FA Trophy – Valletta 1 Pieta H 0
A solitary goal by Ryan Camilleri after just 120 seconds was enough to decide the outcome of the last fourth round match between Valletta and Pieta’ Hotspurs.
The Valletta fans had to wait only two minutes to ease any nerves of a possible shock elimination.
Valletta skipper Camilleri converted an inswinging Miguel Alba corner with low drive into the corner.
The early goal gave Danilo Doncic’s troops a stranglehold on the game which they rarely let slip from there on.
Another corner by Alba was met by Santiago Malano as he muscled his way into the penalty, but he was only able to direct his effort over the bar.
Pieta’ found it hard to carve out chances although their best of the first half came from a free-kick. Neil Pace Cocks took it but goalkeeper Nicky Vella found no difficulty in blocking his shot.
Shy the half an hour mark, Kyrian Nwoko’s right-wing cross dropped kindly to Alba at the far post but the Argentine striker incredibly miscued his effort in front of a gaping goal.
Valletta dominated the first half with a no-nonsense hard-tackling midfield with Alba outstanding with his excellent distribution skills from the right flank.
Just before half-time, the Argentine switched flanks from the right to left to put a well-struck diagonal shot narrowly wide.
The moment referee Eman Grech signalled the start of the second half, torrential rain swept across the National Stadium drenching the players. The slippery surface and difficult conditions did not help matters as Valletta tried to increase their tally.
Alba underlined his deadball expertise as his inswinger from the right soared dangerously towards goal. Miguel Montfort, the Pieta’ goalkeeper appeared to touch the ball away but it landed at the feet of Malano who shoot over.
Past the hour mark, Gabriel Mensah’s turn and shot was pushed away by Nicky Vella.
Doncic threw on Michael Mifsud as Pieta’ tired, but still held out and still Valletta fashioned little. The nippy striker immediately fashioned a venomous shot that stung Montfort’s gloves.
Then, he delivered a ball to the lively Nwoko who tried an overhead kick but the effort flew over the bar.
In the final minutes, there was no denying Valletta’s urge to book a deserved passage to the quarter-finals of the competition which leaves them on course for a double.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – N. Vella, S. Malano, S. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, R. Camilleri, M. Alba (J. Borg), K. Nwoko (A. Prosa), U. Calistus (M. Mifsud), J. Zerafa, R. Saleh,C. Pani.
PIETA H. – M. Montfort, C. Degabriele, A. White, S. Bartolo, J. Irimiya, G. Mensah, D. Agius, N. Pace Cocks, L. Chiedozie, J. Busuttil (J. Manuel Artiaga), C. Grech.
Scorers: 3′ R. Camilleri (V)
Yellow Cards: J. Irimya, C. Degabriele (P), J. Zerafa (V)
Referee: E. Grech