VALLETTA-7, BALZAN YOUTHS-2
Champions Valletta launched their Championship Pool commitments on a superb note as they inflicted a 7-2 defeat on Balzan Youths in today's second game at the Hibs Stadium.
Four goals in the first half set Valletta on the way to an emphatic win as Balzan Youths were outclassed by superior opponents who have now gone five points clear at the top, albeit with a game more than rivals Hibs who meet Sliema Wanderers today.Seven minutes from the start of the game had passed when Valletta took the lead.
Roderick Briffa swung in a cross from the right and the Balzan defenders could only partially clear the danger. The ball fell to Edmond Agius who had time and space to pick his spot as he sent his curling shot into the top corner and out of Matthew Camilleri's reach.
Valletta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg was alert to anticipate Glenn Bonello after the Balzan winger had threatened to pounce on Ian Azzopardi's backpass.Balzan were hardly dangerous in the opening stages but when Steve Borg tripped Pedrinho outside the box on 25 minutes, Valletta sensed danger .
Their fears were materialised as Pedrinho's swerving free-kick sailed on the inside of Valletta's defensive wall and past the diving Hogg.The Citizens quickly regained the initiative and two goals in one minute put them back in command.
William Barbosa hit home from close in after Jonathan Caruana touched Denni's corner into the Bazilian's path.Moments later, Aleksandrs Cekulajevs beat Camilleri with a fine rising shot after the Latvian striker had been sent clear by Denni.
Cekulajevs was on target again 11 minutes form half-time, firing a low shot into the net after profiting from a deflection in the Balzan box.Valletta moved 5-1 up inside the opening two minutes of the second half, captain Gilbert Agius slotting past the helpless Camilleri after Jonathan Francica, Balzan's last defender, had lost possession.
The Citizens' monologue continued, Ousseni Zongo heading home his team's sixth goal from Edmond Agius's set-piece cross.Terrence Scerri came on just past the hour for his first appearance of the season as Valletta stayed in control. With 15 minutes left, Balzan pulled one back when Pedrinho beat substitute goalkeeper Yenz Cini with another well-taken free-kick.Valletta restored their five-goal lead seven minutes from time, Scerri marking his seasonal debut by scoring from the penalty spot after he had been brought down by Bjorn Bondin.
Barbosa, the Valletta midfielder, was named BOV player of the match.
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