Valletta will be starting the Championship Pool just two points ahead of second-placed Hibernians and seven ahead of Floriana after being held in a 1-1 draw by the Greens.

For Floriana, this was the third consecutive draw but this result still satisfies the team led by Michael Woods as they managed to avoid defeat after losing the three derbies played earlier this season in the Euro Cup, Super Cup and in the first round of the BOV Premier League.

The Citizens were in full strength as Terence Scerri was back in squad for the first time since May. Floriana, on the other hand, lacked Christian Cassar and goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo.

The Greens managed to take the lead on 11 minutes when off a cross by John Mintoff from the left, Ivan Woods headed the ball home past goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.

Roderick Briffa hit the crossbar for Valletta with a shot from outside the area on 17 minutes. Nine minutes later, a shot by Edmond Agius from outside the area was turned into a corner by Patrick Jansen.

Floriana replied with a freekick by Pablo Doffo and a rising shot from the right by Ivan Woods which were both deflected into corners. On the other side of the pitch, following a cross from the right by Panadetiguiri, Aleksandars Cekulajevs tried his luck with a header which was parried by Jansen on 44 minutes.

Two minutes in added time, Valletta notched the equaliser. It was a direct freekick by Ousseni Zongo which gave goalkeeper Patrick Jansen no chance.

Six minutes in the second half, Briffa served Denni on the right but the Brazilian midfielder’s ball-control was quite poor and his conclusion was blocked by the Floriana goalkeeper. Ian Azzopardi then headed high off a Denni freekick from the left on 69 minutes.

Ousseni Zongo was voted BOV Player of the Match.

VALLETTA : Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri (81′ William Barbosa), Aleksandars Cekulajevs (66′ Alfred Effiong), Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa, Edmond Agius, Ousseni Zongo, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Michael Mifsud (59′ Gilbert Agius).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Roderick Bajada, Terrence Scerri, Filippo Andrea Scozzese.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Asst. Coach: Jesmond Zerafa

FLORIANA : Patrick Jansen, Ivan Woods (59′ Christian Caruana), Eric Akoto, Owen Bugeja, John Mintoff, Pablo Doffo, Manolito Micallef, Duncan Pisani, Joseph Borg, Alandson da Silva (63′ Andre Grabowski), Clyde Borg.
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Malcolm Licari, Thomas Paris, Onome Sodje, Ryan Darmanin.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Frank Schembri

Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Panadetiguiri, Woods, Effiong, Akoto, S. Borg, Grabowski
Scorers: 11′ Ivan Woods (F); 45+2′ Ousseni Zongo (V)
Attendance: 4,011

Photos by: Stefan De Battista | Article by: