Matchday 07: Valletta 0 Gudja U 0
Despite having the control of game for all 90 minutes, Valletta failed to make their pressure count as they had to satisfy with a point after their goalless stalemate against Gudja United.
The Citizens created numerous goalscoring chances, but their lack of precision combined with some Glenn Zammit’s fine saves, they could not break the deadlock.
Gudja, on their part, were wary of their opponents’ threat and opted for a more defensive approach which at the end paid dividends as they remain fifth on 14 points, two ahead of Valletta.
The first 45 minutes saw Valletta dominating proceedings in search of the lead, even though the biggest opportunity dropped on Gudja United’s forward Gabriel Mensah which unfortunately for his side failed to convert into goal.
Jesmond Zerafa’s side made their intentions clear from the start as they were orientated towards attacking with the number of physical presences in the offensive third in the hope of breaking down Gudja.
However, Gudja’s defensive line remained compact, making it harder for the Lilywhites to find spaces in the channels, ending up relying on long-range efforts.
Gudja had an attempt through a Yuri Messias’ freekick that went wide before Valletta had a Santiago Malano shot sailing over the bar.
On the half-hour mark, Mensah squandered a glorious chance to put Gudja ahead when he received the ball inside the area just to fire it straight into Henry Bonello’s hands.
Just before half-time, Matteo Piciollo missed a flurry of quick chances when first he threatened Glenn Zammit with a low drive that was cleared into corner before seeing his effort glancing past the post from the resultant set-piece.
Immediately after the break, Valletta’s Malano attempted a header on goal with the ball finishing just wide.
Piciollo remained Valletta’s main weapon but could not break the deadlock, not even when he progressed half pitch with the ball before firing a shot from just outside the area where he completely missed the target.
The Citizens continued to find it hard to break down Gudja, with Rowen Muscat hitting a first timer from the edge of the area, with the same outcome like their previous efforts.
Another effort, another block by goalkeeper Zammit who this time denied Jonathan Caruana’s headed attempt from close-range. Ten minutes from time, youngster Eslit Sala also tried his luck with a header but Zammit kept him at bay.
Substitute Kyrian Nwoko came close to break the deadlock with a thumping volley from the edge of the area but the ball went inches wide of Zammit’s goal.
Late efforts from Mario Fontanella and Piciollo were not enough for Valletta to overcome Gudja as the latter’s resilience paid dividends to snatch a point from such an important encounter.
VALLETTA: H. Bonello, J. Caruana, T. Caruana, S. Malano, M. Piciollo, S. Dimech (T. Marukawa) E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa. E. Sala, R. Muscat (K. Nwoko), M. Fontanella.
GUDJA U: G. Zammit, J. Farrugia, Y. Messias, A. Friggieri (L. Pisani), L. Cremona, G. Mensah, A. Caseres (T. Gusman), G. Adamovic ( N. Micallef), J. Bolanos, J. Grioli, P. Silva.
Referee: P. Farrugia
Yellow Cards: J. Grioli, T. Gusman (G), S. Malano (V).
BOV Player of the Match: M. Piciollo (V)