BOV Premier League | St Andrews 0 – Valletta 1

A goal scored by Michael Mifsud deep inside the stoppage time kept Valletta in the race for the title as Danilo Doncic’s side had to work hard to overcome St Andrews.

Matteo Picciolo (Valletta) and Marcus Grima (St Andrews) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg
Matteo Picciolo (Valletta) and Marcus Grima (St Andrews) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg

Conscious that Balzan managed to beat Mosta, Valletta wanted to secure a win at all costs in order to keep believing that they can finish ahead of Balzan.

Doncic made two changes to the team that won against Hibernians. Jean Borg and Romeu Pericles Romao replaced Joseph Zerafa and Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre.

Michael Woods decided to make just one change to the team that was narrowly defeated by Sliema Wanderers. Matthew Gauci was replaced by Ricardo Martin.

Valletta started the match on the attack and threatened St Andrews after nine minutes. Romao delivered a cross from the left towards Matteo Picciolo whose shot took a deflection off a defender and went out for a corner.

The citizens created another chance on the 18th minute. Following a cross inside the penalty area, Albert Prosa saw his close range header being neutralised by Matthew Calleja Cremona.

The post denied Valletta from going ahead on the 31st minute. Miguel Angel Alba’s cross went into the direction of Picciolo whose effort hit the woodwork. From the rebound, Albert Prosa saw his header being cleared off the line. The ball went into the path of Ibrahim Raed Saleh who finished wide.

Piciollo was denied by the post again on the 42nd minute. The Italian midfielder sent a thumping shot from distance that hit the post. Rebound fell for Rowen Muscat who fired wide in-front of an open goal.

St Andrews hit the post as well a minute later. Tano Azian attempted to place the ball past Henry Bonello, but his shot hit the upright.

In the additional time given by the referee prior to half-time, Piciollo sent another shot from distance that ended up over.

Doncic’s side started the second half on the offensive and went close on the 51st minute. Substitute Michael Mifsud went inside the penalty area down the right side before hitting a low shot that was blocked by Calleja Cremona.

Picciolo threatened St Andrews once more on the 57th minute. The Valletta player fired a shot that went slightly over.

Calleja Cremona was on the alert a minute later to deny Valletta. Mifsud received the ball inside the penalty area and hit a first time shot that forced a good save from the Maltese goalkeeper.

St Andrews were denied by the post once more on the 68th minute. Kevaughn Atkinson’s shot from the right side of the penalty area hit the woodwork.

A minute later, Prosa received the ball inside the penalty area, but failed to hit the target from close range.

As time went by, St Andrews believed more in themselves and created another good opportunity on the 84th minute. Atkinson hit a powerful drive that was blocked by Henry Bonello.

In the additional time given by the referee, Kyrian Nwoko attempted a shot from inside penalty area, but his effort failed to hit the target.

However, Mifsud saved the day for Valletta deep inside the stoppage time. Following a long ball played inside the penalty area, the veteran striker finished past Calleja Cremona.

St Andrews starting line-up: Matthew Calleja Cremona, Adrian Borg, Misael Miranda Gomez, Joseph Farrugia, Jason Van Den Lannoite, Ricardo Martin, Tano Azian (Jacob Walker- 55), Kevaughn Atkinson (Dario Zampa – 90) Marcus Grima, Kemar Reid, Travis Blagrove

Valletta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciolo, Jean Borg, Raed Ibrahim Saleh (Michael Mifsud- 45), Rowen Muscat (Kyrian Nwoko- 64), Miguel Angel Alba, Romeu Pericles Romao (Juan Gill Cruz – 90), Albert Prosa

Referee: Fyodor Zammit

Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Mitchell Scerri

Fourth Official: Matthew Degabriele

Yellow Cards: Ricardo Martin (St Andrews), Kevaughn Atkinson (St Andrews)

BOV Player of the Match: Matthew Calleja Cremona (St Andrews)