Stars tame careless Lions
Naxxar Lions 0
Vittoriosa Stars 2
Vittoriosa started their league trek with a fine win over fellow promotion seekers Naxxar Lions in a balanced match where the points went to the more focused and less error-prone side.
In fact, Naxxar were left to rue the way they had gifted their opponents with the second goal and missing a penalty soon after which could have given them hope.
The Lions also had a man sent off 20 minutes from time.
Naxxar were the better team in the initial stages and Victor Bellia could have given them an early lead but was thwarted by Jean Matthias Vella who saved his close range effort after Ivanilson Serino Junior had floated an inviting ball from the left flank.
Darren Falzon should have done better when he headed wide from a good position as Vittoriosa soon came into the picture with a Marcelo Perreira effort from 20 metres that was stopped by Julian Azzopardi.
Vittoriosa took the lead midway through the half. Gary Muir was at the right place when lurking inside the Lions’ box to head home a Mar-celo Perreira ball from the flank.
Naxxar were stunned but on 35 minutes Ivanilson Serino Junior almost drew the teams level again only for his first time effort to finish inside the Vittoriosa side-netting.
However, on the stroke of half-time, Marcelo Perreira duly profited from Sunday Eboh’s poor clearance and slid the ball home from 10 metres out to make it 2-0.
Naxxar could have halved the deficit in stoppage time when Samir Arab floored Pablo Doffo inside the Stars’ box but from the penalty spot Falzon sent the ball soaring into the sky.
The rhythm was less frantic in the second half with the Stars happy to control the proceedings and protecting their two-goal cushion.
Naxxar tried to get back in the reckoning but their final pass was mostly going astray and the team lacked punch upfront.
To make matters worse Naxxar were reduce to 10 men when substitute Mattia del Negro was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Roberto Brincat.
Doffo’s free-kick late on looked destined to reach the net but goalkeeper Jean Matthias Vella stopped the shot to deny Naxxar a consolation goal.
Naxxar: J. Azzopardi, L. Micallef, J. Vella, S. Eboh, K. Drago, J. Debono (M. Del Negro), V. Bellia (G. Camilleri), P. Doffo, D. Falzon, A. Ewurun, I. Serino Junior (A. Rocha da Silva).
Vittoriosa: J.M. Vella, Samir Arab, M. Buttigieg, L. Vella Critien, R. Dos Santos, R. Brincat, A. Spiteri, S. Grech (M. Tabone), M. Perreira (M. Barbara), G. Muir, L. Micallef (Sirai Arab).
Referee: Marco Borg.
Man of the match: Marcelo Perreira (Vittoriosa Stars).