Valletta vs SP La Fiorita
Season 2013-2014, Valletta FC were drawn against SP La Fiorita of San Marino in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.
During the away leg, Valletta managed to beat La Fiorita 3-0 in Serravalle. It was a solid display from Mark Miller’s men who after a slow start gradually took control of proceedings and were rarely troubled by the San Marino side.
Denni scored at either side of half- time of the first leg while Ian Zammit came off the bench to add a late third goal.
The match was evenly balanced in the opening stages, but the Citizens gradually got more into the picture and deservedly took the lead on the half hour.
La Fiorita defender Federico Rinaldi handled the ball inside his area in an attempt to anticipate Ian Azzopardi and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
From the resultant penalty, Denni beat Simone Montanari with a low drive.
On the restart, Miller switched to a five-man midfield when he introduced Shaun Bajada for defender Jonathan Caruana.
The move yielded instant dividends as Valletta doubled their lead five minutes into the second half.
Dyson Falzon’s throughball released Denni who showed great footwork before beating Montanari.
Zammit came on for Denni on 85 minutes but he still found time to add a third in stoppage time.
Valletta defeated San Marino’s La Fiorita 1-0 this evening to qualify from the Europa League first qualifying round with an aggregate score of 4-0.
The solitary goal came by Ian Zammit from the penalty spot. Valletta now meet FC Minsk of Belarus
Valletta’s first half ended goalless despite Valletta creating a host of scoring chances.
Roderick Briffa supplied an excellent pass from the right to release Dyson Falzon after four minutes. Falzon swept past his marker but his cross-shot was blocked by Simone Montanari, the La Fiorita goalkeeper.
The Citizens threatened again when young Llywelyn Cremona passed to Denni but his curler was saved by Montanari.
Denni illuminated the proceedings on 17 minutes later as he lifted the ball over his marker before hitting a volley that ended just over the crossbar.
Hamza Barry fired over from the distance as Valletta remained on top.Three minutes before half-time, Denni’s angled shot was pushed away by Montanari and Falzon miscued his flick from close range.
On the stroke of half-time, Shaun Bajade hit over from the distance.Ryan Fenech, Valletta’s newly-appointed captain, went closer with a long-range piledriver which was fractionally off target.
At the other end, Valletta goalkeeper Yenz Cini, who had just replaced Pietro Marino, came to his team’s rescue when blocking Samuele Sorbera’s goalbound effort after the hosts had ben caught on the counter. Nicola Cavalli volleyed over for La Fiorita but on the stroke of time, Valletta struck.
They were awarded a penalty after Gianluca Bollini pushed substitute Ian Zammit in the box. Zammit picked himself up to drive his shot past Montanari from the spot.
Source: Times of Malta
VALLETTA 1 SP La Fiorita 0
First qualifying round
VALLETTA – P. Marino (Y. Cini), I. Azzopardi, R. Briffa, L. Dimech, D. Dos Santos, D. Falzon (I. Zammit), R. Fenech, H. Barry, J. Vandelanoitte, S. Bajada, L. Cremona (E. Agius).
SP La Fiorita – S. Montanari, S. Confalone, F. Ceci (M. Pedrelli), A. Mazzola, N. Cavalli (A. Guidi), G. Luca Bollini, M. Piccioni, D. Rinaldi (F. Bahiano), S. Sorbera, E. Rinaldi, A. Seina.
Referee: Bryn Markham Jones (Wales)
Scorers: 90′ I. Zammit (P)
Yellow Cards: J. Vandelanoitte, R. Bajada, E. Agius (V), G. Bollini, F. Rinaldi, S. Confalone,
Competition: Europa League
Venue: Centenary Stadium
Valletta vs FC Minsk
Valletta face an uphill struggle to reach the third qualifying round of the Europa League after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Belarusian team FC Minsk.
The match was a balanced affair with FC Minsk enjoying a physical edge thanks to their superior match fitness but Valletta produced a gallant display throughout.
Their commitment was there for all to see as the City players chased every ball and tried to push forward incessantly but they lacked punch up front.
Valletta’s evening started on the a bad note as they fell behind after five minutes.
Hamza Barry fell Dmitry Gorbushin outside the box and, from the ensuing free-kick, Aliaksandr Sachyuka’s shot sailed into the net at the near post after Valletta goalkeeper Pietro Marino appeared to have been wrong-footed by a feint from an FC Minsk player.
The early goal was hammer blow for Valletta but they replied immediately through Brazilian Denni whose curling shot hit the outside of the far post.
FC Minsk created another chance when Raman Behunov stormed into the box from the left to collect Aliaksei Bialevich’s curling cross but his shot was wide.
The Belarussian side were causing Valletta problems with their brisk movement and fast counter-attacks.
Midway into the first half, Behunov again ran into the box from the right and his pass was deflected into the path of Aliakesandr Makas who flicked wide from a favourable position.
As half-time approach, Valletta intensified their pressure. A cross by Ryan Fenech was blocked by the FC Minsk goalkeeper who easily outjumped Shaun Bajada but on the stroke of half-time, Valletta levelled matters.
A mistake by Aliaksandr Sachyuka prove costly as his mishit backpass was intercepted by the persistent Fenech who drove home from close range.
FC Minsk showed the better ideas at the start of the second half. Sergiy Rozhov, who had come on after half-time, released Bialevich who fired wide.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Miller withdrew Spanish striker Arnal Conde, was was making his first appearance for Valletta, with Nigerian James Aud-Gustine Obaje coming in.
Three minutes past the hour, Fenech’s long-range drive that was stopped by the FC Minsk goalkeeper.
Revitalised by the running of their two substitutes, Rozhok and Vizal Kibuk, FC Minsk were penetrating the Valletta defence with worrying ease.
Kibuk raced into the box to latch on to Rozhok’s pass but his angled grounder was narrowly off target.
There was an even bigger scare for Valletta when Raman Vasiliuk’s diagonal effort came off the base of a post.
Still, Valletta refused to lie down. Fenech went close with a powerful shot that flew just wide of a post.
With nine minutes remaining, Marino denied FC Minsk when touching Rozhok’s grounder around the near post.
In the dying stages, Ian Zammit, who had just replaced Fenech, curled his shot wide of the far post after receiving from Obaje.
Source – Times of Malta
VALLETTA 1 FC Minsk 1
Second qualifying round First leg
VALLETTA – P. Marino, Y. Camilleri, R. Briffa, L. Dimech, D. Dos Santos, D. Falzon, R. Fenech (I. Zammit), H. Barry, J. Vandelanoitte, S. Bajada (J. Bajada), A. Conde (A. Obaje)
FC Minsk – Vladzimir Bushma, Raman Behvnou, Siarhei Sasnouski, Aliaksandr Sviarchymski, Siarhei Kazeka, Raman Vasiliuk, Aliaksandr Sachyuka, Dmilry Gorbushim (Sergiy Rozhok), Aliaksei Bialevich (Yury Asiraukh), Aliaksandr Makas (Vital Kibuk), Milos Rnic.
Referee: Oliver Drachta (Austria)
Scorers:5′ A. Sachivko, 44′ R. Fenech
Yellow Cards: R. Briffa, H. Barry (V), M. Rnic, A. Belevich, Y. Ostrouh, S. Rozhok.
Competition: Europa League
Venue: National Stadium Ta’ Qali.