Day 18 Valletta 1 Gzira 0
Although Valletta’s display was far from convincing this evening at the Hibernians Stadium, Luke Montebello struck a stunning goal to allow the champions to return to winning ways after three games.
Gzira left the pitch with their heads held high as for the umpteenth time this season, they showed that with the tactical discipline and team spirit, they can do well in the top division.
In the 6th minute, shouts of ‘penalty’ emanated from the Gzira section when Ige Abdullahi Adeshina fell to the ground after being challenged by Leandro Aguirre but referee Eman Grech was unmoved.
Valletta’s inability to impose their superiority encouraged Bzira to take the initiative which they duly did. Juan Corbalan’s looping free-kick from the distance sailed just wide of the post.
The Champions’ disappointment was exacerbated by their bad luck after 38 minutes as a bold drive from Rowen Muscat crashed against the post.
On the other end, Diamoutene’s header from Monti’s pinpointed corner spread panic across the Valletta defence but Ryan Camilleri cleared into a corner.
Zammit must have had a go at his players at half-time as Valletta not only lacked their usual flair but they were also devoid of fighting spirit in that opening period.
Not so can be said of the tenacious Gzira who early in the second half, issued another reminder of their attacking threat as Diamoutene’s looping header from Monti’s exquisite chip, finished just over the bar.
But their momentum was jolted on 57 minutes when a great ball by Malano found Montebello through, who after an exquisite piece of control, which left Andre White grounded, shot low behind Mauro Boerchio.
After that gem of a goal, Valletta defenders repeatedly restored to fouls in a bid to tame Zome and co., conceding a number of free-kicks in key arears but never looked in danger of losing their lead, however slender it was.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – D. Barktus, R. Camilleri, S. Borg, J. Benites, R. Romao, J. Caruana (S. Malano), L. Aguirre, U. Calistus, L. Montebello (L. Cremona), R. Muscat, C. Pani (J. Borg)
GZIRA –M. Boerchio, A. White, S. Diamoutene, Z. Scerri, G. Conti (K. Pulo), J. Borg (S. Grixti), J. Bondin, L. Zome, J. Carlos Corbalan, M. Avila Perez, I. Abdullahi Adeshina (E. Amaira)
Scorers: 57′ L. Montebello (V)
Yellow Cards: L. Aguirre, R. Romao (V) S. Diamoutene (G)
Man of Match: R. Muscat (V)
Referee: E. Grech