Valletta-4, Hamrun Spartans-0
Valletta ended Hamrun Spartans’ flickering hopes of forcing their way into the Championship Pool after beating them 4-0 in a one-sided match at the National Stadium.
The superior Citizens pulled clear of their opponents with three goals in the last 15 minutes to open up a two-point gap on Qormi at the top.
The first half was a somewhat drab affair as scoring opportunities were few and far between.
Five minutes into the match, Terrence Scerri met Kevin Sammut’s free-kick with a firm header but Ivan Casha, the Hamrun Spartans goalkeeper, denied the Valletta striker with a fine tipping save.
At the other end, Gaetan Spiteri hit an excellent first-time volley from the distance but Andrew Hogg, the Valletta goalkeeper, pushed the ball away for a corner.
Valletta had to wait until seven minutes from the end of the opening period to take the lead. Doding Priso made a strong diagonal run on the left before passing to Jamie Pace outside the box. The City midfielder drilled a first-time effort that had the better of Casha.
The Citizens dominated the Spartans in the second half but they fluffed a host of chances to put their minds at rest. Priso shot over with the goal at his mercy and Terrence Scerri hit wide after receiving from the Cameroonian. Fifteen minutes from the end, Valletta secured the points when Gilbert Agius flicked home from point blank after Casha had partially saved Scerri’s grounder.
Scerri then put his name on the scoresheet with two goals, the first a header from Priso’s cross and the second a close-range tap-in after receiving from substitute Declan O’Brien.
On the stroke of time, Valletta were reduced to 10 men after Priso was sent off for retaliation.
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