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Valletta beat Balzan to get back to winning ways

Valletta striker Oke Akpoveta (centre) looks for an opening against Balzan. Photo: Dominic Borg

BALZAN           1

Ljubomirac 36

VALLETTA       3

Bevis 13; Akpoveta 65; Dimech 90


J. Debono-6, S. Arab-6 (79 B. Hili), M. Grima-6 (A. Nogueira), P. Fenech-6, A. Torres-6, U. Ljubomirac-6.5 (75 L. Mallia), M. Zlatkovic-6, A. Satariano-6.5 (60 A. Bradshaw), N. Braunovic-5.5, M. Raso-6, B. Kaljevic-6.


A. Guarnone-7, J. Borg-6, R. Camilleri-6, O. Akpoveta-7 (80 F. Cheveresan), C. Gauci-6 (52 S. Dimech), E. Pena Beltre-6, B. Kamdem-6, B. Paiber-7 (67 T. Caruana), E. Sala-6, J. Willy-6, K. Bevis-7.

Referee Andrea Sciriha.

Yellow cards Zlatkovic, Sala, Torres, Satariano, Braunovic, Raso, Bradley, Paiber.

BOV Player of the match Oke Akpoveta (Valletta FC).

Valletta ended a poor run of results when they had the better of Balzan at the Centenary Stadium.

It was a vital victory for the Citizens who were coming from a dire run of five matches without a win and no doubt will inject some much-needed confidence in Thane Micallef’s squad.

Valletta started brightly and after five minutes Brandon Paiber’s inswinger was somehow kept out by Balzan goalkeeper Jonathan Debono.

Balzan responded three minutes later when Milos Zlatkovic served Bojan Kaljevic and the Montenegrin forward fired wide.

On ten minutes Satariano came close but his effort flew over.

However, it was Valletta who took the lead on 13 minutes. Oke Akpoveta picked Kilian Bevis inside the area and the Valletta forward headed the ball home.

Balzan almost equalised on 21 minutes when the City defence failed to clear the ball in a melee inside the box but Satariano fired wide.

On 23 minutes, Paiber’s delivery from a corner was met by Akpoveta but Paul Fenech came to his side’s rescue when he cleared the ball off the line.

But from here on, Balzan stepped up the pressure and managed to draw level ten minutes from the break. Angel Torres sent a low pass towards Uros Ljubomirac who hit past Alessandro Guarnone.

Three minutes from the break, Guarnone had to be alert to deny Satariano.

The Malta striker was close again a minute later when this time his shot was stopped by Guarnone with the aid of the upright.

Early in the second half, Valletta almost restored their lead when Akpoveta was denied by the onrushing Debono.

Just past the hour mark, Bojan Kaljevic hit a low drive that was pushed away by Guarnone, the ball fell into the path of Ljubomirac who, however, fired just wide.

But it was Valletta who took the lead on 65 minutes when from a Paiber delivery from a corner, Akpoveta headed past Debono.

Valletta sealed the points in stoppage time when they were awarded a central free-kick and Shaun Dimech’s inswinger gave no chance to Debono.

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