Day 1 Valletta 2 Mosta 1
Valletta overcame the sending-off of midfielder Edmond Agius to beat Mosta 2-1 in their opening Premier League game.
The Citizens were the better team for long stretches, even after Agius was dismissed for hitting Liberian winger Joel Sunny Boy Toe, but a late goal for the Blues unsettled Valletta.
Mosta did push for an equaliser but their efforts were easily controlled by the Citizens who would have increased their margin but for a string of good saves by Mosta goalkeeper Omar Borg.
Valletta pushed forward from the outset.
Mosta goalkeeper Omar Borg was soon called into action, pushing away Hamry Barry’s curling free-kick. The loose ball fell to Edmond Agius whose long-range drive sailed over the bar.
Denni cut inside from the right but his dipping effort was deflected away for a corner.
The Citizens had another excellent chance to break the deadlock when Nyang passed to Ryan Fenech and the latter’s cross sailed towards the unmarked Agius whose close-range header was brilliantly tipped away by Borg.
Agius threatened again but his first-time effort, following a reverse pass from Fenech, flew just wide of the far post.
In a rare attack close the hour, Mosta’s Brazilian newcomer Christian Fernandez fired narrowly wide after picking up a loose ball on the edge of Valletta’s penalty box.
Valletta produced an emphatic response, taking the lead moments later. Nyang race clear on the right before crossing for Denni who tapped home from close range.
The Citizens’ domination continued. Barry’s swerving shot was deflected away for a corner but, five minutes from time, they suffered an unexpected blow when Agius was dismissed for apparently raising his elbow at Mosta’s Libernian forward Joel Sunny Boy Toe in an off-the-ball incident.
Early in the second half, Luke Dimech burst into the box after a great run from defence but his attempt was saved by Borg. The Mosta goalkeeper then saved Barry’s rising shot but from the resultant corner, taken by Barry, Yessous Camileri poked the ball home from close range.
Fenech, the Valletta captain, went close to a third goal with a rising shot, but Mosta staged a reaction in the final 15 minutes.
Valletta goalkeeper Pietro Marino saved a header by Bojan Kaljevic and a long-range drive by substitute James Brincat but nine minutes from time, Mosta pulled one back.
Mano Micallef advanced on the right before sending in a brilliant cross that was turned in by the diving Brincat.
On the stroke of time, Valletta should restored their two-goal lead when Nyang cut the ball back for Tunisian Abdelkarim Nafti, who had replaced Denni, but the Tunisian’s grounder was blocked by the alert Borg.
Nafti then produced a fine acrobatic volley after receiving from Nyang, but Borg made another fine save.
VALLETTA – P. Marino, R. Fenech (I. Zammit), E. Agius, R. Briffa, A. Corr Nyang, H. Barry, D. Falzon (S. Bajda), J. Vandelannoite, Y. Camilleri, D. Dos Santos (A. Nafti), L. Dimech.
MOSTA – O. Borg, K. Farrugia, T. Farrugia, A. Cini, R. Grech (J. Brincat), B. Kaljevic, L. Duriska, C. Fernandes, M. Micallef, J. Toe (B. Agius), F. Arrigada (K. Zammit).
Date: 18-08-13 Time: 18:30 Venue: National Stadium
Yellow Cards: R. Briffa (V), F. Arrigada, O. Borg (M)
Red Cards: E. Agius
Scorers: 31′ D. Dos Santos, 51′ Y. Camilleri, 81′ J. Brincat
Man of Match: Hamza Barry (V)
Referee: Glenn Tonna