Day 18 Valletta 0 Sliema 0
Valletta and Sliema drew 0-0 in a drab encounter that produced the first stalemate of the weekend.
The game was preceded by a poignant moment as Valletta captain Ryan Fenech and goalkeeper Yenz Cini made their way into the section occupied by Valletta fans and placed a bouquet of flowers in memory of Clive Brincat ‘ Il-Ġojja’ an avid Valletta supporter who died last week in a traffic accident.
Sliema’s cautious tactics approach encouraged Valletta to take the initiative in the opening period. Fenech tested waters with a low drive that finished just off the target after 22 minutes.
Shy the half hour mark, Valletta were awarded a corner and Nafti’s inswigner eluded the Sliema defence but Henry Bonello, the Sliema goalkeeper, palmed away the ball that seemed destined to reach the net.
Cohesion was still missing from Valletta’s play as the Lilywhites continued to look rather disjointed in their attempts to carve open the Sliema defence.
Just before half-time Barry Hamza embarked on one of his trademark runs, gliding past Barbetti and Scerri as he raced into the box but his shot was well saved by Bonello.
Pouncing on a short clearance by the Valletta defence, after 55 minutes, Sliema’s Vladavic mustered a volley from outside the penalty area which sailed into Bonello’s hands. The Bosnia striker remained Sliema’s most dangerous man, who after 67 minutes, darted into the box only to see Marino going down to his right to block his effort.
As Valletta committed more men forward in search of the opener, they were finding more space in their opponents’ half. In the 78th minute, Fenech got on the end of a Nyang’s cross, to head the ball into the path of Denni who flashed in with a flying header that was just off the target.
This was the cue for Miller to throw caution to the wind, adding a fourth striker with the introduction of Ian Zammit in a hope to increase their fire-power. Valletta pressed forward with renewed verve and immediately pinned Sliema in their own half but they held on.
VALLETTA – P. Marino, E. Agius, H. Barry (I. Zammit), D. Dos Santos, A. Nafti (J.P. Mifsud Triganza), R. Fenech, J. Caruana, S. Bajada, R. Briffa, J. Vandelannoite (A. Corr Nyang), S. Borg.
SLIEMA W. – H. Bonello, A. Muscat, J. Mintoff, M. Scerri, A. Vladavic, S. Ohawuchi, C. Gatt Baldacchino, T. Cilia (J. Borg), M. Muchardi (A. Bello Osagie), P. Barbetti, S. Bianciardi.
Date: 12.01.14 Time: 14:00 Venue: National Stadium
Yellow Cards: R. Briffa, H. Barry, R. Fenech (V), M. Scerri, S. Bianciardi, P. Barbetti (S)
Man of Match: Adamir Vladavic (S)
Referee: Clayton Pisani