to have the desired effect as Valletta opened the second period in fluent fashion.
Valletta vs Mosta
It was no surprise when they made it 3-0 after 53 minutes, Tulimieri rounding off good work by Curjuric with another rousing finish after the Italian’s first attempt hit the underside of the crossbar.
Mosta were not giving up, and two minutes from time, Sunday Akinbule was left unmarked in to box to finish Nsumoh’s square pass.
Source: Times of Malta
VALLETTA: A. Guarnone (80 Y. Cini), J. Borg, R. Camilleri (61 J. Zerafa), T. Caruana (80 L. Campos), J. Arthur, H. Dilaver, I. Curjuric (61 S. Dimech), R. Muscat, E. Sala, M. Fontanella, K. Tulimieri (70 E. Pena Beltre).
MOSTA: M. Jovicic, R. Briffa, W. Donkin (66 M.Mifsud-), D. Bonniċi (46 J. Nsumoh), C Failla, J. Bezzina (46 N. Agius-4), I. Doric (46 G.Sciberras-4), M. Hetemaj (46 J. Vassallo ), R. Moriscio , Z. Brincat, S. Akinbule.
Scorers: 18′ 53′ K. Tulimieri, 45′ J. Arthur (V), 88′ Akinbule (M).
Referee: E. Grech
Yellow Cards: J. Borg (V), S. Akinbule (M)
Man of the Match: K. Tulimieri (V)