FA Trophy Valletta 7 Lija A. 1
Valletta secured a place in the as they cruised past Division One side Lija Athletic, crushing them
The Citizens proved too strong for their opponents who could only try their best to limit the damages against one of the two BOV Premier League joint-leaders.
Danilo Doncic named his strongest formation, except for goalkeeper Henry Bonello who was retained on the bench to give Yenz Cini more playing time.
They welcomed back Raed Saleh who was back from international duty with Oman.
Valletta took just ten minutes to forge ahead when off a Miguel Angel Alba corner from the left, a miskicked clearance gifted Jonathan Caruana who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Luke Bonnici.
Bonnici came to the rescue a minute later as he blocked a fine shot from the edge of the area by Bojan Kaljevic but on the 17th minute, Valletta doubled the score.
Mario Fontanella headed the ball home following an inviting cross by Enmy Pena Beltre from the right.
Matteo Piciollo made it 3-0 a minute later. The Italian received an assist on the right and controlled the ball before beating Bonnici with a diagonal shot.
Lija pulled one back on 25 minutes. Abubakar Bello-Osagie served Erjon Beu on the left and the latter’s diagonal shot gave goalkeeper Cini no chance.
A minute later, a powerful drive by Kuroki for Lija ended over the bar and just before half-time, Beu had a good effort partially saved by Cini, BelloOsagie took the rebound and served Kuroki whose conclusion
was neutralised by the goalkeeper.
Five minutes in the second half, Valletta increased the lead as Kaljevic hit low past Bonnici when served by Piciollo from the right.
Daniel Scerri saved his side three minutes later, clearing off the goal line an Alba effort, when served by Fontanella and on 58 minutes, Bello-Osagie was unlucky to hit the upright with a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
But that was the last chance for Lija as on the hour, Alba increased the lead after concluding a good run on the left with a powerful shot which ended at the back of the net.
Valletta scored the sixth goal on 67 minutes thanks to Mario Fontanella who concluded a solo run on the right flank with a low which beat the Lija custodian.
Four minutes later, Alba added another with an angled shot from the right.
One minute from time, Fontanella could have added another when he lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper having caught Bonnici out of position but his attempt ended off-target.
Source – Times of Malta, Photo Credits – Joe Borg
VALLETTA – Y. Cini, J. Caruana (69 S. Dimech), R. Camilleri, S. Malano, M. Piciollo (73 J. Micallef), E. Pena Beltre, R. Saleh, R. Muscat (62 N. Pulis), M. Alba, B. Kaljevic, M. Fontanella.
LIJA ATHLETIC – L. Bonnici, L. Muscat, D. Scerri, E. Beu, A. Sammut (73 A. Borg), P. Dandolo (65 D. Mintoff), A. Bello Osagie, M. Clinch (78 I. Borg), R. Sammut, C. Gauci, K. Kuroki.
Scorers: J. Caruana 10′; M. Fontanella 17, 67′; M. Piciollo 18′; B. Kaljevic 50′; M. Alba 60′, 71′ (V) E. Beu 25′ (L).