FA Trophy: Mosta 2 Valletta 1
Mosta secured safe passage to the next round of the IZIBET FA Trophy on Tuesday with two first-half goals to beat Valletta at the Hibernians stadium.
It was a tale of two halves as Mosta exploited Valletta’s troubles to score twice in the first half-hour, while the Citizens tried to come back in the second half, only managing one goal 18 minutes from time.
Brandon Paiber struck first for Valletta after just three minutes, which shot fell firmly into Mosta goalkeeper David Akpan’s hands.
However, it was Mosta who scored 16 minutes into the affair when a cross into the area from the left found a speedy Maximillian Ihekuna who met the ball at the last second to fire a curved shot that smashed off the bar and into the net behind Citizens shotstopper Jake Galea.
The match fell into the balance as Valletta tried to find a way back. However, Mosta were the more dangerous side on the pitch and they went further ahead on the half-hour when another cross from the left found its target earlier this time at the first post as forward Henry Chidera tipped the ball home with a header.
Valletta grew in stature in the final minutes of the first half but there was no way to penetrate the Mosta area as the Blues held firm to stay two goals ahead by the halftime break.
After the change of ends, Mosta were first to threaten as a lacklustre Valletta defence was caught out by a Zachary Brincat run on the right led to an inside pass to Chidera, but this time, the latter fired over.
Valletta did manage to get an attempt on goal around the hour mark when Enzo Ruiz got on the end of a freekick with a header but his effort went wide.
The Citizens then forced Akpan to a save on 63 minutes with a Santiago Ferraris shot from the left.
The Mosta goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Valletta from grabbing a goal 72 minutes in however, as the Citizens’ second-half rally began to prove fruitful when a surging cross from Ruiz found an unmarked Diego Cardoso in between a crowded area to head the ball into the net.
Valletta turned from hunted to hunters in the final minutes of the game but with all the danger they caused, it was always Mosta goalkeeper Akpan who came out on top. Even with five added minutes at the end of the game, Mosta survived the Valletta onslaught to progress to the next round.
VALLETTA: J. Galea J. Bolanos, E. Ruiz, F. Barrientos (77 D. Garba), S. Ferraris, G. Braganca (46 A. Silas), J. Azzopardi (46 N. Micallef), B. Paiber (64 K. Ewurum), M. Jezdimirovic (64 S Dimech), V. Luiz, D. Cardoso.
MOSTA: D. Akpan, A. Valois, M. Ihekuna (58 T. Shedrack), H. Chidera (65 N. Chukwudi), P. Tenebe (46 N. Agius), S. Cipriott (78 S. Cachia), A. Hovhannisyan, B. Dao, W. Britto, J. Vassallo, Z. Brincat (78 JP Farrugia).
Yellow cards: D. Garba, D. Cardoso (V)
Scorers: 16′ M. Ihekuna 16, 32′ Chidera (M), 72′ Cardoso (V).
Referee: G. Tonna.