Day 18: Valletta 1 Tarxien 1
Leaders Valletta dropped their first points after six consecutive wins as they were held to a one-all draw by Tarxien Rainbows.
Both goals were scored in the first half during which Tarxien Rainbows were the sprightlier side but Valletta improved after the break.
After going close through Luke Montebello, who shot high after his initial effort was blocked, Tarxien took the lead on 18 minutes.
Alex Alves Paixao, the most effective player, advanced through the middle as he ran past Diego Balbinot before firing past Nicky Vella who got a hand to the ball.
Valletta looked short of ideas as Tarxien threatened to add to their lead with Montebello lobbing high from inside the box.
Vella then stopped a central shot from Azzopardi but, 10 minutes from half-time, Valletta equalised. Jhonnattann played a perfect cross towards Federico Falcone who headed past Andrea Cassar.
Tarxien thought they had regained their lead when, six minutes into the second half, Paixao’s cross was turned in by Montebello but the latter was offside.
Vella needed two attempts to tame Azzopardi’s cross from a corner.
Like the first half, Valletta took a while to attain a modicum of fluency. A good interchange between Jhonnattann and Romeu Romao saw the latter dash into the box but his pass was blocked.
Minutes later, Ryan Camilleri teed up Roderick Briffa who swerved his shot wide from a good position as Valletta finally began to apply some pressure on Tarxien.
But the Rainbows’ attacking prowess was not to be underestimated.
Pedro was fractionally wide from outside the box and, moments later, Azzopardi’s cross, from a right-wing corner, was headed backward by Bruno but Cruz Gill cleared the ball off the line.
Valletta also had a great chance to take the lead when Falcone stooped to head Romau’s cross from the right but the Argentine’s effort landed wide of the post.
With 11 minutes left, Nafti supplied an excellent through-ball to Jhonnattann who ran past the on-rushing Cassar but his angled effort was blocked.
Alves Paixao, the Tarxien winger, was named BOV player of the match.
Source – Times of Malta
VALLETTA – N. Vella, J. Gill Cruz, R. Briffa, U. Calistus (J. P. Mifsud Triganza), J. Caruana, A. Nafti (J. Suda), R. Romao, F. Falcone, J. Benites, D. Balbinot (J. Borg), R. Camilleri.
TARXIEN R. – A. Cassar, E. Baker, B. De Oliviera, T. Tabone Desira, T. Caruana, L. Montebello, A. Azzopardi, C. Hevia Mendez, D. Zerafa, A. Da Paixao Alves, J. Oliviera Santos (L. Omeruo)
Scorers: 18′ A. Da Paixao Alves (T), 36′ F. Falcone (V)
Yellow Cards: C. Hevia, D. Zerafa, E. Baker (T), U. Calistus, J. Caruana, F. Falcone, R. Briffa, D. Balbinot (V)
Man of Match: A. Da Paixao Alves
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann