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Messias goal keeps Valletta hoping against Ferencvaros

Valletta vs Ferncvaros

FERENCVAROS: D. Dibusz; G. Lovrencsics, M. Blazic, L. Dvali, E. Civic, D. Ignatenko, I. Kharatin, O.
Zubkov, M. Svarka (81 , T. Chol Nguen (66 L. Bole), D. Lanzafame (66 N. Signevich).

VALLETTA: H. Bonello; J. Zerafa, J. Borg, S. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, N. Pulis (56 S. Dimech), R. Muscat, Douglas (70 Y. Messias), K. Tulimieri, K. Nwoko (81 M. Piciollo), M. Fontanella.

Scorers: 19′ H. Bonello (o.g.), 36′, 59′ Lanzafame (F), 85′ Y. Messias (V)

Yellow cards: J. Borg, J. Zerafa, K. Tulimieri

Red card: Steve Borg (V) 90

Referee: Radu Petrescu (Romania FA)

A late goal from newly-signed Yuri Messias kept Valletta’s chances of qualifying into the next round of the Champions League alive despite losing 3-1 to Ferencvaros in Budapest, yesterday.

After an encouraging start for the Malta champions, the hosts upped their game and their superiority came to the fore as two-goals in the first 45 minutes had virtually sealed the game for them.

Davide Lanzafame, formerly of Juventus, was the hosts’ most dangerous player as he scored twice, including the team’s only secondhalf goal and could have added at least a couple more if it was not for Henry Bonello’s saves.

With Ferencvaros failing to find the fourth goal, Valletta profited as they scored a late goal through Messias who made his mark on his first game for the Malta champions Valletta to keep their slim chances of advancing alive.

For this game, Valletta coach Darren Abdilla deployed the returning Rowen Muscat into the midfield while Kevin Tulimieri, Kyrian Nwoko and Mario Fontanella all found place in the offensive area of the Citizens’ starting XI.

Valletta opened the first half with skill and composure in search of an away goal that would have been more than welcome for the Malta champions, even though they could not create any clear-cut opportunities inside Ferencvaros’ penalty area.

Steve Borg, Valletta skipper on the night, saw his long-range effort saved by Ferencvaros’ goalkeeper Denes Dibusz.

The hosts replied with a set-piece from the edge of the area which Henry Bonello blocked in a comfortable manner.

With the possession shared between both sides, it was the Fradi who forged ahead when from a corner-kick, the ball was deflected by a Ferencvaros player before hitting Bonello’s head and ricocheting into the net.

The goal was greeted with relief by the Hungarian champions and moments later, Bonello came to the rescue when he denied Davide Lanzafame from close-range.

On minute 34, Lanzafame saw another effort parried away by the Valletta custodian before the Italian finally managed to find a goal for his side from the penalty spot.

In fact, the former Bari player was tripped by Nicolas Pulis inside the eighteen-yard box and converted the resultant penalty as Ferencvaros opened a two-goal lead.

On the brink of half-time, the Fradi squandered the chance to add a third as Tokmac Nguen fired his shot straight into Bonello’s hands.

After the break, Valletta had an effort on goal through a Kyrian Nwoko header but Ferencvaros were in control of the game and they also forced Bonello into action as he averted the danger following an Oleksandr Zubkov shot from tight angle.

The hosts made sure of the win on the hour mark when Zubkov nodded the ball towards Lanzafame and the Italian sent a delightful lob over the onrushing Bonello for the Fradi’s third goal.

Ferencvaros continued to create chances but they could not find a fourth. On the other end of the field, Valletta managed to grab a consolation goal when Messias capitalised on a Fontanella low cross to reduce the deficit to two-goals ahead of next week’s return leg.

Late in the game, Matteo Piciollo saw his close-range effort blocked by the Fradi’s goalkeeper before Steve Borg was given a straight red card for an elbow as he will be absent from next week’s fixture.

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