Day 15: Valletta 0 Marsaxlokk 0 Published on: 22-01-2011

Valletta held by Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk halted Valletta’s winning sequence when holding the runaway leaders to a goalless draw in a disappointing match at the National Stadium.

After a poor first half, Valletta created the better chances after the break but Marsaxlokk held firm to gain a precious point in their bid to qualify for the Championship.

With this draw, Valletta increased their lead to 13 points but Floriana and Tarxien Rainbows have the chance to trim the gap to 10 points if they win their matches against Qormi and Sliema Wanderers respectively.

The first half failed to live up to expectations as scoring opportunities were rare.

After just three minutes, Valletta defender Jonathan Caruana headed wide from Kevin Sammut’s cross.

Marsaxlokk had to wait until the 27th minute to create their first chance, Malcolm Licari heading wide from Martin Deanov’s corner.

Valletta failed to justify their tag as the strongest team in the Premier League in the opening period as they were a disjointed lot.

Close to the half-hour, Valletta showed a glimpse of their usual form when Sammut jinked his way through down the right and crossed for Terrence Scerri but the latter’s first-time volley was too
central to worry Reuben Gauci, the Marsaxlokk goalkeeper.

Showing commendable commitment and tactical discipline, Marsaxlokk took the game to Valletta in
the latter stages of the first half.

Florent Raimy was just wide with a low shot and Effiong’s drive was blocked by gthe diving Ian Azzopardi.

Late in the first half, Valletta should have put their noses ahead when Scerri’s perfect cross reached the unmarked Sammut at the far post but the latter miscued his effort in front of an open goal.

The second half was off to a brisk start as Valletta sought to raise their tempo. But, Marsaxlokk threatened to go ahead when, in a fast counter-attack, Deanov sent Effiong clear but the Nigerian’s hastened conclusion was easily saved by Andrew Hogg, the Valletta goalkeeper.

With 20 minutes left, Valletta’s Edmond Agius served Roderick Briffa whose long-range drive was blocked in two attempts by Gauci.

The Marsaxlokk goalkeeper also saved Denni’s dipping shot from a free-kick as Valletta continued to struggle to find their usual fluency.

Left-back Andrew Spiteri denied Valletta a breakthrough when, with seven minutes left, he blocked Denni’s goalbound effort and, just seconds later, he stopped the Brazilian’s close-range header.

Valletta dominated the closing stages as they pushed for the goal. Substitute Ian Zammit headed wide from Briffa’s cross.

In stoppage time, Marsaxlokk almost stunned Valletta with a last-gasp goal when Ryan Darmanin,
who had just replaced Effiong, pounced on Steve Borg’s poor throw-in but the on-loan Floriana forward curled his shot against the far post.

Roderick Briffa was voted BOV player of the match.

Source - Times of Malta

VALLETTA: A. Hogg, O. Temile (D. Falzon), K. Sammut (I. Zammit), E. Agius, I. Azzopardi, S. Borg, J. Pace (R. Dos Santos), D. Dos Santos, T. Scerri, R. Briffa, J. Caruana.

MARSAXLOKK. : R. Gauci, P. Pullicino, M. Licari, A. Spiteri, E. Yantchev, F. Raimy, G. Sciberras, R. Galabov, M. Deanov, T. Templeman (G. Caruana), A. Effiong (R. Darmanin)

BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 22-01-11     Time: 16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Yellow Cards: Omonigho Temile, Steve Borg

Man of match: R. Briffa (Valletta)

Referee: Clayton Pisani