Valletta win BOV Super Cup
After winning the double at the end of last season, Valletta crowned a successful 2018 by lifting the BOV Super Cup after defeating Balzan by the odd goal in three.
This was the 12th Super Cup win for the Citizens, who are currently sharing second place with Gżira United in the BOV Premier League, two points behind leaders Hibernians.
Balzan, who were contesting the final of the Super Cup for the first time in their history, continue to chase their first major honour.
After conceding an early goal, they managed to level matters but during the second half, struggled to create any goal scoring opportunities.
Coach Marko Micovic preferred Dale Camilleri to Sean Cipriott as one of the defensive midfielders along with Nenad Sljivic.
Justin Grioli and Ivan Bozovic were employed on the flanks with Michael Johnson and Elkin Serrano Valero as the two central defenders.
Kadu along with the two wingers – Alex Alves and Uros Ljubomirac assisted Alfred Effiong in attack.
Valletta, on the other hand, had one change from the team which hammered Tarxien Rainbows as Miguel Alba was preferred to Jean Borg.
With Ryan Camilleri and Joseph Zerafa both unavailable, Doncic deployed Steve Borg and Jonathan Caruana as central defenders with Enmy Pena Beltre and Raed Saleh on the flanks.
Alba, Mario Fontanella and Piciollo supported Bojan Kaljevic in a 4-2-3-1 formation Valletta went in search of an early goal but Balzan goalkeeper Steve Sultana performed a good save on a cross from the right by Alba after just four minutes.
The Citizens drew first blood on nine minutes when off a cross by Alba from the right, Johnson committed an own goal as he could only deflect the ball into the net.
On 22 minutes, Valletta could have doubled the score but Kaljevic failed to connect off an Alba freekick.
Six minutes later, Alba’s freekick ended just over the bar. Balzan levelled matters in the 36th minute.
Alves took full advantage of an erratic pass by Pena Beltre, when pressed by Ljubomirac, and beat Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello with a fine shot from inside the area.
Valletta’s response arrived two minutes later with a cross from the right by Alba, two but Steve Sultana neutralised his attempt.
For the second half, Micovic was forced to replace Grioli with Steve Bezzina as the former sustained an injury just before the end of the first half.
Three minutes on the restart, Balzan threatened with a Kadu free-kick from the left but Jonathan Caruana headed the ball into a corner.
Sultana came to his side’s rescue nine minutes later with a good save on a cross-shot from the right by Steve Borg.
With Dale Camilleri also having to abandon the field of play injured, the Balzan coach included another striker – Andrija Majdevac.
However, Valletta regained the lead on 77 minutes. Piciollo served Alba on the right and off the latter’s cross, Mario Fontanella flicked the ball home past Sultana.
In the remaining minutes, the Citizens controlled their opponents without particular difficulty to secure victory and lift the trophy for the 12th time in the club’s history.
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, J. Caruana, S. Borg, S. Malano, M. Piciollo, E. Pena Beltre, R. Saleh, R. Muscat, B. Kaljevic (J. Borg), M. Fontanella (N. Pulis), M. Alba (K. Nwoko)
BALZAN – S. Sultana, J. Grioli (S. Bezzina), D. Camilleri (A. Majdevac), N. Sljivic, A. Da Paixao Alves, D. Johnson (L. Micallef), A. Effiong, U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, E. Serrano Valero, C. De Fiori Mendes.
Yellow Cards: B. Kaljevic, R. Muscat, M. Fontanella, M. Piciollo (V), A. Da Paicao Alves, Kadu, I. Bozovic, E. Serrano Valero (B)
Scorers: 9′ B. Klajevic, 77′ M. Fontanella (V), 36′ A. Da Paicao Alves (B).
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann