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BOV Premier League

Mosta, Valletta keep top-six hopes alive after thrilling draw

Valletta midfielder Ivan Curjuric (centre) tries to keep his balance against Mosta. Photo: Jonathan Bugeja

MOSTA                          2

Farrugia 58

Riascos 60

VALLETTA                   2

Fontanella 72 pen.

Promise 90

MOSTA

I. Akpan-7; W. Donkin-6.5 (77 S. Akinbule), G. Acheampong-6.5, B. Diarra-6.5, T. Farrugia-7, J. Vassallo-6, Y. Loen-6.5, L. Riascos-6.5, D. Antwi-6 (78 C. Ememe), Z. Brincat-6 (78 M. Mifsud), R. Ekani-6.

VALLETTA

A. Guarnone-6; J. Borg-6, R. Camilleri-6, T. Caruana-6 (65 R. Muscat), C. Gauci-5 (80 A. Zammit), E. Pena Beltre-5, I. Curjuric-6.5, E. Sala-6, C. Prado-7 (65 E. Promise), M. Fontanella-6.5, K. Tulimieri-6.5 (46 L. Campos-6)

Referee Matthew De Gabriele.

Yellow cards Camilleri, Fontanella, Riascos, Diarra, Vassallo, Acheampong, Gauci.

BOV Player of the Match Tyrone Farrugia (Mosta).

A late goal by substitute David Promise rescued Valletta a point against Mosta as both teams kept alive their top six hopes, pending Sirens’s result against Floriana in Sunday’s early kick off.

Valletta and Mosta have 25 points each, with Sirens sitting sixth on 27 points but with a game in hand.

Mosta had opened a two-goal lead against the run of play through Tyrone Farrugia and Luis Riascos but Valletta managed to cancel the deficit. Goals from Mario Fontanella and Promise helped Danilo Doncic’s side secure an important point.

Valletta went out all guns blazing from the start and after seven minutes Ivan Curjuric forced goalkeeper Ini Akpan into action with a well-struck long-range shot.

Moments later, Kevin Tulimieri connected with an Enmy Pena Beltre cross just to send his effort wide from goal.

As time went by though, Mosta were looking more dangerous and in the 28th minute they came close to open the score. Youri Loen’s freekick was momentarily blocked by Alessandro Guarnone before Geoffrey Acheampong’s rebound sailed over the bar.

However, Valletta remained on top of their game and before half-time, Tulimieri fired a shot from the edge of the area which Akpan saved while a Triston Caruana close-range header was cleared by the Mosta backline.

At the restart, Valletta coach Doncic swapped Kevin Tulimieri with Brazilian winger Lucas Campos.

Five minutes from the start of the second half, Caio Prado lobbed the ball over Akpan but he could not find the net as Valletta continued to dominate proceedings.

However, it was Mosta who opened the score through a Tyrone Farrugia’s close-range kick from a corner kick situation.

A couple of minutes later, the Blues doubled their lead when Luis Riascos found himself at the end of a well-drilled positive transition before slotting past Guarnone, to the delight of the Mosta clan.

The flurry of quick goals came as a cold shower for Valletta, who at that point looked the likelier side to break the deadlock.

Coach Doncic inserted Rowen Muscat and Canadian youth David Promise in an attempt to recharge the attacking department, in search of a goal that could pull them back into the game.

Twenty minutes from time, Valletta were offered a lifeline when Diarra floored Curjuric inside the area and Fontanella seized the opportunity to put the Citizens back on track.

Mosta almost restored their two-goal lead when Zachary Brincat failed to capitalise on a solo effort, having his shot glancing past Guarnone’s goal.

Substitute Andrea Zammit had the chance to score on his first touch of the ball but could not beat Akpan who once again was alert to avert the danger.

Valletta looked destined to lose this game but forward Promise rescued a point for the Citizens with a late goal from inside the penalty area.

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