Birkirkara FC vs Valletta FC 1-3 (HT 1-1)
New recruit Terence Scerri scored twice as Valletta defeated Birkirkara 3-1 in the opening match from the BOV Premier League.
The Citizens had Jordi Cruyff and Geert den Ouden making their league debut while for Terence Scerri was making his first appearance after joining the club earlier this month. Kevin Sammut was unavailable as he was serving a one-match ban carried over from last season. Birkirkara had Spanish goalkeeper Jorge Mora, Sylvano Comvalius and substitute Carl Pulo making their first league appearance although Comvalius had already played for the Stripes in the UEFA Europa League.
The two teams shared the exchanges in the early stages with dangerous crosses by Trevor Cilia on one side and Njongo Priso on the other being cleared into safety by defenders. Valletta had the first shot at goal on 13 minutes when Dyson Falzon served Geert den Ouden from the left and the latter’s low shot was neutralised by Jorge Mora. Three minutes later, another good cross by Priso from the right was headed into a corner by defender.
Valletta managed to break the deadlock on 27 minutes when off a cross from the right by Priso, Geert den Ouden headed home past goalkeeper Jorge Mora.
Three minutes later, den Ouden seemed to be in the right place to conclude following a cross from the right by Jordi Cruyff but Terence Scerri deflected the ball slightly and the Citizens missed the scoring opportunity.
Birkirkara levelled matters eight minutes from the end of the first half when off a Michael Galea cross from the right, Sylvano Comvalius headed home from close range.
Valletta regained the lead twelve minutes in the second half when Ronni Hartvig failed to clear the ball following a cross from the left by Bezzina and Terence Scerri had the easiest of jobs in slotting the ball past goalkeeper Mora.
On 69 minutes, Terence Scerri made it 3-1 for Valletta as he hit hard past Jorge Mora after receiving a perfect pass from the right.
Luke Dimech could have increased the lead further on 75 minutes but he failed to connect from close range following a cross from the left flank.
B’KARA Jorge Mora, Andrew Scicluna, Thomas Paris, Paul Fenech, Trevor Cilia, Michael Galea, Ronni Hartvig, Sylvano Comvalius (68′ Carl Pulo), Shaun Bajada (84′ Angus Buhagiar), Joseph Zerafa, George Mallia (58′ Alan Tabone).
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Clint Zammit, Martin Anastasi, Luke Sciberras.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Branko Nisevic
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Roderick Briffa, Kenneth Scicluna, Luke Diech, Gilbert Agius, Jamie Pace, Jordi Cruyff (76′ Stefan Giglio), Dyson Falzon (50′ Steven Bezzina), Njongo Priso, Geert den Ouden (66′ Edmond Agius), Terence Scerri.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Ian Zammit, Dylan Grima, Steve Borg.
Coach: Ton Caanen
Team Manager: Nicky Saliba
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Mariano Debono
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Bajada, Priso, Cruyff, E. Agius
BOV Player of the Match: Terence Scerri
Scorers: 27′ Geert den Ouden (V)
37′ Sylvano Comvalius (B)
57′ Terence Scerri (V)
69′ Terence Scerri (V)