Valletta collected the three points in a 2-1 win over Mosta despite playing for all of the second half in ten men.
Goalkeeper Pietro Marino, Aziz Corr Nyang, Hamza Barry and substitute Abdelkarim Nafti were making their league debut for Valletta together with Yessous Camilleri who was on loan with other clubs in recent years. Mosta, on the other hand, had five new foreigners Bojan Kaljovic, Lukas Duriska, Christian Fernandes, Joel Sunny Boy Toe and Francisco Arrigada with goalkeeper Omar Borg also making his debut.
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The Citizens had the first attempt at goal on the 3rd minute with a Barry Hamza freekick which was parried by Omar Borg. Four minutes later, there was no one to conclude off an inviting cross by Hamza. A header by Edmond Agius scraped past the post off an overhead kick by Aziz Corr Nyang on the 12th.
A low diagonal shot by Edmond Agius, served by Ryan Fenech, just missed the target on 25 minutes and five minutes later, in an attempt for Mosta, a Christian Fernandez effort, off a Manolito Micallef freekick just missed the target.
Valletta took the lead on 32 minutes when off a cross by Nyang, Denni Rocha Dos Santos flicked the ball past goalkeeper Omar Borg.
Borg deflected into a corner a fierce shot by Barry Hamza on 36 minutes and on the other side of the pitch, Fernandes released Joel Sunny Boy Toe who darted inside the penalty area but his cross shot was intercepted by a defender. Four minutes from time, the Liberian striker was floored just outside the area by Edmond Agius with the Valletta midfielder being sent off by referee Glenn Tonna for an early shower.
Five minutes in the second half, Omar Borg turned into a corner a Hamza effort and from the resulting corner, Yessous Camilleri’s effort was blocked by the Mosta goalkeeper but the Valletta defender took the rebound, tapping the ball into the net.
The Blues pulled one back nine minutes from time thanks to substitute James Brincat who beat Pietro Marino from close range.
VALLETTA Pietro Demetrio Marino, Ryan Fenech, Edmond Agius, Roderick Briffa, Aziz Corr Nyang, Hamza Barry, Dyson Falzon (78′ Shaun Bajada), Jason Lee Vandelannoite, Yessous Camilleri, Denni Rocha Dos Santos (78′ Abdelkarim Nafti), Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Ian Azzopardi, Ian Zammit, Kurt Magro, Llywelyn Cremona.
Coach: Mark Miller
MOSTA Omar Borg, Kane Farrugia, Tyrone Farrugia, Alexander Cini, Ryan Grech (62’ Kurt Zammit), Bojan Kaljovic, Lukas Duriska, Christian Fernandes, Manolito Micallef, Joel Sunny Boy Toe (73’ Bryan Agius), Francisco Arrigada (62’ James Brincat).
Subs not used: Kurt Rizzo, Mark Brincat, Ishmael Grech, Adrian Borg.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Alan M. Sant
Yellow Cards: Arrigada, Borg, Briffa
Red Cards: 40′ Edmond Agius
Scorers: 32′ Denni Rocha Dos Santos, 51′ Yessous Camilleri, 81′ James Brincat
BOV Player of the Match: Barry Hamza
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At the Centenary Stadium, newly-promoted Naxxar Lions and Floriana shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Naxxar gave a very good account of themselves in this first outing and all in all it was a fair result as neither side deserved to leave the pitch empty-handed.
Making their debut for Naxxar were Marlon Briffa, Andrew Decesare, Terence Scerri and foreigners Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Thiago Lopes de Souza together with Osi Lucky Agboebina who was included as a substitute.
Goalkeeper Daniel Hanford, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Gary Muir and Diogo Pinehiro de Souza and Daniel Bogdanovic were making their first appearance for the Greens together with new coach Ian Dawes.
The Greens went close on the 8th minute with a close-range effort by Christian Caruana off a Daniel Bogdanovic freekick. On the 22nd, Igor Coronado released Bogdanovic inside the area and the latter’s conclusion was somehow parried by Julian Azzopardi. FOur minutes later, a header by Bogdanovic, off a cross by Gary Muir was saved by the Naxxar goalkeeper.
Naxxar missed an excellent opportunity on the 28th minute with Kurt Drago failing to connect off an inviting freekick by Gilmar. Julian Azzopardi was prominent once again with a great save on Igor Coronado on the 39th.
Three minutes in the second half, Igor Coronado was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the area. A Terence Scerri effort was neutralised by Hanford on the 51st minute.
The Lions forged ahead on 75 minutes when a first-time effort by Marlon Briffa was deflected by Terence Scerri past goalkeeper Daniel Hanford.
Four minutes later, Floriana equalised thanks to a cross shot from the right by Gary Muir which beat Azzopardi.
In added time, Naxxar almost notched the winner when off a corner by Gilmar, Thiago Lopes’ header beat goalkeeper Daniel Hanford but the ball was cleared off the goal line by a defender.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Marlon Briffa, Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar (86′ Victor Bellia), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Andrew Decesare, Pablo Doffo, Kurt Drago, Thiago Lopes de Souza, Andre Rocha dos Santos (73′ Osi Lucky Agboebina), Terence Scerri (88′ Daren Falzon).
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, John Debono, Jurgen Debono, Yuri Martines De Oliveira.
Coach: Winston Muscat
FLORIANA Daniel Hanford, Sunday Eboh, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Sacha Borg, Gary Muir, Clyde Borg, Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa, Christian Caruana, Daniel Bogdanovic, Steve Pisani (80′ Brooke Farrugia), Igor Coronado.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Francesco Guzman, Isaac Galea, Joseph Borg, Jonathan Xerri, Luca Casha.
Coach: Ian Dawes
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Eboh, Andre Rocha
Scorers: 75′ Terence Scerri (N); 79′ Gary Muir (F)
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro