Day 19: Valletta 1 Hamrun S. 1 Published on: 20-02-2011

Valletta share the spoils in a 1-1 result

Hamrun Spartans sprang a mini-surprise this evening as they held leaders Valletta to a one-all draw in their opening Championship Pool match at the National Stadium.

For the second time in two weeks, Dyson Falzon punished the club that loaned him to the Spartans last month as he struck a late goal to cancel out Jonathan Caruana’s early opener for the Citizens.

Valletta’s failure to gain maximum spoils will delight the chasing teams, especially Birkirkara, as the Citizens’ lead has been whittled down to six points.

The Whites couldn’t have aspired for a better start as they opened the scoring inside the opening two minutes.

Pouncing on a half-clearance by the Spartans’ defence, Edmond Agius delivered a cross into the box where the unmarked Jonathan Caruana headed over Omar Borg. The Spartans players claimed that Caruana was offside but the match officials saw things differently.

The early arrival of Valletta’s goal shook the Spartans but they threatened to level matters on seven minutes but Dene Shields fired over after the ball had been deflected into his path by Caruana as he tried to dispossess Peter Anizoba.

Central shots by Omonigho Temile and Kevin Sammut were easily saved by Borg while, at the other end, Valletta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg saved Massimo Grima’s free-kick on 26 minutes.

Despite seeing more of the ball, Valletta toiled to settle into their usual rhythm while the Spartans held firm but rarely posed any danger to their opponents.

Two minutes from half-time, Brazilian Andrade swapped passes with Sammut in the box but the latter miscued his shot.

Just before the end of the opening half, Valletta should have extended their lead when Terrence Scerri, running onto a long ball from defence, shrugged off Grima and turned past Dragan Milovic but his shot from an acute angle was pushed away by Borg.

The Hamrun goalkeeper was prominent again early in the second half when he tipped Caruana’s header over the bar after the Valletta defender rose highest to meet Sammut’s cross from a corner.

Valletta continued to enjoy more possession than their opponents but their disjointed efforts were easily controlled by the Spartans defenders.

Midway into the second half, Scerri headed wide from a corner by Sammut who, moments later, hit wide after being picked out by Roderick Briffa.

Sensing Valletta’s travails in attack, the Spartans raised their game in the final 15 minutes. The growing sense that the game was anything but finished when the Spartans levelled 11 minutes from time.

Dyson Falzon, who joined the Spartans on loan from Valletta last month, came back to haunt the Citizens when rifling a first-time volley past Hogg from Grima’s measured cross.

The Citizens looked stunned. Urgency became the order of the day for the leaders as they pushed for a winner. Scerri was denied a goal by Borg who beat away the Valletta striker’s header and his follow-on flick following a cross from Gilbert Agius.

Gilbert Agius, who switched to an attacking position after Hamrun’s equaliser, hit the crossbar with a rising shot.

Spartans midfielder Lee James Agius was denied by Hogg who fisted his long-range piledriver over the bar.

In the dying moments, Spartans captain Rupert Mangion saved the point when clearing Scerri’s header off the line.

Falzon was named BOV player of the match.

Source: Times of Malta

VALLETTA, A. Hogg, S. Borg, J. Caruana, I. Azzopardi, R. Briffa, O. Temile, G. Agius, E. Agius, K. Sammut (R. Fenech), T. Scerri, A. Antunes (I. Zammit).
HAMRUN, O. Borg, M. Grima (J. Vukanic), D. Camilleri, D. Milovic, R. Mangion, D. Shields, L. Agius, D. Falzon, N. Chipev, S. Bonnici (M.A. Bonnici), P. Anizoba (M. Mifsud).

BOV Premier 2010/11
Date: 20-02-11     Time: 16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 2' Jonathan Caruana

Yellow Cards: K. Sammut

Man of match:
Dyson Falzon (H)