Late Hamrun equaliser forces championship decider between Valletta and Hibs

Valletta and Hibernians will play against each other in a match that will determine who will win the BOV Premier League after Hamrun scored a dramatic equaliser against the team from the capital

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Valletta were forced into a decider for the Premier League title against Hibernians after the team from the capital suffered a late equaliser from a spirited Hamrun side.

Valletta came into this match looking to retain the BOV Premier League. However, they were up against a lively Hamrun side that has experienced a positive season.

But the Spartans also needed points in order to finish fourth and have a chance to clinch a spot in the Europa League.

The match was characterised by the large number of supporters of both sides who went to support their respective teams. In fact, an attendance of 5,593 was registered at the National Stadium in Ta' Qali.

Valletta were the better side during the first half as they managed to control possession. They were careful at the back and managed to keep Hamrun at bay.

The city players created the first opportunity of the match after 15 minutes. Santiago Malano played the ball towards Mario Fontanella whose effort from the left was blocked by Manuel Bartolo.

Bartolo had to be alert again to deny Fontanella from the resulting corner. Miguel Angel Alba’s delivery went into the path of the Italian who saw his shot from inside the penalty area being blocked by Hamrun’s custodian.

As time went, Valletta grew more in the game and managed to break the deadlock on the half hour mark. Following a horrific mistake by Andre` Charles Scicluna, Fontanella took hold of the ball and fired a thumping shot that gave Bartolo no chance.

Hamrun hit back on the brink of half time. Kevin Tulimieri’s overhead kick went in the path of Wilfried Domoraud whose half volley ended up on the roof of the net.

The tempo of the match was slow during the second half as Alan Mario Sant had to stop play during a number of occasions.. Hamrun saw more of the ball, but were unable to threaten Valletta. However, the Spartans managed to capitalise on their only chance created during the second half.

Valletta ended with 10 men two minutes from time. Substitute Ibrahim Saleh was shown two yellow cards in less than 60 seconds.

Hamrun made the best out of their extra man and got the point they needed on the 93rd minute. Triston Caruana’s long ball forward went into the path of Moukanza who slotted the ball past Bonello from close range.

Following this result, Hamrun placed fourth and will clinch a place in the Europa League if Valletta, Hibernians or Gzira United win the FA Trophy.

Hamrun Spartans starting line-up: Emmanuel Bartolo, Enrico Pepe, Triston Caruana, Sebastian Nayar (Conor Borg-55), Wilfried Domoraud, Andre` Charles Scicluna (Matthew Robert Gauci-55), Karl Micallef, Donneil Alain Moukanza, Orestis Nikolopoulos, Caetano Calil, Kevin Tulimieri (Ryan Darmanin-75)

Valletta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Kyrian Nwoko (Bojan Kaljevic-85), Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Rowen Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba (Ibrahim Saleh-68), Mario Fontanella

Referee: Alan Mario Sant

Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Paul Apap

Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit

BOV Player of the Match: Mario Fontanella (Valletta)

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