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2016-2017 Valletta vs B36 Torshavn
Valletta vs B36 Torshavn

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.

Valletta vs B36 Torshavn

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 –

Valletta vs B36 Torshavn

VALLETTA 1 B36 Torshavn 0
First qualifying round First leg

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 cards: L. Aguirre (V), D. Bogason (B)

Scorers: 69′ F. Falcone (V).

Referee: Radu Petrescu

Date: 28.06.2016

Competition: Champions League

Venue: Hibs Ground

2016-2017 Valletta vs Red Star Belgrade

Valletta vs Red Star Belgrade

A gutsy performance from Valletta was not enough to earn them a positive result in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round match against Crvena Zvezda as the Serbian outfit came back from a goal down to win 2-1.

While the defeat was hard to take for Valletta, who had taken an early lead through Federico Falcone, they can still take a lot of encouragement from a bold showing against a team who, on paper, are superior to the Maltese champions.

A goal down, Red Star were always going to make a reaction in the second half but Falcone’s exit due to injury before half-time made things easier for the visitors as Valletta lost their attacking pillar.

Red Star, for whom Aleksandar Katai had a great game, scored twice in nine second-half minutes to secure victory which makes them favourites to advance to the next round of the Champions League.

The presence of scores of police officers dressed in anti-riot gear attested to the high level of security in place for this match.

A sizeable group of Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) fans made their way to Malta for this game.

Valletta coach Paul Zammit handed a first start to Steve Borg after the Malta defender recovered from injury.

The hosts were off to a brisk start, pushing forward when in possession without losing their tactical shape.

Valletta’s early efforts produced an early breakthrough on 15 minutes to the delight of their vocal fans.

And what a goal it was Federico Falcone, latching on to a great cross from fellow Argentine Leandro Aguirre, rifled a powerful volley into the far corner of the net.

Red Star looked stunned. They created a chance when Ezequiel Ibanez supplied a cross from the left but Felipe headed wide.

Valletta’s aggressive pressing was making it difficult for Red Star to build any sort of momentum.

Three minutes past the half-hour, Valletta thought they had doubled their lead when Jhonnattann picked out Falcone who advanced before hitting a curling effort home but the Argentine was flagged offside in what looked like a dubious decision by the assistant referee.

Valletta vs Red Star Belgrade

Falcone was forced to leave the field late in the first half after picking up an injury. He was replaced by Santiago Malano.

Two minutes into the second half, Valletta had a great chance to extend their advantage/ Pani’s through-ball found Malano in ample space after the Argentine had sprung open Red Star’s offside ploy. Malano galloped forward but he took a heavy touch which enabled Damir Kahriman to recoup ground and shackle the Argentine before play was stopped for a dubious foul on the Red Star goalkeeper.

Katai was Red Star’s most dangerous player with his swift incursions down the left. The Serbia winger had a low shot saved by Henry Bonello while Guelor Kanga fired wide from outside the box.

Red Star increased their pressure. Argentine Pablo Mouche ran himself into a shooting position inside the box before lifting a menacing shot that Bonello did well to push over the bar.

There was another chance for Red Star as Katai nodded over from Mouche’s cross.

In a City counter-attack, Jhonnattann pushed forward on the right but his powerful strike was beaten away by Kahriman.

From the prospect of doubling their lead, Valletta conceded an equaliser on 65 minutes. Storming into the box from the right, Katai held off Ian Azzopardi and chipped the ball over Bonello from an acute angle.

Red Star went ahead 16 minutes from time. Katai was the provider as his low cross from the left was tucked home by substitute Predrag Sikimic.

Late on, Malano had a shot saved by Kahriman.

Source –

Valletta vs Red Star Belgrade

VALLETTA 1 Red Star Belgrade 2
First qualifying round First leg

VALLETTA – H. Bonello, F. Falcone (S. Malano), J. Benites, R. Briffa (L. Cremona), I. Azzopardi (U. Calistus), R. Romao, C. Pani, J. Caruana, J. Gill Cruz, L. Aguirre, S. Borg,

RED STAR BELGRADE – D. Kahriman, A. Lukovic, Le Tallec, Kanga, Katai, (Ruiz) M. Cvetkovic, Donald, S. Srnic (Mouche), H. Veira (Sikimic), Ibanez, Phibel.

Yellow: C. Pani, R. Romao (V), Kanga, Katai (R)

Scorers: 15′ F. Falcone (V), 66′ Katai, 75′ Sikimic (R)

Referee: Alexander Harkem (Aut)

Competition: Champions League

Date: 12.07.2016

Venue: Hibs Ground