FK Partizan Belgrade proved too strong for Valletta as they registered a comfortable 4-1 win in the first leg of the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League at the Hibernians Stadium.
The Serbian giants were clearly a better side, making sure of victory with three goals by the end of the first half.
The game had to be interrupted twice during the first half as a number of Partizan supporters managed to enter close to the field of play carrying a banner and then others forced open one of the gates behind the goal-post.
Mark Miller made some surprise changes to the starting line-up, leaving out Jusselio, Jhonnattann and new signing João Gabriel da Silva and including Ryan Fenech and Dyson Falzon. Gabriel was included as a substitute in the second half.
The visitors took the lead after just six minutes thanks to Nemanja Tomi? who intelligently chipped the ball over goalkeeper André Krul from the right.
On the 12th minute, Michael Mifsud almost took advantage as goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovi? slipped outside the area but two defenders soon came to the rescue clearing the ball into safety
Partizan however went close once again on 16 minutes with a Lazar Markovi? effort partially saved by Krul and off the rebound, Stefan Babovi? hit just wide. Ten minutes later, Stefan Š?epovi? concluded a solo effort with a shot which sailed past the posts.
Ivan Ivanov doubled the score on 33 minutes, heading the ball home off a Stefan Babovi? corner from the right.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, Stefan Babovi? entered the penalty area from the left and served the unmarked Stefan Š?epovi? who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Krul to make it 3-0.
In added time, Ryan Fenech tried his luck with a direct freekick which was neutralised by the Partizan goalkeeper.
Eight minutes in the second half, Denni went close to reducing the gap with a low shot from the edge of the area which was deflected into a corner. On the other side of the pitch, Stefan Babovi? concluded a solo effort with a shot from inside the area ending just wide.
Valletta pulled one back on 65 minutes when Dyson Falzon released Michael Mifsud on the left and the latter beat Vladimir Stojkovi? with a diagonal shot.
Partizan regained a three-goal lead six minutes later through Milos Ostoji? who beat Krul from close range off a Babovi? freekick.
Substitute Mohamed Zubya had a shot from the edge of the area deflected into a corner on 88 minutes by the Valletta goalkeeper.
VALLETTA André Krul, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi (46′ Gabriel), Steve Borg (80′ Edmond Agius), Ryan Fenech (66′ Jhonnattann), Michael Mifsud, Roderick Briffa, William Barbosa, Riccardo Rocha, Denni, Dyson Falzon
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Jusselio Donizete, Kevin Sammut, Cleavon Frendo
Coach: Mark Miller
PARTIZAN Vladimir Stojkovi?, Vladimir Volkov, Nemanja Tomi? (76′ Mohamed Zubya), Goran Lovre (39′ Saša Ili?), Stefan Š?epovi?, Nikola Aksentijevi?, Ivan Ivanov, Saša Markovi?, Stefan Babovi?, Miloš Ostoji?, Lazar Markovi? (57′ Nikola Ninkovi?).
Subs not used: Radiša Ili?, Vojislav Stankovi?, Zvonimir Vuki?, Miloš Joji?
Coach: Vladimir Vermezovic
Referee: Liran Liany (ISR)
Assistant referees: David Elias Biton (ISR), Oren Borneshtain (ISR)
Fourth official: Roy Reinshreiber (ISR)
Yellow Cards: Denni, Fenech, Babovi?