Day 8 Valletta 2 Floriana 0 Published on: 20-10-2012
Valletta consolidated their position at the top with a 2-0 win over rivals Floriana in today's derby.
Goals by Michael Mifsud and Gabriel handed Valletta a merited win, their seventh in eight games, as Floriana, playing their first game under new coach Stephen Azzopardi, were outplayed for long spells.
Azzopardi gave a debut to the club's new signings, goalkeeper Tony Warner and former Everton striker Francis Jeffers.
Less than two minutes from the initial whistle had elapsed when Valletta created their first chance. Michael Mifsud drifted to the right before releasing Denni who swept past his marker but his shot was high and wide.
Jeffers endured a rough introduction to Maltese football as, in the opening minutes, he was shown a yellow card for firing a shot at goal after the referee had stopped play for offside.
The champions continued to dictate matters. Shaun Bajada was wide with a swerving effort after the Malta midfielder had been teed by Denni's short corner. This came after 14 minutes. Moments later, Bajada was at it again, this time with a shotfrom the edge of the box which ended high.
The Valletta monologue continued. Another prolonged City attack saw Steve Borg laying the ball back for Gabriel but the Brazilian sent his shot over the bar. Mifsud did the same on 21 minutes after Valletta's attacking trio continued to torment the Floriana defenders.
The Greens failed to produce a single scoring chance in the first half-hour.
Defender Jonathan Caruana nearly put Valletta ahead when he reacted first to Bajada's corner but his near-post attempt was pushed away by Warner.
Valletta deservedly forged ahead on 31 minutes. Running on to a great pass from William Barbosa, Mifsud outpaced Farrugia and drilled a low shot past Warner.
Mifsud threatened again when, having received a pass from the dynamic Gabriel, he mustered a powerful grounder that rolled just wide of the near post.
At the start of the second half, Azzopardi brought on Sundauy Wasiu for the ineffective Valdo Alhinho and switched to 4-4-2.
Six minutes into the second half, Briffa exchanged passes with Denni before aiming a cross towards Bajada who failed to get enough power behind his header.
Close to the hour mark, Valletta came close to doubling their lead. Barbosa picked out Mifsud in the area but the latter's grounder hit the base of the post.
Barbosa was wide with a long-range effort and Denni went closer with a low shot that skimmed the far post.
The incoming Ryan Darmanin turned well outside the box but his shot was palmed away by the erstwhile untested Manuel Bartolo.
The lanky Floriana striker then hit wide after receiving from Aman Verma but, 12 minutes from time, Valletta wrapped up the three points.
Brazilian midfielder Gabriel produced a stunning drive that soared above the stunned Warner and into the far corner of the net.,
The Floriana goalkeeper then required two attempts to block Leandro's shot.
At the other end, Bartolo saved Cilia's central effort. The Valletta goalkeeper prevented Floriana from reviving their hopes with a smart save from Varma after the Citizens had failed to clear Cilia's left-wing corner.
Michael Mifsud was named BOV player of the match.
VALLETTA - M. Bartolo, S. Borg, J. Caruana, J. Gabriel Da Silva (I. Zammit), R. Briffa, R. Barreto Da Rocha Filho (L. Da Silva Almeida), M. Mifsud, K. Magro, D. Dos Santos, S. Bajada, W. Barbosa.
FLORIANA - T. Warner, O. Bugeja, T. Paris, T. Cilia, A. Verma, V. Alhino (S. Wasiu), F. Jeffers (C. Tremarco), K. Farrugia, D. Pisani, T. Farrugia, C. Borg (R. Darmanin).
Date: 20-10-12 Time: 17.00 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 31' Michael Mifsud, 78' Jao Gabriel Da Silva
Yellow Cards: F. Jeffers (F), M. Mifsud (V)
Man of Match: Michael Mifsud (V)
Referee: Aleksandars Anufrijves (Lithuania)