Valletta 1 B36 Torshavn 0
A second-half goal from Federico Falcone gave Valletta a slim but deserved 1-0 win over Faroe Islands’ champions B36 Torshavn to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the second qualifying round of the Champions League.
Valletta dominated for long stretches but B36 were solid at the back, conceding only once when Falcone pounced after goalkeeper Trygvi Askham had saved Jhonnattann’s drive.
It was a good performance from Valletta against a team that have already played 16 league games but the Whites will have rued their inability to translate their possession into more goals.
B36 only switched to attack after going behind but were denied by Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello who had an excellent game.
Valletta created the better chances in the first half as B36 adopted a prudent strategy.
Argentine striker Federico Falcone hit a poor cross-shot after being released by Jhonnattann who had broken on the counter.
Leandro Aguirre, who was making his debut for Valletta, them produced a strong drive which sailed over the bar.
It was all Valletta in these opening stages. A neat one-two between Aguirre and Jhonnattann saw the former dash into the box from the left but his grounder, from an inviting position, was wide.
Romeo Romao collected the loose ball before crossing into the six-yard box but Llywelyn Cremona hit wide.
There was another chance for Valletta late in the first half when Jhonnattann released Cremona who lifted his shot over the bar.
Valletta pushed forward after the change of ends. They were unlucky not to forge ahead as Jhonnattann’s cross created a goalmouth melee and Claudio Pani’s shot was touched on by Cremona from close range but the ball came off a B36 defenders.
More pressure from Valletta failed to open up B36 but, 20 minutes from time, Valletta opened the scoring.
Jhonnattann raced into the box from the left before hitting a low shot that was partially saved by the B36 goalkeeper but Falcone fired home from the rebound.
A goal behind, B36 tried to push forward in search of an equaliser.
They went close on 76 minutes when Hogni Eysturoy’s run into the box from the left before firing a low shot that Bonello failed to hold. A host of pink shirts tried to swoop on the loose ball but Azzopardi stood firm to repel the danger.
Bonello preserved Valletta’s lead when blocking substitute Hannes Agnarsson’s drive from the right.
Five minutes from time, Valletta had a great opportunity to increase their lead. Aguirre’s corner was met by Cruz Gill with the ball sailing towards Santiago Malano whose goalbound header was cleared off the line.
At the other end, B36, more dangerous now after pushing more men forward, were thwarted by a great save from Bonello who arced backward to first away a strong drive from Skoel Jogvan Nolsoe, a second-half substitute.
Horour Ashkam then headed over from Agnarsson’s cross.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, F. Falcone (M. Mifsud), L. Cremona (M. Santiago), J. Benites, R. Briffa, I. Azzopardi , R. Romao, C. Pani, J. Caruana, J. Gill Cruz (J. Borg), L. Aguirre.
B36 TORSHAVN – H. Eriksen, T. Naes, O. Faero, A. Mellemgaard (Ł Cieślewicz), H Askham, R. Jakobsen, G. Dam, H. Eysturoy, H. Thorleifsson (Agnarsson), T. Askham, A. Jakup Borg (Pingel).
Yellow: L. Aguirre (V), D. Bogason (B)
Scorers: 69′ F. Falcone (V).
Referee: Radu Petrescu