Day 17: Valletta 1 Hamrun S. 1 Published on: 05-02-2011

Falzon denies Valletta victory

Hamrun ended a sequence of four consecutive defeats when they held runaway leaders to a 1-1 draw.

These two arch-rivals rolled back in the years when they used to dominate the local football scene as their clash brought over to the National Stadium one of the best turnouts this season.

After 12 minutes former Valletta midfielder Dyan Falzon hit the foot of the post from corner as Valletta left the near post unguarded.

The Valletta selection, featuring two forwards and Ryan Fenech - instructed to play on the left of a three-pronged attack - was meant to prey on supposed vulnerability for Hamrun’s defence but the Spartans allowed few openings in the first half and Omar Borg leapt brilliantly to claw out Denni’s free-kick in the 22nd minute and Grima recovered in time to block Scerri’s effort from the rebound.

Fenech’s participation
against his former club was cut short by injury on the half-hour mark as he limped out injured. He was substituted by skipper
Gilbert Agius who was fielded in a central position, presumably because Zerafa believed it essential to have him at the core of the play as Denni was switched to the left flank.

Goal scoring chances were at a premium in the opening half as the two teams toiled to establish a foothold.

It was not before five minutes after half-time that either side created a glimmer of a chance.

It came from Hamrun as Falzon cut in from the left but skewed his shot. Valletta replied four minutes later when Steve Borg escaped the attentions of Camilleri on the left flank and his cross found Scerri but the forward nodded straight into the hands of Borg and in the 57th minute, Valletta seized the lead. Roderick Briffa whose first attempt from the edge of the box was blocked by a defender but the ball came straight back to him and this time he beat the Hamrun keeper with a well-struck shot.

Galvanised by the lead, Valletta surged forward with renewed vigour.

Latching on to Briffa’s inviting pass, Denni accelerated into the box but dragged an angled shot wide after 63 minutes.

Two minutes later, Hamrun won a free-kick just outside the area but Grima’s low strike finished just wide.

In the 74th minute, Dene Shields chested down a long ball from Grima and the Scotsman
turned away from his marker, only to see his effort finish off the target but from their next foray, Hamrun leveled courtesy of Dyson Falzon who picked up the ball 25 metres from and crashed his way past two defenders before unleashing a fierce effort from an angle just outside the box that found
the top of Valletta’s net.

Yet, few moments later, Valletta had a great opportunity to put their nose ahead again when they were awarded a penalty for Steve Bonnici’s late challenge on substitute Temile. Scerri assumed responsibility for the penalty but his low drive was blocked by Borg.

Drawing confidence from Valletta’s penalty miss, Hamrun drove forward with intent. After 82 minutes, Valletta breathed a sigh of relief when Falzon’s thunderbolt soared tantalizingly towards goal but Hogg tipped the ball over the bar.

Valletta could have stolen it at the death when Temile’s cross from the right was met by the leaping Gilbert Agius but his header caressed the post.

Source: Times of Malta

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

HAMRUN S.: O. Borg, G. Spiteri, D. Falzon, R. Mangion, M. Grima, D. Shields (P. Anizoba), M. Pereira (D. Kokavessis), J. Vukanic, N. Chipev, D. Camilleri, S. Bonnici. 

BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 5-02-11     Time: 16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 57' R. Briffa

Yellow Cards: T. Scerri