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VALLETTA FC

The Official Website of Valletta Football Club

Our Next Game

Valletta FC
vs

National Stadium

14 April 2024
at 4:15 pm

Hibernians

Euro Cup

Valletta FC Euro Cup 2013

During season 2013/14, the team was under the guidance of Mark Miller, Gilbert Agius was his assistant while in January 2014, ex-Vitesse coach Andre Paus and Technical Director Ted Van Leeuwen joined the technical staff

The signings for the season were goalkeeper Pietro Marino (Reggina), Hamza Barry (Under 19 International Gambia), Obaje Austin, Azziz Corr Nyang (Gambia), Abdel Karim Nafti (Tunezia), Defender Oscar Sanchez (Spain), Lateef Elford Alliyu (West Brom). During the January transfer window, more foreigners joined the club these were: Nukri Revishvili (Georgia), Striker Abayomi Seun Owonikoko (Nigeria), Striker Alan Da Silva Sousa (Brazil), holding midfielder Irakli Maisuradze (Georgia), Striker Vladimir Rassulov (Moldova). Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza joined the club from Birkirkara, Isaac Mc Carthy from San Gwann, Luke Montebello and Luke Dimech.

Valletta played 32 matches, winning 24 and losing 3. The Citizens were held in a draw 5 times. They scored 74 goals and acquired 21. They gained 51 points and were declared Champions by winning the last match against Birkirkara 2-0.

Euro Cup

Valletta kicked off the new season with the Euro Cup competition.

The lily whites faced Hibernians in their first match. It was a late penalty that denied Valletta the three points as they were held in a 1-1 draw by Hibernians.

Yessous Camilleri put the Citizens ahead on 29 minutes but three minutes from time, Obinna Obiefule converted a penalty to restore equilibrium.

During the second match newly signed, 19-year-old Gambian midfielder Hamza Barry scored on his debut as Valletta beat Birkirkara 1-0 in their second Euro Cup outing.

In the first 45 minutes, Paul Zammit’s side should have scored at least a couple of goals but were undone by erratic finishing and some good interventions by Valletta goalkeeper Yenz Cini.

Paul Zammit and Mark Miller, the Valletta coach, were clearly more interested in assessing their youngsters and foreigners rather than going out for a must victory.

Valletta had Hamsa Barry and Jose Gil Zapata making their first appearance. Both had a quiet game but Barry redeemed himself with a well-struck goal late in the game.

After 11 minutes, Haruna’s drive from the edge of the area finished just wide with the Citizens responding on 21 minutes.

Brazilian Denni Rocha Dos Santos, who missed the 1-1 draw with Hibs, controlled the ball with his chest but his grounder from outside the area just missed the target.

A minute before the break, Yenz Cini produced a magnificent save to deny Pape who had controlled well before shooting at the far post from an acute angle.

In the second half, as expected, both coaches introduced more youngsters.

Valletta’s play improved on resumption and on 65 minutes, Barry’s free-kick was well saved by Reuben Gauci, the Birkirkara goalkeeper.

With 18 minutes left, Denni made a good run but his effort was saved by Gauci.

It was Hamza Barry who decided the issue 10 minutes from time as his long-range strike caught Gauci unawares.

Valletta won the Euro Cup competition with a lively display against Sliema Wanderers 3-1.

Hamza’s forceful runs from the middle and Italian goalkeeper Pietro Marino’s timely interventions when Sliema made a belated reaction in the latter stages of the second half were a source of optimism for the Valletta fans who were also delighted to witness an encouraging performance from Brazilian Denni.

Nigerian trialist Aud-Gustine James Obaje put Valletta on their way with an early goal after 12 minutes.
Two minutes into the game, it was a member of Valletta’s old guard, Denni, who stole attention with a cross-cum-shot from a free-kick which was pushed away by goalkeeper Glenn Zammit.

Sliema coach Alfonso Greco fielded a strong formation in which the attacking positions were also filled by foreign players as Argentines Matias Muchardi and Ariel Laudisi and Nigerian Stanley Ohawuchi were detailed to provide support to Italian forward Andrea Navarra.

It was Valletta who produced the better stuff in the opening exchanges and after 12 minutes, Obaje put them ahead when stroking the ball past Zammit after receiving an excellent pass from Denni.

Buoyed by his goal, Obaje produced another fine move, drifting into the box from right after latching on to a long pass from Ryan Fenech, Valletta’s stand-in captain in the continued absence of Roderick Briffa who is still negotiating a new contract with the club, Obaje’s centre found no takers.

Yessous Camilleri, Valletta’s right-back, headed wide from Dyson Falzon’s cross as City remained on top.

Valletta should have doubled their lead when Obaje slipped the attentions of a host of Sliema players to meet Fenech’s set-piece cross, but his close-range header was wide.

As the end of the first half approached, Sliema stirred. They came close to an equaliser when Ohawuchi cut the ball back for Alex Muscat who looked certain to score, but his low strike was blocked by Jonathan Caruana.

The second half was less than a minute old when Valletta were awarded a penalty after Clifford Gatt Baldacchino was adjudged to have floored Hamza in the box. Denni drilled a shot past Henry Bonello.

A flowing City move should have produced a third goal. Denni’s accurate pass picked out Barry who surged forward before releasing Shawn Bajada but the latter’s grounder skimmed the far post.

Bonello denied Valletta a third goal with a top-notch save from Bajada’s curling free-kick but, with 21 minutes left, Valletta went 3-0 up.

Obaje cut into the box from the right before laying the ball back for Bajada who hammered home.

Sliema narrowed the deficit nine minutes from time thanks to Paltemio Barbetti whose low free-kick had the better of Marino.

The Blues threatened again late on as Muchardi sent Ohawuchi clear but the Nigerian’s effort was beaten away by Marino and from the rebound, Navarra hit the post.

UEFA Europa League

Europa League vs La Fiorita
FC La Fiorita

Valletta FC were drawn against FC La Fiorita of San Marino in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

During the away leg played in Serravalle, Valletta beat La Fiorita 3- 0.

A solid display from the Citizens under the guidance of Mark Miller, who after a slow start gradually took control of proceedings and were rarely troubled by the San Marino side.

Denni scored at either side of half- time of yesterday’s first leg while Ian Zammit came off the bench to add a late third goal.

The three- goal lead leavft the Citizens upbeat to finish the job in the second leg and set up a second qualifying round tie against Belarus side FK Minsk.

The match was evenly balanced in the opening stages, but the Citizens gradually got more into the picture and deservedly took the lead on the half hour.

La Fiorita defender Federico Rinaldi handled the ball inside his area in an attempt to anticipate Ian Azzopardi and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

From the resultant penalty, Denni Dos Santos beat Simone Montanari with a low drive.

On the restart, Mark Miller switched to a five- man midfield when he introduced Shaun Bajada for defender Jonathan Caruana.

The move yielded instant dividends as Valletta doubled their lead five minutes into the second half.
Dyson Falzon’s throughball released Denni Dos Santos who showed great footwork before beating Montanari.

Ian Zammit came on for Denni Dos Santos on 85 minutes but he still found time to add a third in stoppage time.

Europa League FC La Fiorita

2nd leg
During the 2nd leg at the Centenary Stadium, Valletta defeated San Marino’s La Fiorita 1-0 to qualify from the Europa League first qualifying round with an aggregate score of 4-0.

The solitary goal came by Ian Zammit from the penalty spot.

Valletta’s first half ended goalless despite Valletta creating a host of scoring chances.

Roderick Briffa supplied an excellent pass from the right to release Dyson Falzon after four minutes. Falzon swept past his marker but his cross-shot was blocked by Simone Montanari, the La Fiorita goalkeeper.

The Citizens threatened again when young Llywelyn Cremona passed to Denni but his curler was saved by Montanari.

Denni Dos Santos illuminated the proceedings on 17 minutes later as he lifted the ball over his marker before hitting a volley that ended just over the crossbar.

Hamza Barry fired over from the distance as Valletta remained on top. Three minutes before half-time, Denni’s angled shot was pushed away by Montanari and Falzon miscued his flick from close range.

On the stroke of half-time, Shaun Bajada hit over from the distance. Ryan Fenech, Valletta’s newly-appointed captain, went closer with a long-range piledriver which was fractionally off target.

At the other end, Valletta goalkeeper Yenz Cini, who had just replaced Pietro Marino, came to his team’s rescue when blocking Samuele Sorbera’s goalbound effort after the hosts had been caught on the counter. Nicola Cavalli volleyed over for La Fiorita but on the stroke of time, Valletta struck.

Valletta were awarded a penalty after Gianluca Bollini pushed substitute Ian Zammit in the box. Zammit picked himself up to drive his shot past Montanari from the spot.

Second Qualifying round vs FC Minsk

Europa League FC Minsk

During the first round of the Second Qualifying round, Valletta were held to a 1-1 home draw by Belarusian team FC Minsk.

The match was a balanced affair with FC Minsk enjoying a physical edge thanks to their superior match fitness, but Valletta produced a gallant display throughout.

Their commitment was there for all to see as the City players chased every ball and tried to push forward incessantly, but they lacked punch up front.

Valletta’s evening started badly as they fell behind after five minutes.

Hamza Barry fell Dmitry Gorbushin outside the box and, from the ensuing free-kick, Aliaksandr Sachyuka’s shot sailed into the net at the near post after Valletta goalkeeper Pietro Marino appeared to have been wrong-footed by a feint from an FC Minsk player.

The early goal was a hammer blow for Valletta, but they replied immediately through Brazilian Denni Dos Santos whose curling shot hit the outside of the far post.

FC Minsk created another chance when Raman Behunov stormed into the box from the left to collect Aliaksei Bialevich’s curling cross but his shot was wide.

The Belarussian side were causing Valletta problems with their brisk movement and fast counter-attacks.

Midway into the first half, Behunov again ran into the box from the right, and his pass was deflected into the path of Aliakesandr Makas who flicked wide from a favourable position.

As half-time approach, Valletta intensified their pressure. A cross by Ryan Fenech was blocked by the FC Minsk goalkeeper who easily outjumped Shaun Bajada, but on the stroke of half-time, Valletta levelled matters.

A mistake by Aliaksandr Sachyuka prove costly as his mishit backpass was intercepted by the persistent Fenech who drove home from close range.

FC Minsk showed better ideas at the start of the second half. Sergiy Rozhov, who had come on after half-time, released Bialevich who fired wide.

Thirteen minutes into the second half, Mark Miller withdrew Spanish striker Arnal Conde, who was making his first appearance for Valletta, with Nigerian James Aud-Gustine Obaje coming in.

Three minutes past the hour, Ryan Fenech’s long-range drive was stopped by the FC Minsk goalkeeper.

Revitalised by the running of their two substitutes, Rozhok and Vizal Kibuk, FC Minsk were penetrating the Valletta defence with worrying ease.

Kibuk raced into the box to latch on to Rozhok’s pass but his angled grounder was narrowly off target.

There was an even bigger scare for Valletta when Raman Vasiliuk’s diagonal effort came off the base of a post.

Still, Valletta refused to lie down. Ryan Fenech went close with a powerful shot that flew wide of a post.

With nine minutes remaining, Pietro Marino denied FC Minsk when touching Rozhok’s grounder around the near post.

In the dying stages, Ian Zammit, who had just replaced Ryan Fenech, curled his shot wide of the far post after receiving from Obaje.

Second Qualifying Round second Leg

Europa League FC Minsk

Valletta failed to progress to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League as they were eliminated from the competition by FC Minsk 3-1 on aggregate.

Valletta were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League after suffering a 2-0 defeat to FC Minsk of Belarus in the second leg of the second qualifying round at the Torpedo Stadium in Zhodino.

FC Minsk, who qualify with a 3-1 aggregate score, will now face the winner of the clash between Rosenborg of Norway and St. Johnstone of Scotland.

Coach Mark Miller opted to start with Nigerian striker Aud-Gustine James Obaje in attack and Ian Azzopardi in defence, leaving Shaun Bajada out of the starting line-up.

After a goalless first half, the hosts managed to take the lead eight minutes after the break thanks to Roman Vasilyuk whose effort beat goalkeeper Pietro Marino.

On the hour, FC Minsk doubled the score through Vital Kibuk. A blow for the Citizens who at this point needed two goals to secure qualification.

Mark Miller included new signing Romulo Marcos Antoneli and Ian Zammit in the Citizens; bid to get back in the game but this was not enough for them to reduce the gap.

This was the first defeat for Valletta in this Europa League campaign after the two wins over SP La Fiorita and the 1-1 draw with FC Minsk in the first qualifying round.

U*BET FA TROPHY

Valletta FC FA Trophy 2013-2014

This game, the final act of season 2013-14, was emblematic of Valletta’s year. It embodied their remarkable league campaign in that they encountered a few setbacks and scares along the way only to draw on their famed resilience to reach their ultimate objective.

Galvanised by their come-from behind title triumph, Valletta were gunning for the double yesterday as they faced Sliema Wanderers in the final of the FA Trophy. Inevitably, the champions came into the cup showdown with a spring in their step, their confidence reinforced further after just two minutes, the time it took Lateef Elford-Alliyu to fire them ahead.

The bulk of the 6,700-odd crowd inside the stadium expected Valletta to canter through, but such expectations were off the mark as Sliema refused to lie down. Their endeavours contributed in making the contest more intriguing and hard-fought as the Blues, chasing a record 21st success in the competition, surged forward in search of an equaliser.

Valletta’s extraordinary effort on Saturday was always going to catch up with them as they began to betray signs of tiredness. With Matias Muchardi driving forward from midfield and Stanley Ohawuchi using his speed and agility to flit into menacing positions, Sliema fought back.

It was all hands to the pump for Valletta whose task was further compounded when they lost two key players, Alan Da Silva Souza and Roderick Briffa to injury before half-time, but fighting spirit and tenacity are traits the champions and their roaring fans have in abundance.

They rode their luck at times but, as the old saying goes, luck favours the brave. Not for the first time this season, Ryan Fenech was the epitome of bravery, his performance strengthening his claims for the Malta FA Footballer of the Year award.

Jonathan Caruana again impressed at the back, Irakli Maisuradze gave everything, also when dropping to right-back while
Shaun Bajada was at his most effective as a wide midfielder, an inspired switch from coach Andre Paus after substitute Hamza Barry had been given his marching orders.

Valletta did enough to quell Sliema’s attacks and complete a double, their first since 2001 and the first club to achieve this feat since Sliema in 2004. While all the attention was on Valletta and their party, it was hard not to feel sympathy for Sliema. They had been the outsiders after a somewhat disappointing season in which they finished fifth in the league but the Blues, who qualify for the Europa League as cup finalists, had a go at the champions as they pursued their first trophy since 2009.

Their efforts fell just short but they certainly deserved the applause of their supporters at the final whistle.

Before the game, Sliema captain Alex Muscat presented a memento to veteran striker Ivan Woods. Described by the announcer as one of the most exemplary players to grace Maltese football, Woods brought the curtains down on his competitive career yesterday.

Valletta FC Trophy 2013-2014
Although heavily outnumbered, the Sliema supporters were more numerous than usual, a big plus for the most decorated club in Maltese football. A blast from the past preceded the game as the protagonists of the 1991 FA Trophy final, won by Valletta after extra time, were called onto the pitch. These included former Malta goalkeepers Reggie Cini and Ernest Barry, Martin Gregory, Joe Zarb and Joe Camilleri.

By underlining his faith in youth, Paus handed a starting berth to Llywelyn Cremona, one of the few homegrown players in Valletta’s squad.

The other changes in the City team saw Briffa and Elford-Alliyu replace the suspended Steve Borg and Abdelkarim Nafti.
The alterations were limited to personnel as Valletta’s tactical module was the usual 4-2-3-1.

Paus exploited Briffa’s versatility as the Malta international filled in for Borg at right-back. Sliema coach Alfonso Greco
had combative midfielders Paltemio Barbetti and Mark Scerri shielding the back four while up front Trevor Cilia and Ohawuchi played either side of Woods, the central striker in the Blues’ 4-3-3 formation.

As in Saturday’s title clash, it took Valletta less than two minutes to draw first blood. And, once more, the danger
stemmed from the right wing, precisely from the feet of Da Silva Souza who sidestepped his marker before laying the ball back for Briffa. From the latter’s through-pass, Elford-Alliyu had time and space to turn before prodding past Glenn Zammit, the Sliema goalkeeper.

Sliema looked rattled but they beamed signs of improvement as the game drifted past the fifth minute. Pouncing on a half-clearance, Muchardi tried to curl the ball goalwards but his effort was deflected away for a corner. On 11 minutes, Sliema served up a reminder of their attacking ability. They were unlucky not to score as Barbetti’s speculative chip from outside the box completely surprised Nukri Revishvili, the Valletta goalkeeper, but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

The danger for Valletta refused to abate as the loose ball fell to Muchardi who volleyed wide with only the keeper to beat.
Midway into the first half, Briffa did well to put his body in front of the advancing Ohawuchi in the box after Cilia had dragged in a teasing cross from the right. At the other end, Cremona’s lob was high after he got on the end of Bajada’s free-kick.
Sliema highlighted their improvement when Ohawuchi, released by Muchardi, darted past the stationary City defence only to
blast high from an inviting position. Instead of turning the screw after their early breakthrough, Valletta stepped their foot off the accelerator while Sliema, driven on by the dynamic Muchardi, plucked up courage.

The Argentine’s perseverance was to the fore when he managed to squeeze his way through a posse of defenders but his flick was blocked by Fenech who had again tracked back to support the defenders. Ten minutes from half-time, Scerri was wide with a shot from outside the penalty area.

Valletta’s task looks to have been further complicated as Briffa hobbled off after picking up a calf strain and Da Silva also came off after sustaining an injury. Edmond Agius and Barry came on with Maisuradze switching to right-back.

Detecting Valletta’s struggles to maintain their early momentum, the Sliema fans raised the volume. The Wanderers forced two corners on the cusp of half-time and from the second, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino directed the ball into the goalmouth but Woods flicked wide.

Sliema should have levelled five minutes into the second half. Racing past the back-tracking Maisuradze, Ohawuchi was clear as he reached Woods’s clever ball but the Nigerian’s grounder ended inches wide after a slight deflection.

A sight of relief coursed through the City players and fans. Barry strode forward through the middle but his howitzer ended in no man’s land. The sight of a midfielder, Maisuradze, patrolling the right flank invited Sliema to attack from that side.
The incoming Jacob Borg almost gifted Valletta a goal as his attempt to control the ball from Luke Dimech’s long cross only served to free Elford-Alliyu but the latter’s effort was repelled by Zammit.

Valletta FC FA Trophy 2013-2014
Sliema’s spirits rose further when, 20 minutes from time, Barry was shown a straight red card by Pisani after the Gambian appeared to aim a kick at Gatt Baldacchino. Barry’s dismissal brought back memories of Njongo Priso’s red card in the 2009 FA Trophy final defeat to Sliema.

Paus responded by throwing on Ian Azzopardi for Cremona with Bajada moving into midfield. Zammit needed two touches to tame a set-piece cross-shot from Denni who probably played his last match in a City shirt yesterday. With 14 minutes left, Greco played his last card, unleashing another forward, Abubakar Bello-Osagie, who has just recovered from a knee injury, for Cilia.

The Sliema coach made another positional change, hurling Gatt Baldacchino upfield with Barbetti dropping further back.
Seven minutes later, Zammit kept Sliema in the game when blocking Fenech’s freekick. Bajada then fired wide, after
good work by Agius, as ten-man Valletta began to cause Sliema more problems on the counter. The game opened up, Barbetti going close with a sweetly-struck drive that took a deflection.

Fourth official Jurgen Spiteri indicated three minutes of stoppage time, prompting scores of City fans to climb on the perimeter wall before running on the pitch in celebration at the final whistle.

VALLETTA – N. Revishvili, J. Caruana, R. Fenech, R. Briffa (E. Agius), S. Bajada, L. Cremona (I. Azzopardi), L. Elford Alliyu, A. Da Silva Souza (H. Barry), D. Dos Santos, I. Maisuradze, L. Dimech.

SLIEMA W. – G. Zammit, A. Muscat, M. Scerri, S. Ohawuchi, G. Zammit, C. Gatt Baldacchino, I. Woods (A. Xuereb), T. Cilia (A. Bello Osagie), P. Barbetti, M. Muchardi, B. Muscat (J. Borg), S. Biancardi.

Date: 01.05.14 Time: 15:00 Venue: National Stadium

Yellow Cards: I. Woods, P. Barbetti, S. Biancardi, M. Muchardi (S) S. Bajada (V)

Red Cards: H. Barry (V)

Scorers: 2′ L. Elford

Referee: C. Pisani

Source – Times of Malta.com

BOV Premier League

Valletta Champions 2013 - 2014

In a repeat of the 1998 title clash, Valletta showed nerves of steel to keep Birkirkara at bay.

Leading through Shaun Bajada’s superb free-kick, Valletta held their composure to protect their lead before applying the killer touch with a stoppage-time goal from substitute Roderick Briffa, sparking an invasion by their fans as referee Chris Lautier blew the final whistle.

As more City fans ran on the pitch, the Birkirkara fans hurled seats, and some tried to force an iron gate open, but the tension subsided when the police moved in to deter the Stripes supporters.

Andre Paus, the Valletta coach, pulled off a surprise as he handed a starting role to young forward Luke Montebello, formerly of Birkirkara, at the expense of experienced midfielder Roderick Briffa had to settle for a place on the bench.

The game was off to a storm as Valletta took the lead inside the opening two minutes. Veering infield from the right, Alan Da Siva Souza was fouled Paul Fenech outside the box. The distance to Justin Haber’s goal was considerable but Shaun Bajada unleashed a stunning free-kick that gave Justin Haber, the Birkirkara goalkeeper, no chance.

The early goal rattled Birkirkara but they hit back.

Close to the eighth minute, they protested for a penalty after Steve Borg challenged Paul Fenech but Lautier saw nothing wrong and cautioned the Birkirkara midfielder for dissent.

From the resultant corner, taken by Jhonnattann Benites, the ball flew towards the far post where Zach Muscat sent his header towards goal only for Nukri Revishvili to tip the ball over the bar.

Valletta were quick to break on the counter. Denni Dos Santos, capitalising on the acres of space behind Herrera, tried to unbalance Gareth Sciberras but the Birkirkara captain blocked his effort.

On another occasion, Alan Da Silva Souza robbed the dithering Matthius Bissi of the ball but his angled grounder was stopped by Haber.

The game remained exciting. Gareth Sciberras ran towards the by-line but his cross-cum-shot was cut out by Nukri Revishvili.

The referee turned down another penalty claim from Birkirkara after Haruna’s drive from the edge of the box came off a defender.

Valletta FC Champions 2013 - 2014

Justin Haber kept Birkirkara in the game for 25 minutes as the Malta goalkeeper pushed away Alan Da Silva’s first-timer after the Brazilian had been picked out by Abdelkarim Nafti following another well-crafted Valletta attack.

A shot by Denni Dos Santos was deflected into the grateful hands of Haber but, on 27 minutes, Valletta squandered an inviting chance to double their lead.

Abdelkarim Nafti traded passes with Denni before bursting forward on the left. His cross flew towards Luke Montebello who headed over with the goal at his mercy.

There was another scare for the champions when Alan Da Silva’s cross was met by Montebello but his header was deflected away for a corner.

Reprieved, Birkirkara almost equalised but Jhonnattann’s drive was blocked by Borg.

Three minutes past the half-hour, Herrera pressed forward on the right but his cross was headed away by Luke Dimech. Haruna, first to the clearance, passed the ball to Paul Fenech who had darted unimpeded into the box but his swerving shot was high.

Birkirkara were now pouring forward with renewed vigour. They had a great opportunity to equalise when Fenech, now drifting to the right, chipped an excellent pass to Jhonnattann but the Brazilian mishit the ball as he attempted an acrobatic volley before the alert Borg cleared the danger.

The first chance of the second half fell to Valletta as Luke Dimech’s header from Borg’s throw-in was saved by Haber.

The game became somewhat scrappy in the second half with Birkirkara struggling to break down the Citizen’s defence.

A corner by Frank Temile wreaked havoc in the City box as Revisvhili dropped the ball before the defenders cleared away for a corner.

Andre Paus the City’s mentor, responded by throwing on Roderick Briffa for Denni.

Revishvili did well to push away Herrera’s cross as the Stripes, now playing with three forwards and Haruna behind, committed more men forward.

Valletta FC Champions 2013 - 2014

Birkirkara’s optimism rose when Haruna’s through-ball reached Frank Temile, on as a substitute, but the Nigerian’s grounder was tamed by Revishvili. The Georgian goalkeeper produced an even better save to stop Frank Temile’s point-blank effort after Herrera’s curling cross from the right had eluded a sea of Valletta defenders.

Lateef Elford-Alliyu might have sealed it for Valletta when he outmuscled Muscat but his chipped effort was warded off by Haber, The game continued to ebb and flow, Temile hitting just wide after pouncing on Dimech’s half-clearance.

Valletta spurned a glorious chance to kill the game Abdelkarim Nafti blasting over after his initial shot was snuffed out by Temile.

There was no reprieve for Birkirkara as in their next attack Valletta struck. Elford-Alliyu veered infield from the right before passing to Alan Da Silva Souza who in turn teed up by Roderick Briffa. The former Birkirkara midfielder rifled the ball into the net, sparking wild celebrations among the Valletta fans, some of whom invaded the pitch as Chris Lautier blew the final whistle.

Source: timesofmalta.com

VALLETTA – N. Revishvili, S. Borg, J. Caruana, S. Bajada, L. Montebello (L. Elford), R. Fenech (E. Agius), A. Da Silva Souza , I Maisuradze, A. Nafti, D. Dos Santos, L. Dimech

BIRKIRKARA – J. Haber, Z. Muscat, N. Vukanac, M. Bissi (F. Temile), J. Zerafa, P. Fenech, G. Sciberras, R. Muscat (R. Seara), E. Herrera, S. Haruna Shodiya, J. Benites.

Scorers: 2′ S. Bajad, 94′ R. Briffa

Yellow Cards: P. Fenech (B), S. Borg, A. Nafti, N. Revishvili (V)

Man of Match: Alan Da Silva Souza (V)

Referee: Chris Lautier