U*Bet FA Trophy: Valletta 1 Hibernians 0 Published on: 19-03-2011

Valletta move to semi-finals

Valletta booked their place in the semi-finals of the U*Bet FA Trophy after beating Hibs 1-0 this evening.

Denni scored the decisive goal in extra-time as Valletta kept their treble dream alive.

The first half was a drab affair as scoring chances were few and far between.

On 19 minutes, Hibs goalkeeper Mario Muscat ran out of his box to cut out a long ball but he failed to control the ball. Andrade was first to the loose ball but he was closed down by Clarke.

Eight minutes later, Valletta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg effected his first intervention, diving to his right to stop a dangerous cross-cum-shot by Andrew Cohen from a free-kick.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Valletta had the best chance to open the scoring when Andrade’s cross from the right reached the unmarked Denni but the latter’s header was too central to trouble Muscat.

A City counter-attack caused apprehension among the Hibs defenders as Terrence Scerri served Denni in a central position but the Brazilian’s drive was blocked by Muscat.

At the other end, Steve Borg blocked Edward Herrera’s way after the Hibs winger had surged past Ramon.

Early in the second half, Valletta would have taken the lead were it not for Muscat who produced a fine save to beat away Ryan Fenech’s dangerous free-kick.

The game remained dull with both teams struggling to make headway in attack.

On 63 minutes, Hibs came close to opening the score when Richie Hart’s cross from the left flew to Paul McManus who headed over. Hart then hit a shot that was saved by Hogg.

The Paolites grew in composure as the second half moved on. Edward Herrera went close with a diagonal shot that flew just wide.

Eleven minutes from time, Muscat denied Valletta when keeping out another strong volley from Fenech.

Hibs also threatened when Cohen set up Herrera who fired over. Five minutes from time, Valletta should have scored when Andrade cut in from the right, went past Pearson and dragged the ball back into the goalmouth. Ian Zammit, a second-half substitute, got a touch to the ball which rolled to Fenech whose effort slammed the post.

Inside the opening two minutes of extra-time, Andrade was twisting his way into the Hibs box but his diagonal shot was pushed away by Muscat. Valletta were playing the better football now. Denni served Andrade whose rising shot was deflected away for a corner.

Valletta’s pressure produced a goal nine minutes into extra-time, Denni poking the ball into the net from point blank after receiving a cross from Fenech.

Early in the second half of extra-time, Fenech stormed into the box from the left and served Denni who concluded high and wide.

Hibs’ response only produced a long-range effort from Pearson which was deflected away for a corner.

Valletta should have sealed the issue when Andrade and Denni traded passes in the box but the latter’s close-range flick was saved by Muscat.  
Source: timesofmalta.com

VALLETTA, A. Hogg, S. Borg, I. Azzopardi, R. Dos Santos, E. Agius, J. Pace, K. Sammut, T. Scerri (I. Zammit), R. Fenech (O. Temile), A. Anderson, D. Dos Santos.
HIBERNIANS, M. Muscat, A. Xuereb, E. Herrera, A. Cohen, M. Clarke, A. Pulis (B. Kristensen), J. Pearson, P. Osei, R. Hart, P. McManus (A. Taki), R. Camilleri (T. Caruana)

U*Bet FA Trophy 2010/11
Date: 19-03-11     Time: 16:00    Venue: National Stadium

Scorers: 99' D. Dos Santos, 86' I. Zammit

Yellow Cards: E. Agius, I. Zammit, K. Sammut