Matchday 01: Valletta 2 Santa Lucia 3
Sta Luċia belied their status to make the club’s first match in the premier league one to treasure.
They have achieved arguably the biggest victory in their history when they handed their morequoted opponents a hard lesson of attacking football with a commanding win.
It was a shock result, an early candidate for the biggest surprise of the season, but Sta Luċia, fully deserved their moment of glory, if anything for their positive attitude, as well as their inclination to product direct, flowing football whenever they had possession.
The tone of the match was set in the early stages when Sta Luċia who opening the scoring with their
first attack of the match.
The Valletta rearguard made a slack attempt at a clearance, but there looked little danger as Wilkerson Gomes ran on to hit a ball that was outside the edge of the Valletta’s area. The Brazilian connected cleanly before hitting a fierce shot behind Henry Bonello.
Despite the setback, Valletta hit back straight away, when Mario Fontanella put the ball in the net after neat work from Joseph Zerafa.
But Sta Luċia continued where they had left off, passing the ball neatly around the midfield as Valletta sat back.
The Yellow’s masterclass continued when Rei Tachikawa exchanged a crafty one-two with Diego Segura and smashed the return with a curly shot that wrong-footed Bonello.
Valletta tried to rouse themselves, but the Premier league newcomers kept coming forward.
Jacob Walker wasted a great chance with a diabolical shot wide and Wilkerson soon underlined the need to take the opportunities with a sublime lob after a neat lay-off from Segura. It was no less than Wilkerson deserved for a superb debut.
The third goal knocked the stuffing out of Valletta as Wilkerson was thwarted by a good save from Bonello just before the break.
Valletta desperately tried to pull one back after the interval but Kyrian Nwoko looped a header just over the bar before Ryan Caruana blocked Fontanella’s effort as Valletta did have an increased threat.
Past the hour mark, Fontanella put the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for offside when Rowen Muscat did not have the presence of mind to shoot instead of squaring the ball for the Italian striker, clearly in an offside position.
Valletta coach Darren Abdilla’s response was to take off summer signings Kevin Tulimieri and Douglas as he brought on Matteo Piciollo and Shawn Dimech.
The City, to their credit, kept going and Nwoko leapt to direct Zerafa’s clipped cross into the net.
Tachikawa blocked well Nwoko’s effort after 80 minutes. The fourth official Ishmael Barbara signalled
six minutes of stoppage time but Sta Luċia held on to secure a famous win.
VALLETTA: H. Bonello, R. Caruana, J. Zerafa, S. Borg, K. Nwoko, E. Pena Beltre, M. Fontanella, K. Tulimieri (M. Piciollo), R. Muscat (N. Pulis), D. Packer (S. Dimech), Y. Messias.
SANTA LUCIA: R. Caruana, G. Bohrere, D. Mendoza, D. Segura, K. Rosero (O. Elouni), J. Walker, D. Agius, F. Zunga, J. Zerafa (L. Galea), R. Tachikawa, J. Wilkerson (J. Magri Overend)
Scorers: 6′ 39′ J. Wikerson, 18′ R. Tachikawa (S), 12′ M. Fontanella, 72′ K. Nwoko (V)
Yellow Cards: R. Caruana (V), R. Tachikawa (S)
BOV Player of the Match: J. Wilkerson (Sta Lucia)
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann