Day 14 Valletta 3 Pembroke 0
Valletta returned to winning ways by beating league bottom side Pembroke.
The champions went straight on the attack with Michael Mifsud going close to put his side 1-0 up with a powerful drive, inside the first seven minutes, from a somewhat tight angle, which Matthew Calleja Cremona repelled with his feet.
Three minutes later, it was Owen Bugeja who covered himself with glory as he was in the right spot to clear the danger after Jean Borg’s grounder hit the foot of the post.
Just shy the quarter of hour mark, Valletta drew deserved dividends. Federico Falcone was denied by another excellent save from Calleja Cremona. The loose ball squirmed into the path of Mifsud who could run forward to slot home.
Pembroke’s reaction was mild despite the lost opportunity by Shola Shodiya Haruna when he hit wide off the target from a central position. On 23 minutes, Valletta goalkeeper Dziugas Bartkus had to stretch himself to block Asani Djeljilj’s freekick.
Still, the enterprising kept coming from Valletta even if there was nothing spectacular about their football. Falcone squandered a golden opportunity on the half hour mark and then luck was not on Jhonnattann’s side as his flick over Calleja Cremona bounced off the bar.
At the start of the second half, Valletta pushed for a second goal to give the team some breathing space. A central cross by Leandro Aguirre arched towards the sprinting Mifsud who sped past Bugeja but his attempt on goal flew harmlessly wide off Calleja Cremona’s far post.
There was an element of lethargy about Valletta midway through the second half and Artim Shakjiri sensed the possibility of taking something home out of this match as he introduced Bernardo Mariano for Attard.
Zammit’s response was to throw Cremona in the fray. But the momentum shifted decisively fourteen minutes from time when Santiago Malano delivered an unstoppable freekick behind the hapless Calleja Cremona with the ball hitting both posts before hitting the net.
Pembroke’s blanket of defiance that served them well, conceded another freekick in bid to tame Mifsud nine minutes from time. Leandro Aguirre delivered another calibrated effort that beat over the Pembroke barrier and flew past Calleja Cremona.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – D. Barktus, R. Camilleri, R. Romao, J. Benites (R. Fenech), M. Mifsud (S. Dimech), S. Malano, J. Caruana, J. Borg (L. Cremona), L. Aguirre, F. Falcone, C. Pani.
PEMBROKE – Calleja Cremona, S. Eboh, A. Djeljilj, P. Barbetti, Z. Levniac, O. Bugeja (A. Borg), M. Attard (J. Mariano), U. Akuto, S. Arab, S. Sodija, A. Scozzese.
Scorers: 14′ M. Mifsud, 77′ S. Malano, 82′ L. Aguirre.
Yellow Cards: U. Akuta, A. Scozzese, J. Mariano (P)
Man of Match: M. Mifsud (V)
Referee: C. Pisani