BOV Premier League | Valletta 1 – Gżira United 1

Valletta lost two points that could be costly as they were held in a 1-1 draw by Gżira United.

Zachary Scerri (Gżira) and Roderick Briffa (Valletta) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg
Zachary Scerri (Gżira) and Roderick Briffa (Valletta) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg

Valletta came into this match with high hopes after registering a 1-0 win against leaders Hibernians in their last match. On the other hand, Gżira suffered a 3-1 defeat against Balzan.

Knowing that they have a chance to go momentarily top, Valletta started the game on the attack looking for a goal. In fact, Paul Zammit decided to play Luke Montebello and Michael Mifsud together in attack. Moreover, Roderick Briffa was given his first start following a long term injury.

On the 6th minute, Montebello hit a shot from the edge of the penalty area that went high.

The Maroons responded on the 13th minute. Andrew Cohen went inside the penalty area and sent a low shot that ended up centimetres off target.

Gżira’s supporters protested heavily for a penalty on the 20th minute when Cohen was brought down inside the penalty area by Jean Borg. However, the referee signalled play on and cautioned Cohen for dissent.

Valletta’s players immediately forgot this incident and went ahead on the 27th minute. Following a long ball inside the penalty area, Maximiliano Velasco served Montebello who finished home from close range.

Paul Zammit’s side had another great opportunity on the 31st minute. Valdo Congalves Alihno went past a defender and sent a dangerous cross inside the goal area which Velasco failed to make contact with.

The Maroons hit back and equalised on the 39th minute. Jacob Borg delivered a cross towards Gianmarco Conti who controlled the ball nicely and hit a powerful drive past Dziugas Bartkus.

On the 44th minute, Gżira were dangerous once more. Cohen sent a cross that was met by Moises Avila Perez whose effort went slightly high.

Valletta had an opportunity to regain the lead three minutes into the second half. Montebello fired a strong shot from distance that forced a good save from Anthony Curmi.

On the 54th minute, Mifsud also tried his luck from distance, but saw his effort going high.

As time went by, Valletta put more numbers forward in their attempts to regain the lead and nearly succeeded on the 70th minute. From a corner, Claudio Pani sent a cross towards Jonathan Caruana whose header went marginally off target.

Five minutes later, Leandro Aguirre of Valletta sent a strong shot from distance that was neutralised by Curmi.

Valletta were unlucky not to score the winning goal in the additional time. Romeu Romao fired a strong shot from distance that hit the post.

Valletta starting line-up: Dziugas Bartkus, Jonathan Caruana, Michael Mifsud, Roderick Briffa, Luke Montebello, Jean Borg, Claudio Pani, Leandro Aguirre, Maximiliano Velasco, Valdo Congalves Alihno, Romeu Romao

Gżira United starting line-up: Anthony Curmi, Jacob Borg, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Souleymane Diamoutene, Karl Pulo, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Andrew Cohen, Moises Avila Perez, Carlos Alejandro Reyna, Zachary Scerri, Gianmarco Conti

Referee: Matthew Degabriele

Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Thomas Debono

Additional Assistant Referees: Philip Farrugia, Etienne Mangion

Fourth Official: Paul Apap

BOV Player of the Match: Michael Mifsud (Valletta)