Day 13: Valletta 4 Sliema W 2
There was a sense of relief for Valletta as Sliema’s comeback fell short. Valletta were made to fight hard for the points by Sliema Wanderers in a lively contest.
The infinitely superior Valletta outfit translated their first hour superiority into four goals but the complexion of the game changed drastically after that the Lilywhites wilted under the pressure of Sliema.
Valletta surged ahead past the half hour. The free-running Priso dazzled with his pace and trickery as he outsmarted Muir and left himself almost no margin of error in getting the ball between the goalkeeper and the goalpost to strike from an angled position.
The no non-sense movement of Mifsud helped Sliema to enjoy a position spell, albeit a brief one that was. Nafti fashioned a shot that Zammit touched into the direction of Falcone who buried the ball behind the goalkeeper with an acrobatic finish just before half-time.
The second half was less than five minutes old when Sliema conceded a free-kick just outside the box, for a foul on Priso, danger loomed again for the Wanderers as it was in perfect Nafti territory and the Tunisian midfielder extracted a delightful right-foot shot that bent viciously away from Zammit’s despairing dive.
Nafti was in no mood of mercy and two minutes later, set up Falcone who freed himself of his immediate shadower before ramming home.
Nevertheless, Sliema tried to force a reaction and after 55 minutes, Nicky Vella push away a low drive by Ledesma, sending the ball into the path of Potezica who had the presence of mind to slot the ball into the net.
Second best for most of the match, the Wanderers eased their fraying nerves as Valletta lulled into a false sense of comfort. Sliema’s unflinching efforts yielded a penalty on 65 minutes when Ian Azzopardi was adjudged to have tripped Muir in the box. Azzopardi was sent for an early shower as Kerlon made no mistake from the spot to set up a nervy finale.
VALLETTA – N. Vella, I. Azzopardi, R. Camilleri, J. Gill Cruz, R. Briffa, N. Priso (U. Calistus), C. Pani (N. Pulis), J. Caruana, A. Nafti (J.P. Mifsud Triganza), R. Romao, F. Falcone.
SLIEMA W.- G. Zammit, B. Essel (K. Hendry), M. Mifsud, R. Ledesma (C. Gatt Baldacchino), A. Friggieri, M. Potezica, P. Xuereb, K. Souza, G. Muir, S. Biancardi, L. Dimech.
Scorers: 33′ N. Priso, 44′ 52′ F. Falcone, 51′ A. Nafti (V), 55′ M. Potezica, 67′ K. Souza (S).
Yellow Cards: G. Zammit, M. Potezica (S)
Red Card: I. Azzopardi (V)
Man of Match: A. Nafti
Referee: G. Tonna