Day 10 Valletta 0 St Andrews 0
St Andrews put up a plucky display mingled with some intelligent rearguard action to frustrate their more-quoted opponents Valletta and keep them at an arm’s length.
The first danger stemmed from the right wing, when Alhinho sidestepped his marker and laid the ball to Santiago Malano. From the latter’s through-pass, Mifsud had time and space but hit the ball over the bar.
On the other side, after 11 minutes, Ivan Paz was on the end of an Enmy Beltre pass but his first-time effort was well saved by Dziugas Bartkus, the Valletta goalkeeper.
There was a good chance for Valletta on 22 minutes when Steve Borg’s miscued first-timer skewed the ball towards the left and into the path of Jhonnattan who shot straight at St. Andrews goalkeeper Jake Galea.
Scoring opportunities were now coming thick and fast. Claudio Pani strode through the middle before hitting slightly over.
The Lilywhites’ pressure was kept up but the goal still eluded them until the half-time whistle, with the Saints’ rearguard still blocking stubbornly.
Pani had an effort early in the second half which went off target. On 50 minutes, Falcone’s header was just wide after he got on to the end of Pani’s free-kick.
Valletta still raged forward in search of goal with Mifsud streaking through to test Galea to the limit. Shy the hour mark, Pani’s speculative chip from outside the box failed to surprise Galea who punched the ball away.
St Andrews, ably marshalled by Karlo Kesinovic and Bong Won Che, were still closing the gaps intelligently, at the same time keeping on the lookout for a possible break. This came midway through the second period, when Pani scythed down Godwin Mackay to end the Saints’ venture inside the Valletta box. From the ensuing free-kick, Paz shot into the wall.
A swinging free-kick by Pena Beltre was met by Ziga Kastrevec, whose header was cleared away by the Valletta rearguard.
Four minutes from time, Mifsud’s ball went to Falcone close to the edge of the area. The Argentine striker had enough space to fire a venomous shot which was deflected into a corner.
On the stroke of time, Galea expertly blocked Jhonnattan’s effort. Valletta left the field disappointed as St Andrews were all smiles for denying them victory.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – D. Barktus, S. Borg, R. Camilleri, J. Benites, M. Mifsud, J. Caruana, F. Falcone, C. Pani, V. Alhinho, S. Malano (L. Cremona), L. Aguirre.
ST ANDREWS – J. Galea, M. Johnson, K. Kesinovic, B. Won Che, E. Beltre, F. Udoh, D. Camilleri (R. Darmanin), J. Farrugia, G. Mackay (N. Belacevic), I. Paz (K. Nwoko), Z. Kastrevec.
Yellow Cards: P. Beltre, U. Okon, J. Farrugia, Z. Kastrevec, K. Kesinovic (S), F. Falcone, C. Pani (V)
Man of Match: B. Won Che (S)
Referee: Esther Azzopardi.