Valletta reached the final of the U*BET FA Trophy after defeating Hamrun Spartans 6-5 on penalties. At the end of extra-time, the score was still 0-0.
In the penalty shoot-out, Andrew Hogg missed the only penalty for Valletta while the penalties by Gaetan Spiteri and Ivan Casha were neutralised by the Valletta custodian.
The Citizens held the initiative throughout the ninety minutes but the Spartans controlled their opponents in an excellent manner, keeping them at bay for the whole hundred and twenty minutes, even if they played in ten men for over forty-five minutes. Valletta also had a player sent off in extra-time.
Valletta lacked Gilbert Agius and Edmond Agius as both were serving a one-match ban while Jamie Pace was ruled out injured. The suspended Ian Zammit was missing for the Spartans.
There was hardly any goal-mouth action in the first half-hour but on the 29th minute, Terence Scerri served Michael Mifsud who controlled but hit high. Five minutes later, Terence Scerri concluded a good move with a low shot which scraped past the post, probably after a slight deflection.
Ten minutes in the second half, Kevin Sammut went close with a powerful shot from outside the area which ended just wide. On 67 minutes, Njongo Priso concluded a good move with a cross shot which was blocked and off the rebound, Dyson Falzon hit wide.
The Spartans were reduced to ten men on 74 minutes when Mark Anthony Bonnici was sent off by referee Paul Caruana.
Michael Mifsud missed a good chance two minutes from time when he hit wide from inside the area after receiving a good pass by Njongo Priso on the left.
With the score still goalless, the game went into extra-time.
Marcelo Pereira went close for the Spartans when he concluded a good move with a fine shot which ended wide on 94 minutes.
Just before the end of the first half of extra-time, Steve Bezzina was also sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Eleven minutes in the second half of extra-time, Kevin Sammut had a shot from outside the area which was parried by goalkeeper Ivan Casha.
No goals were scored and therefore the penalty shoot-out had to decide the issue. Valletta scored six and Hamrun five:
Njongo Priso (V) scored, Obinna Obiefule (H) scored;
Michael Mifsud (V) scored, Jonathan Holland (H) scored;
Kenneth Scicluna (V) scored, Martin Hrubsa (H) scored;
Dyson Falzon (V) scored, Roderick Fenech (H) scored;
Andrew Hogg (V) hit high, Gaetan Spiteri (H) – saved by goalkeeper;
Steve Borg (V) scored, Rupert Mangion (H) scored;
Kevin Sammut (V) scored; Ivan Casha (H) – saved by goalkeeper
Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
HAMRUN Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Rupert Mangion, Roderick Fenech, Manolito Micallef, Marcelo Pereira (100‘ Mead Mifsud), Gaetan Spiteri, Martin Hrubsa, Obinna Obiefule, Jonathan Holland, Clyde Camoin.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Mark Barbara, Karl Magro, Neville Galea, Lee James Agius, Mauro Busuttil.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Asst. Coach: Marco Grech
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Steve Bezzina, Kenneth Scicluna, Roderick Briffa, Dyson Falzon, Dylan Grima (70‘ Cleavon Frendo), Michael Mifsud, Terence Scerri, Njongo Priso, Kevin Sammut.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Clifford Gauci, Yessous Camilleri, Leon Camilleri, Tonio Mackay, Jordi Cruijff.
Coach: Ton Caanen
Team Manager: Nicky Saliba
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Konrad Borg, Joe Camilleri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: M. Hrubsa, R. Briffa, M. Micallef, S. Bezzina, M.A. Bonnici, J. Holland, D. Falzon, I. Casha
Red Cards: 74’ Mark Anthony Bonnici, 105’ Steve Bezzina