Day 30 Valletta 3 Tarxien R 1 Published on: 21-04-2013

Valletta made the most of Birkirkara's failure to beat Mosta as the Citizens eased past Tarxien to revive their title challenge.

Until a few weeks ago, Valletta's title defence bid looked as good as over as they slipped to fourth place following three straight defeats but, with Birkirkara dropping four points in a week, the champions are now back in contention as today's win took them within three points of the Stripes and Hibs with two games remaining.

Two early goals paved the way for Valletta's win, their third in a row, as Tarxien were outplayed in the first half but improved after the change of ends.Valletta only took four minutes to open the scoring.

Ryan Fenech stole possession from David Fenech before whipping in a cross towards the far post where Brazilian Denni headed home.Four minutes later, Valletta thought they had doubled their lead when Dyson Falzon fired home amid a goalmouth scramble but the City winger was offside.

The game was 13 minutes old when Valletta moved 2-0 up, Abubakar Bello-Osagie hitting the back of the net with a diving header after meeting a fine cross from the overlapping Jason Lee Vandelannoite.

The Rainbows then created their first chance, defender Steve Bonnici heading over from Andrezinho's corner.Nine minutes from half-time, Valletta should have sealed the points when, in a fast counter-attack, Denni passed to Fenech who ran into the box before cutting the ball back for Bello-Osagie but the Nigerian's attempt was headed away for a corner by Ryan Sammut.

At the other end, Cini produced his first save when blocking Andrew Agius's header from an Andrezinho corner.In next to no time, Valletta created two quickfire chances but Nicholas Vella, the Tarxien goalkeeper, denied Denni and Bello-Osagie fired over.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Vandelannoite set up Edmond Agius but the Valletta midfielder's effort wass tipped away by Vella with Justin Grioli clearing off the line.Denni almost made it 3-0 but his strong shot from outside the area sailed past the near post.

The introduction of Leandro, a forward, strengthened Bueno Tarxien's attack but it was Valletta who came close to increasing their advantage when Fenech ran into the box from the right but his cross was kept out by Vella.

The Tarxien goalkeeper was prominent again when blocking Daniel Bogdanovic's lob after the latter, who had just replaced Falzon, was put through by Bello-Osagie.

Reprieved, Tarxien almost narrowed the deficit but Bueno's angled drive from inside the box was pushed away by Cini.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Vella again denied his former team when turning Denni's grounder around the post but Valletta added a third with 21 minutes remaining when Barbosa converted a penalty, given for a hands ball by Leandro.

Tarxien pulled one back 11 minutes from time thanks to Andrezinho who profited from a mistake by Luke Dimech.

Ryan Fenech, the Valletta midfielder, was voted BOV player of the match.


VALLETTA - Y. Cini, I. Azzopardi, J. Caruana, E. Agius, W. Barbosa, A. Bello Osagie (J. Gabriel), D. Falzon (D. Bogdanovic), L. Dimech, J. Vandelannoite, R. Fenech (R. Briffa), D. Dos Santos.

TARXIEN R. - N. Vella, J. Grioli, D. Mariano Bueno, C. Mamo, S. Bonnici (O. Anonam), M. Caruana, D. Fenech (R. Bajada), A. de Sousa Esposito, A. Agius, R. Sammut (L. Da Silva Almeida), T. Branislav

Date: 21-04-13     Time:  17:00    Venue: National Stadium

Yellow Cards: D. Mariano Bueno, J. Grioli, L. Da Silva Almeida.

Scorers: 4' D, Dos Santos, 14' A. Bello Osagie, 69' W. Barbosa, 78' A. Esposito Reinaldo de Souza

Man of Match: Ryan Fenech (V)

Referee: Adrian Azzopardi