Day 10: Valletta 2 Mosta 2
Valletta rescued a point in stoppage time after Njongo Priso converted a penalty to peg back Mosta who had gone 2-1 in front.
In a thrilling game, Mosta looked set for a shock victory after making the most of Federico Falcone’s sending-off late in the first half but Valletta came back in the final stages of the second half to save a point that keeps top of the table.
Mosta were the better team in the opening half but they went in for the break a goal down after Valletta scored from their only notable attack.
This came midway into the first half when Tunisian winger Abdelkarim Nafti advanced on the left before picking out Llywelyn Cremona who fired past Yenz Cini, the Mosta goalkeeper who was facing Valletta for the first time since he left his hometown club last summer.
Mosta might have levelled immediately. The Whites were found wanting at the back as Samuel Chukwide burst into the box before crossing towards the far post where James Brincat was unmarked but he mishit his effort. The ball sailed towards the other post where Chukwide again laid it back for Fidelis but his close-range header was blocked by Ryan Camilleri.
The Blues maintained the pressure, Ekani Rodriguez hitting wide from inside the box. Their optimism increased two minutes when Falcone was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Ice Cream Guobadia after the Nigerian had hauled down the Argentine striker outside the box.
At the start of the second half, Valletta coach Paul Zammit introduced Njongo Priso for Jurgen Suda but their cause became more complicated when Mosta equalised five minutes into the second half.
Priso’s foul on the advancing Ekani Rodriguez just in front of the Mosta bench yielded a free-kick for the Blues. Chukwide stepped up to take the free-kick and his looping drive sailed past the startled Bonello.
Mosta went ahead on the hour.
Murga, who had just missed an inviting chance after profiting from Bonello’s mistake, made amends moments later as he rifled home from inside the box after the Valletta goalkeeper had partially blocked a Fidelis effort.
A goal down, Valletta upped their pressure in the latter stages of the second half.
On the stroke of time, Valletta should have levelled but Juan Cruz Gill headed wide from Nafti’s free-kick while, at the other end, Dyson Falzon, a late substitute, chipped fractionally wide after latching on to James Brincat’s pass.
There was more drama as Valletta won a penalty after Mark Brincat, who had come on for Murga, tripped Mifsud Triganza in the box. Priso dispatched his shot past Cini to spark wild celebrations among the City fans.
Mosta midfielder Chukwide was named BOV player of the match.
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, C. Pani (R. Fenech), J. Cruz Gill, I. Azzopardi, A. Nafti, L. Cremona, R. Camilleri, F. Falcone, R. Romao, A. Bruce (J.P. Mifsud Triganza), J. Suda (N. Priso)
MOSTA- Y. Cini, T. Farrugia, M. Micallef, O. Guobodia, A. Borg, H. Yau, S. Fidelis (F. Bobby Abel), J. Ekani, E. Murga (M. Brincat), J. Brincat, S. Chuckwide (D. Falzon)
Scorers: 23′ L. Cremona, 93′ N. Priso (V), 49′ S. Chuckwide, 60′ E. Murga (M)
Yellow Cards: E. Murga, M. Micallef (M), I. Azzopardi (V)
Red Card: F. Falcone (V)
Man of Match: S. Chuckwise (M)
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann