Depleted Birkirkara defeated by Vallettaby Ayrton Galea - 22nd April 2012
Birkirkara conceded the second consecutive defeat when they were beaten by Valletta with a 2-0 score, with a goal in each half,.
It was an important match for both sides. Birkirkara tried to climb back to the third place while Valletta were searching to maintain their six-point lead over Hibernians.
Both sets of supporters created a vibrant atmosphere with flags and hand held banners, besides their vocal support.
Birkirkara were a depleted side as Jorge Santos Silva was ruled out injured, and Shola Shodiya and Paul Fenech were not in the best condition and started on the bench. Moises Avila Perez and Ryan Camenzuli returned with the first eleven.
Although not dominating the match, Valletta were the better side for long stretches, with Birkirkara trying to counter-attack. In the second half Birkirkara were searching for the equaliser, when Valletta scored the second goal which killed any hopes Birkirkara still had.
The First Half
The First Half saw Valletta taking the lead after fifteen minutes and then controlling the game. On the other hand, Birkirkara defended well and tried to counter attack.
On the 7th minute , in the first action of the match, a long distance volley by William Barbrosa for Valletta, ended over.
In a very dangerous action for Valletta on the 10th minute, from a perfect pass towards Roderick Briffa, saw his powerful shot deflected into a corner.
A long distance shot by Ryan Scicluna on the 13th minute ended over. On the other side of the pitch, a diagonal shot by Michael Mifsud for Valletta also went over.
A long distance low shot by William Barbrosa ended wide on the 21st minute. On the same minute, on the other side of the pitch, a diagonal shot by Ryan Camenzuli ended over the bar.
From then on, the match proved to be less entertaining as both teams defended well, with most of the game being played in the middle of the field, which meant no opportunities for the attackers.
The first half time ended in a 1-0 lead for Valletta.
The Second Half
Birkirkara started the second half well, pressing their opponents and creating chances with the aim to find the equalising goal. However, it was Valletta who found the net and to end all of Birkirkara's hopes. To make things worse, Birkirkara ended playing with 10 players as Rodrigo Pereira was sent off.
A weak shot by Denni Rocha Dos Santos was saved without problem by Reuben Gauci on the 46th minute.
Birkirkara appealed for a penalty on the 48th minute, when Steve Borg seemed to handle the ball inside the box.
Following a very powerful run, Joseph Zerafa concluded with a fine shot which was blocked by Andrew Hogg on the 50th minute.
A shot by Rowen Muscat from outside the area on the 57th minute was deflected into a corner.
Against the run of play, Valletta doubled the lead on the 61st minute, when Michael Mifsud's perfect pass found Ousseni Zongo who advanced with the ball and beat Reuben Gauci with a low shot.
A long shot by Angus Buhagiar on the 65th minute ended over.
Following a perfect pass by William Barbrosa on the 66th minute, Rueben Gauci rushed out and cleared the danger.
A dangerous cross from the right by Oussein Zongo was saved by Reueben Gauci on the 74th minute.
An over head kick by Edmond Agius ended wide on the 77th minute.
A weak shot by Paul Fenech on the 78th minute, from a long distance ended wide
In the first substitution for Valletta on the 84th minute, Denni Rocha Dos Santos was replaced with Gilbert Agius.
In the last substitution for Birkirkara on the 85th minute, Shaun Bajada was replaced with youngster Michael Camilleri.
Also on the 85th minute, in the second substitution for Valletta Oussein Zongo was replaced with Alfred Effiong.
Following a fine pass from the middle of the field on the 89th minute, Rueben Gauci came out to rescue the danger and cleared the ball into safety.
In the first minute of the added time, Valletta made the last substitution as Roderick Briffa was replaced by Roderick Bajada.
Birkirkara almost pulled one back in the last seconds when a fine free-kick was headed well by Nikola Vukanac but Andrew Hogg made a good save.
Andrew Hogg made another fine save neutralising another powerful header in the last action of the match.
BIRKIRKARA: Reuben Gauci, Angus Buhagiar (67' Paul Fenech), Rodrigo Pereira, Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat, Shaun Bajda (85' Michael Camilleri), Ryan Scicluna, Ryan Camenzuli (45' Shola Shodiya), Ryan Scicluna, Moises Avila Perez
VALLETTA: Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Saidou Mady Panandetiguir, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa (91' Roderick Bajada), Edmond Agius, Oussian Zongo (85' Alfred Effiong), Denni Rocha Dos Santos (84' Gilbert Agius), William Barbrosa, Michael Mifsud
Scorers: 15' Michael Mifsud, 61' Oussein Zongo (Valletta)
Yellow Cards: Shaun Bajada (Birkirkara), Steve Borg (Valletta)
Red Cards: Rodrigo Pereira (Birkirkara)
Man of the match: Michael Mifsud (Valletta)