New Valletta coach Cardoso Mendes got off to a winning start as City beat Balzan 1-0 at the Centenary Stadium on Friday night.
A penalty moments before half-time all the separated the sides and three points for a Valletta side back in action for the first time since they had to endure a mandatory quarantine.
The penalty, awarded after Piciollo was brought down in the box, had some unusual moments.
Nwoko took the spot-kick and seemed to have scored only for the referee to disallow the goal after consulting other match officials. The ball was again placed on the penalty spot and this time Alba took the responsibility of opening the scoring. Which he did. Valletta in front at the break, a lead they held onto until the final whistle.
Gzira moved closer to leaders Hamrun and second placed Hibernians with a 2-0 win against Tarxien Rainbows.
They move to just one point behind Hibernians and three behind Hamrun but they both have a game in hand.