Day 26 Valletta 2 Floriana 0 Published on: 31-03-2012

Valletta scored twice in the first half to see off rivals Floriana and move six points clear at the top of the table.

The derby, played in front of UEFA president Michel Platini, was virtually over as a contest after the first half as Valletta's superiority gave them a deserved two-goal cushion that they never looked like surrendering despite Floriana's attempts to get back in the game after the change of ends.

Victory for Valletta ensured that they will go into their top-of-the-table clash with Hibs next weekend as undisputed leaders, in the process increasing the pressure on Hibs who play Balzan Youths today.

Inside the opening minute, Ousseni Zongo twisted his way into the box from the right before passing to Denni whose close-range attempt was deflected away for a corner.

Valletta started confidently. Michael Mifsud soon brought a good save from Floriana goalkeeper Patrick Jansen who pushed away the Malta captain's strike.
Day 26: Valletta 2 Floriana 0

Floriana created their first opportunity after nine minutes. John Mintoff's cross from the left caught the City defence off guard as the ball fell to Woods who turned and fired a shot but Andrew Hogg, the Valletta goalkeeper, pushed his effort away.

The Citizens opened the scoring after 14 minutes. They were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the penalty box and William Barbosa produced a perfectly-flighted shot that soared into the top corner of the net, a fine strike reminiscent of the many superb goals Platini has scored from deadball situations.

Valletta threatened to double their lead when Roderick Briffa, pouncing on Malcom Licari's short clearance, passed to Mifsud whose first-time shot was pushed away by Jansen.

At the other end, Hogg palmed away Mintoff's corner and, minutes later, beat away Sodje's effort.

Valletta remained the sprightlier side though. Edmond Agius's grounder was blocked by Jansen while Zongo's low strike hit the base of the near post.

It was not long before the Citizens doubled their advantage. It came on

28 minutes when Zongo cut in from the right before slipping an excellent through-ball to Denni who took the ball past Jansen before prodding home from an acute angle.

Floriana looked shell-shocked. They had to wait until the 40th minute to produce a chance, Mano Micallef's dipping shot ending high and wide after Valletta had cleared a Pablo Doffo corner.

Before half-time, the champions had another chance to triple their lead but Mifsud's flick sailed straight towards Jansen after the striker had been sent clear by Denni.

The second half was off to a slow start with Valletta easily controlling Floriana's confused efforts to get back into contention.

Defender Eric Akoto shot against the side-netting from inside the six-yard box and, at the other end, Manuel Bartolo, who had replaced Jansen as part of a double substitution that also saw Andrew Grabowski come on for Ryan Darmanin, did well to stop Barbosa's shot.

Floriana did improve as the second half wore on with Sodje offering more of a threat when switching to a more central role in attack.

The Nigerian had an effort saved by Hogg and, minutes later, headed over from Mintoff's cross.

Twenty minutes from time, Doffo was high with a free-kick but it was Valletta who had the best chance to increase their advantage. Briffa ran forward before passing to Edmond Agius who sent the ball to Denni but the Brazilian's spinning effort was fractionally wide.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Hogg beat away Doffo's strong free-kick and Woods lifted the ball over from the rebound.

Denni curled wide after receiving from Barbosa before Floriana missed one last chance to revive their hopes when Grabowski hit wide from close in after being teed up by Woods.

Denni Dos Santos was named BOV player of the match.


VALLETTA - A. Hogg, D. Dos Santos, J. Caruana, I. Azzopardi, O. Zongo (G. Agius), S. Panandetiguiri,  W. Barbosa,  S. Borg, R. Briffa (R. Bajada), E. Agius, M. Mifsud (T. Scerri)

FLORIANA - P. Jansen (M. Bartolo), M. Micallef, I. Woods, P. Doffo, J. Borg, E. Akoto, M. Licari, T. Paris, R. Darmanin (A. Grabowski), J. Mintoff, O. Sodje.

BOV Premier League
Date: 31-03-12     Time: 15:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 13' William Barbosa, 27' Denni Dos Santos

Yellow Cards:  J. Mintoff, E. Agius, S. Borg, J. Borg, P. Doffo
Man of Match: Denni Dos Santos (V)

Referee: Clayton Pisani