1972-1973 Valletta vs Inter
A 22nd minute goal by outside-right Massa enabled F.C. lnternazionale of Milan to win their first round second leg match yesterday afternoon at the Stadium at the expense of a gallant and flighting City side.
And to the young Valletta side go the honours of a match in which they never showed any signs of inferiority against their illustrious opponents.
The Citizens played the game as it should be played -attacking and defending when necessary, but they never crowded their goal posts allowing Inter to manouvre in midfield, but rarely giving them a, chance to have a pot at goal.
Debono, Cilia, Pace, Vella and Seychell were the pick of the Citizens, but it must be mentioned the all the players donning the white jersey fought hard all the way to obtain a better result. and with better luck could have also obtained a drawn result.
Goalie DebOno was confident between the post and he dealt with the shots at his direction with great sense of anticipation. Full-back Galea and Dimech also showed good combination, their timely tackles on their direct opponents being a delight to watch.
Skipper Pace was the shadower of inside-forward Bertini in the first period, but when the latter was replaced for the second half by Moro, he had a more advanced role feeding his forwards with some good passes. Dominant in the defence was once international veteran centre-half Joe Cilia. Not only did he play, Magistrelli out of the game, but always found time to dispel any danger coming from Mazzola’s way, and initiating some attacks.
Vella was everywhere to be seen. He worked hard and intelligently, fielding his strikers with some telling passes and going near on two occasions with his hard shots at goal.
Much more was expected from Giglio and Borg who, although working hard , never found the speed to match their opponents. Young Magro, on the wing, and centre forward Grech were too tiny near the Inter giants
Giubertoni and Facchetti but were always dangerous when in possession of the ball.
Outside left Seychell showed mastery in his dribbling and rather perfect ball control, allthough at times he kept the ball too much at his feet.
On the whole, it was a collective game that the Citizens played. They never resorted to ultra-defensive tactics. They played the ball well along the ground with sense, always trying to find the, space on the wings.
Inter disappointed the large stadium crowd and it was Valletta who entertained the 11,070 present with some intelligent and attacking football particularly in the first period.
Inter more than lost the valuable services of international Boninsegna. His replacement, Magistrelli in his first year with the Milanese club failed to make the least impression on the City defence, being totally dominated by Cilia.
Inside – forward Sandro Mazzola was the general of the side, and although he also did not leave the best of impressions, his class was there for all to see, his mazy dribbling in the second period bringing the only applause from the crowd towards Inter.
In my opinion, Inter never forced the pace. They had a 6-1 lead at the start and their minds were already at rest regards their qualification for the next round. But they played their normal type of game, passing the ball along the ground and trying to keep possession of the ball until finding an open space in the City defence. So dominant were the City defenders over the Inter forwards, that it was international full-back Facchetti and ‘libero’ Burgnich who really tested goalie Debono.
With the Valletta side of the Stadium chanting “Forza Valletta City” the match kicked off with the Citizens going straight on attack in an effort to obtain an early goal, and for the first fifteen minutes they attacked persistently on Inter’s fort.
After only two minutes Giglio received from Magro on the edge of the area, but his lob sailed over the bar. A minute later, the same player crossed dangerously in front of Vieri, but Magro was too short to reach the ball. After nine minutes, with Valletta persisting in attack, Vella volleyed hard from the edge of the area, his shot going inches over the bar. A little later it was Seychell who shot wide when a pass to the unmarked Vella could have paid better dividends.
Inter came more into the picture after the first fifteen minutes, and in the 17th minute, in the first real attack, they nearly took the lead, when from a Bedin cross, Magistrelli headed just wide. A minute later at the other end, Vella put Grech through, but with Giubertoni in attendance, the centre-forward lifted high over the bar.
A little later it was Seychell who shot wide when a pass to the unmarked Vella could have paid better dividends.
Inter came more into the picture after the first fifteen minutes, and in the 17th minute in their first real attack they nearly took the lead, when from a Bedin cross Magistrelli headed just wide. A minute later at the other end Vella put Grech through but with Giubertoni in attendance the centre-forward lifted high over the bar.
In the 22nd minute Valletta were dealt with the fatal blow. Cilia stopped Magistrelli but his clearance hit Bedin and rebounded to Massa who beat Cilia before placing the ball well wide to the advancing Debono to score the all-important goal.
Valletta replied with a fine personal effort from Seychell who paved his way past three defenders, but his shot was well saved by Vieri. At the other end in a fast counter-attack, Facchetti scored for Inter, but the goal was rightly disallowed for an offside.
In the 30th minute, Giglio went near with a volley from the edge of the area. However, luck also failed to turn its face to the Citizens, in the 35th minute when a hard free-kick from Vella missed the target by proverbial hair’s breath.
In the 37th minute, Magistrelli managed to stop a hard shot at goal in front of Debono, but the City’s keeper dod well to extend his foot to deny the centr-forward from dribbling round him and shooting onto an empty net.
In the second period Inter replaced Bertini with Moro.
In the 4th minute, the Greek referee denied City a penalty when Grech was held in the area by Giubertoni, the ball coming to Giglio, who kicked high over the bar.
In the sixth minute, after a short incident with Pace, Bedin was replaced by Oriali.
In the 10th minute, City were unlucky again when Seychell dribbling his way past four Inter defenders squared to Vella to hit first time, the ball going straight to Vieri’s waiting hands.
In the 12th minute, Valletta were awarded a free-kick just outside the Inter area, Cilia took charge of the kick and selling the dummy to the whole Inter defence, he passed to Grech instead of shooting direct at goal Grech passed to Magro, who hit into the side netting.
A minute later as Valletta continued with their pressing, Vieri had to dive at Grech’s feet to avoid a dangerous situation. After 16 minutes Inter also rightly appealed for a penalty when Mazzola dribbled his way past no less than six Valletta players, before being floored in the area. But the referee waved play on.
In the 9th minute, goalie Debono brought off a wonder-save from a powerful free-kick by Burgmich, while in the 27th minute, as Valletta were going out of steam due to their earlier efforts, a Mazzola cross was foolishly fumbled by Moro who first-timed out with only Debono to beat.
In the 29th minute, Inter nearly scored again, when following a fine Magistrelli-Massa move on the right, the latter’s shot was turned to corner by Debono. In the 32nd minute Magistrelli also hit wide from a dubious off-side position.
In the 39th minute Valletta replaced the injured Magro with Agius, but try as they might in their final efforts Valletta could not pierce the strong Inter rearguard.
Source: Times of Malta
Valletta 0 Inter 1
First round, 2nd leg
Valletta: Debono, Galea, Dimech, Pace, Cilia, Vella, Magro (Agius), Borg, Grech, Giglio, Seychell.
Inter: Vieri, Bellugi, Facchetti, Bedin (Oriali), Glubertoni, Burgnich, Massa, Mazzola, Magistrelli, Bertini (Moro), Bini
Referee: Mr Lazios (Greece)
Scorers: 23′ Massa
Date: 28 September 1972
Competition: UEFA Cup
Empire Stadium – Gzira