GŻIRA UNITED 2
Guarnone 39og, Espindola 76
A. Guarnone-5.5, R. Camilleri-5.5, T. Caruana-5.5, J. Arthur-6, M. Sansone-5.5, E. Pena Beltre, I. Curjuric-6 (73 K. Tulimieri), I. Micallef-5 (46 S. Dimech-6), E. Sala-6.5, C. Prado-5.5 (73 L. Campos), M. Fontanella-5.5.
A. Curmi-5.5, G. Bohrer Mentz-6, S. Borg-6, N. Muscat-6, S. Pisani-6, M. Davis-5.5 (84 C. Gauci), N. Portelli-5.5, M. Maia-5.5 (67 Y. Messias), T. Espindola-6, J. De Assis-6.5 (89 E. Mbong), J. Mendoza-6.5 (89’ L. Tabone).
Referee: Ishmael Barbara
Yellow cards: R. Camilleri, J. Mendoza, S. Pisani, A. Guarnone
Red card: Pena Beltre (V) 65.
BOV Player of the Match: Jefferson de Assis (Gżira)
After earning just two points from the first three matches, Gżira United registered their first win as they beat Valletta 2-0.
Gżira were a better side throughout the first half, taking the lead, and although the Citizens improved after the break, the dismissal of Enmy Pena Beltre killed any hopes of notching the equaliser.
For Valletta, this was the second successive defeat after the 0-3 defeat to rivals Floriana.
Valletta coach Toze Mendes made three changes to the team which lost to Floriana as Michele Sansone replaced the suspended Christian Gauci while Eslit Sala and Isaiah Micallef were preferred to Joseph Zerafa and Lucas Ribeiro Campos.
Gżira, on the other hand, had Anthony Curmi starting in goal while Nevin Portelli replaced Zach Scerri.
Hardly 30 seconds had passed that Jefferson tried his luck with a shot from outside the area which scraped past the post.
Valletta replied with an Ivan Curjuric freekick which ended wide on five minutes and a minute later, Maxuell’s curling shot just missed the target for Gżira.
The Maroons threatened once again on 14 minutes when Jefferson concluded a good run on the left flank by exchanging the ball with Martin Davis and serving Jackson Mendoza whose powerful drive hit the crossbar.
Gżira maintained the pressure and two minutes later, Jefferson pounced on a through pass on the right and rounded the goalkeeper but before he could hit home, Eslit Sala came to the rescue for the Citizens.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, Gżira took the lead.
Steve Pisani delivered a free-kick from the left, Bohrer Mentz’s header was deflected by Camilleri with Alessandro Guarnone partially saving the ball but off the rebound, Jefferson de Assis hit the upright with the ball bouncing off the goalkeeper’s back and into the net for an own goal.
For the second half, Mendes included Shaun Dimech and the Citizens did show some improvment, going close with a Curjuric effort which just missed the target on 50 minutes and two minutes later, the Croatian midfielder served Dimech on the left with the latter’s diagonal shot scraping past the post.
However, on 65 minutes, Valletta were reduced to ten men after Enmy Pena Beltre was given marching orders by referee Ishmael Barbara for trying to hit Jefferson in retaliation.
The Maroons took full advantage and sealed the issue with a second goal on 76 minutes.
Thiago Espindola exchanged the ball with Yuri Messias on the left, beating Guarnone from close range.