Day 16: Valletta 4 Sliema W. 1 Published on: 29-01-2011

Fenech show inspires Citizens to another win

Ryan Fenech enjoyed an excellent debut with Valletta as the Malta midfielder
inspired the leaders to a 4-1 rout of Sliema Wanderers at the National Stadium.

The former Hamrun stalwart scored twice as Valletta bounced back from their 0-0 draw with Marsaxlokk with a convincing performance to consolidate their position at the top.

Sliema tried hard to make a contest of it in a bid to keep their Championship Pool bid on track but they were outshone by the Citizens. The Wanderers’ cause was not helped by the sending-off of Brazilian Jackson Lima on the hour.

Sliema should have opened the scoring after just three minutes when Chakib Lachkhem moved past Ramon before swinging over an fine cross from the right but the unmarked Clayton Failla headed

Relieved at Failla’s miss, Valletta regained the initiative. They forged ahead after 11 minutes when newly-signed Valletta midfielder Ryan Fenech ran clear on the right before delivering an excellent
cross that was headed home by Terrence Scerri, Valletta’s stand-in captain yesterday.

Valletta remained the better side but Sliema battled on. Midway into the first half, Fenech looked to have injured his back after falling awkwardly following a robust tackle by Mark Scerri.

Much to Valletta’s relief, Fenech rejoined the fray after being seen to by the club’s medics. And he
soon made his presence felt by doubling Valletta’s lead with a fierce far-post drive from Roderick Briffa’s cross.

Scerri had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside and, at the other end, Lachkhem’s effort caused confusion in the City defence as Obinna Obiefule stretched to flick the ball against the post but the Nigerian was deemed to have been offside.

The Wanderers gained a boost on the stroke of half-time when Valletta left-back penalised for pushing Lachkhem inside the box. Referee Kevin Azzopardi pointed to the spot and Jackson Lima sent a powerful drive past the diving Andrew Hogg.

Sliema’s goal should have lifted their confidence but Valletta stormed into their opponents as the second half got underway.

The Citizens should have regained their two-goal lead when Denni, running onto a long pass,
sped through the Sliema defence but his firm drive sailed inched wide.

It was all Valletta now. Briffa passed the ball to Denni but the Brazilian scuffed his shot. Edmond
Agius was also off target with a diagonal drive but Sliema suffered a blow when, on the hour mark, Jackson Lima was sent off after incurring two bookings in a matter of seconds for acts of petulance.

Valletta took immediate advantage as, barely three minutes later, Fenech made it 3-1 with a swirling drive that went in via the far post.

The Citizens remained on top but Sliema refused to lie down. They made a commendable effort to cause their opponents problems on the counter.

On one occasion, Lachkhem was denied by Hogg after Sliema had launched a breakaway.

The incoming Gilbert Agius almost made an instant mark on the game as he was first to Fenech’s measured cross but his header was pushed away by Szentpeteri.

Valletta had the ball in the net 14 minutes from time but Denni’s header was ruled out for offside.

In the dying stages, Szentpeteri made a fine save to push away Gilbert Agius’s screamer but,
minutes later, Sliema’s Hungarian goalkeeper was beaten for the fourth time by Scerri’s sizzling shot.

Ryan Fenech was named BOV player of the match.

Source: Times of Malta

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

SLIEMA W. : V. Szentpeteri, J. Mifsud, S. Bezzina (N. Turner), M. Scerri, C. Gatt Baldacchino, J. Lima, O. Obiefule, C. Lachkhem, R. Bajada (M. Ciantar), B. Muscat, C. Failla (J. Mifsud Triganza).

BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 29-01-11     Time: 16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 11', 92' T. Scerri, 30', 64' R. Fenech

Yellow Cards: R. Briffa

Man of match: R. Fenech (Valletta)