Day 01 Sliema W 3 Valletta 0
Sliema Wanderers were off to an impressive start to their league campaign after brushing aside champions Valletta at the National Stadium.
Ryan Fenech enjoyed an impressive debut on his return to Sliema as he capped a dynamic perfomance with two goals.
Early on, it was Valletta who made all the early running with Matteo Piciollo missing an open chance on 10 minutes he shot straight at the onrushing Jake Galea, the Sliema goalkeeper.
Past the half hour mark, Enmy Pena Beltre outpaced his marker and squared the ball to Malano but the Argentine’s diagonal effort was kept out by Galea.
But it was Sliema who drew first blood on 43 minutes.
From a Ryan Fenech corner-kick, Kurt Shaw anticipated his marker to head past Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
The goal hit Valletta hard as they tried to redress the situation.
The closest they came to troubling Sliema was through a Malano header that finished into the hands of Galea after a fine move from wingback Pena Beltre just after the break.
At the other end only an excellent triple-save by Bonello prevented Sliema from adding to their lead as the Valletta keeper pushed away efforts by Matthias Muchiardi and Jefferson in quick succession before pushing away Frank Temile’s shot with the aid of the bar.
But the writing was on the wall for Valletta as on the hour mark. Fenech’s inswinger eluded the City defenders with the ball finishing past Bonello and into an empty net.
Eight minutes from time, Fontanella was handed a golden opportunity to revive Valletta’s hopes but he volleyed the ball wide from close in after receiving perfect service from Raed Saleh.
But it was Sliema who sealed the points when in quick break, Fenech raced clear and slid the ball past the onrushing Bonello.
Ryan Fenech was voted as the BOV Player of the match.
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, S. Borg, R. Camilleri, (J. Borg) S. Malano, M. Piciollo, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, R. Saleh, M. Alba (K. Nwoko), M. Fontanella, J. Cruz Gill.
SLIEMA W – J. Galea, M. Muccardi, K. Shaw, J. Mintoff, M. Scerri (M. Sansone), J. De Assis Estacio (E. Agius), R. Fenech (J. P. Farrugia), N. Ashong, F. Temile, G. Adamovic, S. Biancardi.
Yellow Cards: S. Biancardi (S), J. Cruz Gill (V)
Scorers: 42′ K. Shaw, 60′ 84′ R. Fenech (S)
Man of Match: R. Fenech (S)
Referee: P. Farrugia