Matchday 16: Valletta 0 Gzira U 2
On Sunday, Valletta fell victims to a superior Gżira United side who managed to show all their qualities to grab full points at the expense of a team trying to pick up the broken pieces after the thrashing they got against leader Ħamrun.
Gżira started brightly and took the lead on 22 minutes in the most atrocious circumstances for Valletta.
Maia headed straight at Henry Bonello from Jackson Mendoza’s corner but the Valletta goalkeeper hopelessly allowed the ball to squeeze through him and roll agonisingly over the line as he tried to recover.
Nikolai Muscat then struck the crossbar with a well-struck effort from the edge of the box as the ball bounced out of the goal to Valletta’s relief on 33 minutes.
This effort finally triggered an initially static Valletta, who had struggled with their passing and running off the ball, into life.
On 37 minutes, Valletta swept the ball across the Gżira defence to Matteo Piciollo who saw his shot take a deflection off Steve Borg and hit the bottom of the post.
But the Valletta defence was continuously on the rack and looked vulnerable more than once from corners.
Just before half-time, Ricardo Correa’s out-swinging corner was met with a glancing header by Sacha Borg and his effort sailed towards the far post with Neville Portelli arriving late to make contact with the ball.
At half-time, an already shaky Valletta defence lost Eslit Sala through injury as he was substituted by Ryan Camilleri.
Any remaining confidence in the Valletta defence drained away when Maxuell came raiding the Lilywhites’ box two minutes after restart. Jefferson sent a through-ball for the Brazilian midfielder who passed Leandro Aguirre on the left flank and fired past Bonello who managed only to fling out a hand in weak defiance.
Mendes clearly unimpressed with Valletta’ impotent performance, made two bold attacking changes 14 minutes into the second half, bringing on Alba and Mario Fontanella for Rowen Muscat and Dimech.
Valletta unsuccessfully pushed forward in an attempt to cut the deficit.
On 78 minutes, Kyrian Nwoko met Zerafa’s cross with a firm header but Curmi pushed the ball over the bar.
The Maroons finished the match down to 10 men after captain Steve Borg was sent-off for two bookable offences.
Source: times of malta
VALLETTA: H. Bonello, J. Caruana (R. Fenech), T. Caruana, S. Malano (N. Pulis), M. Piciollo, S. Dimech (M. Alba), K. Nwoko, J. Zerafa, E. Sala (R. Camilleri), R. Muscat ( M. Fontanella), L. Aguirre.
GZIRA U: A. Curmi, G. Bohrer, Steve Borg, N. Muscat, M. Davis, N. Portelli, Maxuell (B. Atajic), J. Mendoza, R. Correa, Sacha Borg, Jefferson (C. Borg).
Referee: M. Spiteri
Scorers: 22′ 46′ M. Maia da Silva (G)
Yellow cards: R. Muscat, E. Sala, T. Caruana (V), S. Borg (G)
Red Card: S. Borg (G)
BOV Player of the Match: M. Maia da Silva (G)