Day 1 Valletta 0 Mosta 1
Valletta’s title defence got off to a terrible start as Mosta grabbed a stunning victory to kick-off their Premier league season.
The Lilywhites dominated possession but fell behind in the first half to Nicky Vella’s blunder who gifted Bojan Kaljevic’s opener. Rejuvenated in the second half, Valletta looked like they might turn tables on their opponents but their casual approach contrasted starkly with Mosta’s enterprise.
With Valletta applying the pressure from the off, Mosta endured some nervous moments. Abdelkarim Nafti veered towards the box from the left but his effort was deflected into corner.
It seemed as though the Lilywhites would get reward their bright start deserved when they were awarded a penalty after 17 minutes as Adrian Borg threw his hands up to deny Steve Borg’s cross reaching its destination and the assistant referee flagged for the spot kick. But Elford-Alliyu missed the resulting penalty with Omar Borg, the Mosta goalkeeper guessing the right way to make the save.
Valletta’s night took a further turn for the worst after 24 minutes when the Valletta custodian let a long range Kaljevic shot slip through his body to gift the lead to Enrico Piccioni’s side. Ryan Camilleri’s injury few minutes later forced Agius into his first substitution with Dimech coming on for the former Hibs defender.
The Lilywhites could easily have fallen apart but they responded positively as Kooh Sohna forced Borg to push his low effort on post after 34 minutes.
Four minutes into the second half, Alliyu embarked on a surging run before unleashing a low drive which finished just wide of Borg’s far post. Borg was called into action three minutes later, pushing away Nafti’s dangerous free-kick.
Agius introduced Christian Caruana for Nafti and adjusted to a two-pronged attack with the former Floriana midfielder playing behind in a roaming role.
With several Valletta players in Mosta’s half, Shawn Bajada swept in an inviting cross from the left but Caruana’s effort was fisted away by Borg in 76 minutes.
Few moments later, Mosta were quick to switch from defence to attack as Milovanovic powered forward before being dispossessed by Dimech.
A tense finale loomed and three minutes from time, Kooh Sohna laid the groundwork but his measured cross from the right drifted into the box but substitute Luke Montebello, coming on for Hugo Faria, header badly wide off the near post.
VALLETTA – N. Vella, J. Caruana, I. Azzopardi, S. Borg, R. Camilleri (L. Dimech), R. Fenech, H. Faria (L. Montebello), R. Kooh Sohna, L. Elford, S. Bajada, A. Nafti (C. Caruana).
MOSTA – O. Borg, T. Farrugia, A. Borg, D. Falzon, R. Grech (K. Pulo), B. Kaljevic (K. Fendo), S. Jovanovic (K. Zammit), N. Milovannovic, D. Mariano Bueno, K. Magro, M. Micallef.
Date: 17.08.14 Time: 20:30 Venue: National Stadium
Scorers: 23′ B. Kaljevic
Yellow Cards: K. Magro, K. Pulo (M)
Man of Match: Omar Borg (M)
Referee: Fyodor Zammit