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Valletta succumbed to their third consecutive defeat of the season after a 2-0 defeat to Gudja United, at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday.
It was a miserable afternoon for the Citizens who played almost the entire second half with nine men after captain and vice-captain Joseph Zerafa and Ryan Camilleri were given their marching orders.
The Citizens, who donned a new away shirt for this game, remain with six points after five outings whereas Gudja have now leapfrogged them as they have seven points after five league games.
Chances were at a premium in the opening stages of the first half, with Valletta looking to impose their game from the back whereas Gudja United remained cautious and ready to catch their opponents on the break.
Caio Prado registered Valletta’s first chance of the game when he cut inside from the right before firing a shot that was deflected into a corner by Gudja United defender Rodolfo Soares.
Moments later, Prado pounced on a short back pass to lob the ball over goalkeeper Glen Zammit but his effort sailed over the bar.
The Brazilian winger remained Valletta’s best threat when he tried his luck from a close-range freekick but failed to hit the target.
However, it was Gudja who had the biggest opportunity to open the score before half-time when Temitope Abdul was floored by Eslit Sala to earn a penalty for the Blues.
Former Sliema Wanderers player Ruslan Kisil converted from the penalty spot to score his second straight goal for Gudja.
Just before the half-time whistle, Joseph Zerafa added more woes to Valletta after the Citizens’ captain was given a second yellow card following his repetitive arguments with the match official that led to his sanction.
At the restart, Abdul threatened with a close-range shot that went wide from Guarnone’s goal.
Valletta entered into more trouble when Ryan Camilleri, who had replaced Zerafa as Valletta’s captain, was given two yellow cards in less than a minute for a foul and consequent foul language towards the referee.
Coach Toze Mendes replaced Caio Prado with Christian Gauci before being forced to remove Michele Sansone who suffered a hamstring injury, with Rowen Muscat handed his 2021/2022 season debut with Valletta.
Fringe player Kevin Tulimieri also came on as despite being with a huge numerical disadvantage, Valletta were still looking to rescue at least a point from this game.
Mario Fontanella almost levelled terms for Valletta when he connected with an Eslit Sala cross just to his effort struck the crossbar.
Gudja replied through substitute Tensior Gusman whose close-range effort was diverted into a corner by Guarnone. From the resultant set-piece, Filip Pankarican doubled the lead for the Blues as Thane Micallef’s side were in the driving seat to secure three precious points.
Aidan Friggieri squandered a glorious chance to score Gudja’s third goal but his shot from inside the penalty area was blocked by Guarnone.
As the half wore on, Gudja started to become more dangerous and came close to extend their lead but they failed to make their pressure count.
Nonetheless, Gudja managed to preserve their two-goal lead and record a massive victory over Valletta.
Referee: Daniel Portelli
BOV PLAYER OF THE MATCH
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Second Yellows||Red Cards|
|7||Aidan Friggieri 99||Midfielder||0||0||0||0||0|
|9||Tensior Gusman 16||Forward||0||0||0||0||0|
|10||Llywelyn Cremona 11||Midfielder||0||0||1||0||0|
|11||Filip Pankarican 10||Midfielder||1 (70')||0||0||0||0|
|16||Abdul Abdeen Temitope 9||Forward||0||1||0||0||0|
|19||Ruslan Kisil 27||Forward||1 (42')||1||0||0||0|
|27||Justin Grioli 19||Defender||0||0||0||0||0|
|99||Marcelo Dias 7||Defender||0||0||0||0||0|