Paul Fenech puts Birkirkara in FA Trophy final

Paul Fenech was the hero for Birkirkara as the Stripes were the first team to reach the final of the FA Trophy, sponsored by Attian Group, after defeating holders Valletta 1-0 after extra-time.

The Stripes, who are chasing their fifth FA Trophy win after a rather disappointing BOV Premier League campaign in which they finished third, thirteen points behind champions Hibernians and four behind Valletta, will be facing the winner of the second semi-final between Hibs and Qormi in next Saturday’s final.

Valletta, who are the FA Trophy holders after defeating Sliema 1-0 in last season’s final, end the season empty-handed after losing the BOV Super Cup to Birkirkara in August and finishing second in the BOV Premier League.

The two teams shared the exchanges throughout the ninety minutes and goal-scoring opportunities were quite rare. In fact, it was no surprise that the game went into extra-time as no goals were scored at the end of regular time.

Birkirkara scored the all-important goal five minutes in the second half of extra-time when off a cross by Liliu from the left, Zachary Muscat headed the ball down and following a deflection by Nassir Maachi, substitute Paul Fenech past goalkeeper Nicky Vella from close-range.

B’KARA Justin Haber, Matheus Bissi da Silva (61′ Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais), Nikola Vukanac, Mauricio Matias Latini Mazzetti, Joseph Zerafa (108′ Nassir Ahmed Maachi), Zach Muscat, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma, Edward Herrera, Rowen Muscat, Ryan Camenzuli, Ryan Scicluna (83′ Paul Fenech).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Gareth Sciberras, Edmond Agius, Kurt Zammit.
Coach: Paul Zammit

VALLETTA Nicky Vella, Ian Azzopardi, Ryan Camilleri, Ryan Fenech, Hamza Barry, Roderick Briffa, Ikenna Paul Hillary (113′ Djamel Leeflang), Shaun Bajada (117′ Christian Caruana), Llywelyn Cremona (60′ Lateef Elford-Alliyu), Abdelkarim Nafti, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Ryan Caruana, Hamid Alkamali, Kurt Borg, Jean Borg.
Coach Gilbert Agius

Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Luke Portelli
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Scicluna, R. Fenech, Ledesma, Nafti, Hillary, Mazzetti, Dimech
Scorer: 110′ Paul Fenech
Attendance: 2,205