Day 2 Valletta 1 Senglea A 0
Valletta maintained their perfect start to the season as an opportunistic goal from Michael Mifsud earned them a 1-0 win over Senglea Athletic. Although the Citizens picked up all spoils with the smallest of margins they still were worth the three points as they dominated the match right from the outset, giving Senglea little opportunity to threaten Henry Bonello’s goal.
The only concern for the Citizens is their failure of turning their scoring opportunities into goals but surely they are slowing getting into their groove and coach Zoran Popovic will be hopeful of recovering more players after the international break to step up their title charge.
Popovic had more options available from their win over Mosta last week as Ryan Camilleri, Joseph Zerafa and Uchenna Umeh were both restored to the starting formation at the expense of Jean Borg, Denni and Claudio Pani, the latter serving a one-match ban.
Senglea, on their part, handed a first start to new signing Miguel Escobar but otherwise Steve D’Amato retained the same players that shone in the 2-2 draw against Sliema last week.
As expected it was Valletta who made all the early running but for all their possession they struggled to create any danger to the Senglea goal.
The Citizens had their first attempt at goal on 21 minutes when Zerafa hit a firm low drive that was well blocked by Timmy Aquilina.
Senglea continued to soak up the pressure and try to hit their opponents with quick breaks but with little success.
On 26 minutes Romeo Romao sped into the Senglea area and chipped the ball towards Nikola Asceric whose downward header was blocked by Aquilina.
Valletta finally got the breakthrough on 33 minutes when Zerafa picked Mifsud inside the area and the nippy striker beat Aquilina with an audacious back-heel.
Just before half-time Romao threatened again but his effort flashed just wide.
Valletta should have doubled their lead a minute into the second half when Asceric was upended in the area by Antonio Terracciano but from the spot the Serbian fired wide.
Aquilina denied Valletta from extending their lead on 50 minutes when he pushed away Malano’s inswinger.
On 68 minutes, Denni threatened when his stinging drive just missed the upright.
Five minutes later, Aquilina again denied Malano from a free-kick with Cruz Gill first on the rebound but the Brazilian fired wide.
Source – timesofmalta.com, Photo credits timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, S. Borg, R. Camilleri, J. Cruz Gill, S. Malano, M. Mifsud (J. Borg), U. Calistus, J. Zerafa, R. Saleh, R. Romao (D. Dos Santos), N. Asceric (K. Nwoko).
SENGLEA A. – T. Aquilina, J. Bondin, I, Azzopardi, A. Terracciano, M. Garcia, T, Vella, M. Escobar (P. Sammut), N. Palmier, B. Muscat (H. Vella), S. Bonnici, I. Paz (A. Caseres).
Scorers: 33′ M. Mifsud (V)
Yellow Cards: J. Cruz Gill, J. Zerafa (V), M. Garcia (S).
Man of Match: M. Mifsud (V)
Referee: M. Apap