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A very keen game played at a very fast pace and was watched by a sizeable crowd at the Sirens Ground. After both teams have played 4 games Valletta are in joint third placing with St Andrew on 7 points while San Ġwann are on 5 points.
The first action came from San Ġwann as Byron Madu served Andrea’ Zammit in the area and a defender foiled him with a timely clearance while at the other end Matthias Tabone released Kurt Buhagiar in the area and San Ġwann keeper Jordan Agius foiled him with a timely sortie.
In the 7th minute San Ġwann opened the score when Madu dribbled past an opponent on the right flank and after entering the area he scored with a hard rising shot past Valletta keeper Anson Saliba.
Valletta then mounted two actions. Zachary Chetcuti was fouled in midfield and the ball was cleared away from the free kick by Sheldon Mackay and Antheos Spiteri was fouled well outside the area and after the free kick by Chetcuti the ball was partly cleared outside the area Tabone drove over the bar from the rebound.
In a San Ġwann reaction, Zammit served Cody Grech with a through ball on the edge of the area but he drove over the bar. Joseph Attard served Madu on the left edge of the area and Saliba saved his rising shot and did likewise minutes later when Cody Grech served Zammit with a through ball.
Valletta regained the initiative and mounted all the actions before the break. Kurt Desira served Buhagiar in the area and San Ġwann keeper Jordan Agius foiled him as he dived at his feet and smothered the ball. Matthew Pulis served Antheos Spiteri on the right flank and a defender cleared the ball to a corner which was taken by Desira and the ball was cleared to another corner. Chetcuti released Pulis on the right flank and the ball was cleared away following his cross in the area and Pulis was fouled in midfield and the ball was cleared to a corner from Mackay’s free-kick and after the flag kick by Chetcuti, Kieran Mallia failed to apply the killer touch by a whisker.
Valletta enjoyed the lion’s share of exchanges after the resumption and the first action came from San Ġwann as Madu served Cody Grech in the area and Saliba foiled him with a timely sortie. Chetcuti served Pulis on the right flank and after advancing San Ġwann keeper Agius saved his shot to a corner.
San Ġwann won a free kick as Kieran Fenech handled the ball on the right flank and from the free kick by Zammit the ball was cleared to a corner and in another action Cody Grech was fouled in midfield and Saliba saved the hard shot from Zammit’s free kick.
In the 58th minute, Valletta restored parity. Chetcuti was fouled on the left flank and the same player’s free-kick created havoc in San Ġwann’s area as after a shot by Desira was cleared to a corner the flag kick was taken by Buhagiar and Zachary Chetcuti scored with a hard rising shot from inside the area.
The pressure from Valletta resumed. Chetcuti released Spiteri in the area and a defender cleared the ball to a corner. Desira was fouled on the left flank and from Buhagiar’s free-kick the ball was cleared away.
In the 77th minute, Valletta came very close a winning goal when Pulis was fouled on the left flank and after Buhagiar floated a high ball in the area from the free kick the ball was cleared on the line from a shot by Matthias Mercieca. San Ġwann then mounted the last action before the final whistle as Zammit served Cody Grech in the area and Saliba foiled him with a timely sortie.
San Ġwann: J.Agius, J.Attard, J.Vella, A.Falzon, B.Madu, J.Grech, C.Grech, L.Musu, O.Spiteri (Capt), I.Colombo, A.Zammit.
Valletta: A.Saliba, K.Mallia, S.Mackay, A.Spiteri, M.Pulis, K.Desira, Z.M.Chetcuti, M.Tabone, M.Mercieca, K.P.Fenech, K.Buhagiar (Capt).
Player of the match: Sheldon Mackay (Valletta)
Referee: Gerard Zammit Young