Matchday 17: Valletta 1 Sirens 2
The arrival of Danilo Doncic as Valletta’s new coach failed to have an immediate impact on the team’s fortunes as they suffered a second successive defeat, losing 1-2 to Sirens on Sunday.
The Citizens managed to take an early lead but a brace by Vitor Vieira turned the score into Sirens’ favour who went on to claim three important points in the battle for a spot in the top-six. Sirens regain fifth place, two points behind Ħamrun Spartans and one ahead of Gżira United. Valletta, on the other hand, are now seventh with this being the fifth defeat in six matches.
Valletta had four changes from the team which lost to Gudja as goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone was back in goal after serving a one-match ban while Michele Sansone and Caio Prado, apart from the suspended Jean Borg, made way for Triston Caruana, Rowen Muscat, and new signing Luis Carlos Murillo.
Sirens, on the other hand, had one change from the team which lost to Sliema as Timothy Tabone Desira was preferred to Diego Albanese. Making his first appearance was Renato Neto who was included as a substitute.
The Citizens took the lead after just five minutes. Enmy Pena Beltre released Mario Fontanella on the right and off the latter’s assist, Ivan Curjuric beat Jonathan Debono with a fine shot ending in the top left corner.
However, seven minutes later, Sirens levelled matters. Marios Lomis took a short clearance by Ryan Camilleri and served Degran Jackson on the right and off the latter’s cross, Vieira flicked the ball home past goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone.
The St. Paul’s Bay side made it 2-1 on 23 minutes. Degran Jackson sent Vieira through on the left and with the goalkeeper rushing to the edge of the area to halt his run, the Brazilian striker anticipated Guarnone placing the ball at the back of the net.
On 37 minutes, a freekick by Lomis almost surprised Guarnone who could only save partially his attempt with Bogdan Gavrila hitting just wide off the rebound. Valletta replied with an Ivan Curjuric freekick which was parried by Debono two minutes later.
Sirens continued to have an edge over their opponents in the second half and on 53 minutes, Gavrila concluded a solo effort with a shot from outside the area which was turned into a corner by Guarnone. From the resulting corner by Gavrila, Henrique Motta headed just over the bar.
Five minutes later, Shaun Dimech entered the area from the left and served Haris Dilaver whose close-range effort was blocked by Albanese.
However, Sirens were unlucky not to extend the lead on 62 minutes when Jackson, served on the left by Vieira following a good run by Lomis, hit the crossbar.
Finally one minute from time, Ivan Curjuric tried his luck with a cross-shot from the left but the ball scraped past the post.
Source: Times of Malta
VALLETTA: A. Guarnone, R. Camilleri, T. Caruana, L. Murillo (58’ K. Tulimieri), H. Dilaver(77’ C. Prado), S. Dimech (70’ A. Zammit), E. Pena Beltre, I. Curjuric, R. Muscat (58’ C. Gauci), E. Sala, M. Fontanella.
SIRENS: J. Debono, H. Motta, M. Lomis (77’ A. Effiong), B. Gavrila (64’ R. Neto), A. Borg, T. Tabone Desira (46’ D. Albanese-6), C. Zammit Lonardelli, A. Cini, C. Riascos, D. Jackson, V. Vieira (86’ F Avoce).
Referee: M. De Gabriele
Scorers: 5′ I. Curjuric (V), 12′ 23′ V. Viera (S).
Yellow Cards: L. Murillo, E. Sala, C. Gauci, R. Camilleri, K. Tulimieri (V), D. Jackson, D. Albanese (S).
Man of the Match: I. Curjuric (V)