Day 7 Valletta 1 Pieta 2
After losing five of their first six matches, Pietà Hotspurs bounced back in style as they registered their first, turning defeat into victory to beat champions Valletta 2-1. A win which enables the Hotspurs to leapfrog Zebbug and Naxxar, moving third from bottom.
For the Citizens, this was a highly disappointing result after two fine wins over Sliema and Qormi in thir last two outings. They lie eight points behind leaders HIbernians wo however have a game in hand.
Valletta coach Gilbert Agius named Hamza Barry and Luke Montebello in the starting line-up as they lacked Hugo Faria and Lateef Elford-Alliyu. Jonathan Caruana and Steve Borg were still ruled out injured. Cain Attard, Orosco Anonam and Gabriel da Silva were left out of the starting line-up for Pietà as coach Noel Coleiro included Cleaven Cassar, Terence Agius and Nikola Tasic.
The Hotspurs went close with a cross by Claudio Frances on the 6th mintue from which Rafael Xavier’s header was cleared off the goal line by Luke Dimech. Roderick Briffa tried his luck with a powerful drive from outside the area and on the 32nd minute, a corner by Ryan Fenech almost surprised goalkeeper David Cassar who held the ball on the goal line.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, off a cross by Roderick Briffa, there was an overhead kick by Alex Terra and Luke Montebello headed just wide.
The Citizens forged ahead on the hour thanks to a Hamza Barry whose powerful shot gave the Pietà goalkeeper no chance following a cross by Llywelyn Cremona.
Two minutes later, Raphael Kooh Sohna almost doubled the score with a close-range header following a cross from the right but Cassar saved in two attempts.
However on the 68th minute, Pietà levelled matters thanks to substitute Joao Gabriel da Silva who managed to slot the ball past goalkeeper Nicky Vella when served inside the area.
David Cassar came to the rescue, turning into a corner a fine Luke Dimech effort on the 81st minute. Seven minutes later, Rafael Xavier was unlucky to hit the woodwork for Pietà.
Pietà notched the winner on the 90th when Rafael Xavier advanced on the left, anticipating Nicky Vella with a perfect lob before placing the ball inside the empty net.
VALLETTA – N. Vella, I. Azzopardi (S. Bajada), L. Dimech, R. Fenech, A. Terra, L. Cremona, L. Montebello (A. Nafti), R. Camilleri, R. Briffa , A. Zahra (R. Kooh Sohna),
PIETA – D. Cassar, C. Cassar (L. Micallef), C. Grech, L. Fortunato Dos Santos, J. Pisani, R. Rodrigues Da Silva, N. Tasic (J. Gabriel Da Silva), K. Cesare (C. Attard), T. Agius, F. Claudio Daniel, R. Xavier Zacaris.
Date: 02.10.14 Time: 20:00 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 60′ H. Barry (V), 68′ G. Da Silva (P), 90′ R. Xavier (P)
Yellow Cards: N. Tasic, K. Cesare, R. Xavier (P), H. Barry (V)
Man of Match: Hamza Barry (V)
Referee: Philip Farrugia