FA Trophy: Valletta 2 Sirens 0
Bojan Kaljevic was the hero for Valletta as he scored twice early in the second half to hand Valletta a 2-0 win over Gudja United in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.
The Citizens failed to impress during the first half and it was only thanks to Kaljevic that they managed to score the goals which put Valletta in the semi-finals.
Gudja, in fact, played an excellent first half but in the second half, it was a completely different story as once they conceded the goals, they failed to react.
Coach Giovanni Tedesco named Yenz Cini and Joseph Zerafa in the starting line-up as he rested Henry Bonello and Steve Borg although the latter was included as a substitute.
Gudja, on the other hand, were in their typical formation although Jonathan Debono was back in goal and Imanol Gonzalez was ruled out by suspension.
Gudja held the initiative during the first half, creating the better chances with the Citizens being mostly on the receiving end.
An Aidan Friggieri effort was blocked into a corner by Zerafa after just five minutes and three minutes later, Cremona served Winchester whose low shot was blocked by the Valletta goalkeeper.
On 32 minutes, Edison Bilbao Zarate received a cross by Winchester but his conclusion was cleared off the line by Ryan Camilleri.
Valletta hit back with a Matteo Piccolo fine effort which was neutralised by Jonathan Debono two minutes later. However, on the other side of the pitch, Llywelyn Cremona tried his luck with a shot from the left which was turned into a corner by Cini.
Five minutes from half-time, a free-kick by Cremona was partially saved by the Valletta goalkeeper and off the rebound, Friggieri’s fierce shot scraped past the post.
Valletta forged ahead seven minutes in the second half. Mario Fontanella delivered a cross from the right and Kaljevic headed past goalkeeper Debono.
Gudja replied when Gabriel Mensah served Winchester and the Trinidad forward saw his shot turned into a corner in style by goalkeeper Yenz Cini on 57 minutes.
However, a minute later, the Citizens doubled the score.
Kaljevic concluded a good move with a powerful drive which gave the Gudja goalkeeper no chance.
This second goal was a killer blow for Gudja and in a swift counter-attack for Valletta, Fontanella could have added another as he advanced on the right but his conclusion hit the side netting.
The Citizens were reduced to ten men on 66 minutes as Enmy Pena Beltre received a second yellow card for a foul just outside the area.
Gudja’s timid reaction consisted of a cross-shot by substitute Peter Paul Sammut from the left that was parried by Cini on the 78 minutes and a minute later, a Winchester fine effort ended just wide.
Source: Times of Malta
VALLETTA: Y. Cini, R. Camilleri, S. Malano (M. Alba), B. Kaljevic, M. Piciollo (S. Borg), S. Dimech (N. Pulis), J. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, T. Caruana, M. Fontanella.
GUDJA: J. Debono, J. Farrugia (P. Sammut), J. Bondin, A. Friggieri, E. Zarate Bilbao, R. Winchester (N. Ferreira), L. Cremona, G. Mensah, A. De Barros, A. Bolanos, J. Grioli (L. Pisani).
Scorers: 52′, 58′ B. Kaljevic (V).
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann
Yellow cards: B. Kaljevic, J. Borg, E. Pena Beltre (V), J. Grioli, R. Winchester, A. De Barros, L. Pisani (G).
Red card: E. Pena Beltre (V)