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Gżira United lose ground after goalless draw against Valletta

Gżira United's Luis Riascos controls the ball against Valletta. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

VALLETTA      0

GŻIRA UNITED           0

VALLETTA

A. Guarnone-6, J. Borg-6, R. Camilleri-6, T. Caruana-6 (88’ L. Cremona), O. Akpoveta-6 (80’ S. Dimech), C. Gauci-6, E. Pena Beltre-5.5, B. Kamden-6, B. Paiber-6.5, J. Willy-5.5, K. Bevis-6.

GŻIRA UNITED

D. Zarkov-6, G. Bohrer-6.5, L. Tabone-5.5, S. Pisani-6 (72’ B. Borg), Z. Scerri-6, M. Dias-6, L. Riascos, T. Kolega-7, M. Cosic-6, M. Maia-5.5 (72’ R. Correa), J. De Assis-6.5.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards: Caruana, Willy, Riascos, Gauci.

Red card: Riascos (G) 84.

BOV Player of the Match: Toni Kolega (Gżira).

Gżira United failed to keep the pace with leaders Ħamrun Spartans as they were held in a goalless draw by Valletta.

After suffering four successive defeats, the Citizens were determined not to leave Ta’ Qali empty-handed by adopting a rather cautious approach in their bid to keep their opponents at bay.

In fact, Gżira, who were coming from four wins on the trot, were hoping to extend their winning streak but were unable to penetrate the Valletta rearguard.

Valletta had three changes from the team as Ryan Camilleri, Bradley Kamden and Joseph Willy were handed a start with Shaun Dimech and Llywelyn Cremona being among the substitutes and Eslit Sala ruled out through suspension.

For Gżira, Luis Riascos deputised for Nikolai Muscat who was serving a one-match ban along with Clive Gauci.

The two teams left much to be desired during the first half with the two goalkeepers, never being tested apart from a cross shot by Toni Kolega just past the half hour which was saved without particular difficulty by Guarnone.

On the restart, the two teams improved and Steve Pisani had two attempts neutralised by Guarnone within the first three minutes – first with a freekick which was turned into a corner and then with a corner which was blocked by the Valletta custodian.

Valletta replied with a fine attempt by Brandon Paiber from outside the area which was saved by Zarkov on 61 minutes.

One minute later, Toni Kolega tried his luck with a long-distance shot which was parried by the Valletta goalkeeper.

A fine curved shot by Kolega on 70 minutes ended just over the bar.

Four minutes later, Cosic headed the ball in the direction of Jefferson whose close-range header just missed the target. On the other side of the pitch, a freekick by Bradley Kamden from the right was parried by Zarkov ten minutes from time.

Gabriel Bohrer’s powerful freekick from the right was deflected by a defender with the ball ending over the bar on 86 minutes and three minutes later, Kamden sent Shaun Dimech through into the area but the latter failed to connect well and Zarkov saved.

Three minutes in added time, the Maroons were reduced to ten men after Luis Riascos received a second yellow card for a reckless tackle.

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