BOV Premier League | Valletta 1 – Birkirkara 0

In a match between two sides needing points to keep their hopes of a title challenge alive, Valletta managed to secure a 1-0 win over Birkirkara.

Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara) and Tomas Radzinvicius (Valletta) challenging each other for the ball. Photo: Dominic Borg
Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara) and Tomas Radzinvicius (Valletta) challenging each other for the ball. Photo: Dominic Borg

Birkirkara created the first opportunity of the match after five minutes. From a free kick, Srdan Dimitrov fired a shot that found Dziugas Barktus on the alert.

Valletta responded on the 13th minute. From a free kick, Umeh Uchenna Calistus served Santiago Santiago Malano whose header was well saved by Henry Bonello.

The citizens went ahead on the 27th minute. Malano anticipated Birkirkara’s defenders and hit a low shot past Bonello.

Birkirkara lost a golden opportunity to equalise on the 40th minute. Vito Plut went past his marker on the right side before delivering the ball towards the unmarked Matthew Guillaumier who finished wide from close range.

In the additional time given by the referee prior to half time, Birkirkara lost another great opportunity. Gonzalo Malan went through on goal and sent a shot that hit the side netting. Many Birkirkara players protested for a goal kick as they argued that Barktus had tipped the ball; however, Malcolm Spiteri pointed for a goal kick and whistled the end of the first half.

The Stripes pushed for an equaliser and lost another chance on the 47th minute. Dimitrov managed to put Plut through on goal, but the Birkirkara forward thought that he was in an offside position and remained static.

Valletta responded on the 51st minute. Romeu Pericles Romao served Malano and the latter finished off target.

Paul Zammit’s side were close to double the score on the 55th minute. Calistus went on a good run inside the penalty area before sending a shot that sailed wide of the post.

Calistus lost another golden chance for Valletta on the 73rd minute. Malano sent a dangerous cross inside the penalty area towards the Nigerian who fired high.

Dimitrov nearly equalised for Birkirkara on the 84th minute. The Serbian footballer hit a shot from the edge of the penalty area that hit the post.

Valletta starting line-up: Dziugas Barktus, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Tomas Radzinevicius, Llwelyn Cremona, Claudio Pani, Umeh Uchenna Calistus, Leandro Aguirre, Romeu Pericles Romao.

Birkirkara starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Christian Bubalovic, Gareth Sciberras, Matthew Guillaumier, Mislav Andelkovic, Srdan Dimitrov, Gonzalo Malan, Vito Plut, Nikola Vukanac, Cain Attard, Gary Muir.

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri

Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Chris Azzopardi

Additional Assistant Referees: Philip Farrugia, Eman Grech

Fourth Official: Peter Abela

BOV Player of the match: Santiago Malano (Valletta)

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