Late goal hands Valletta second win

Valletta left it till late to grab the three points as they beat Sliema Wanderers 1-0 at the National Stadium.

Both sides had players making their debut – Albert Bruce for Valletta, Johann Bezzina, Rafael Ledesma and Benjamin Essel for Sliema. Michael Mifsud and Pedrinho returned for the Wanderers after missing the first match but goalkeeper Glenn Zammit was suspended.

Valletta scored the all-important goal one minute from time when off a cross by Albert Bruce, Roderick Briffa headed the ball down to substitute Federico Falcone whose diagonal chance beat goalkeeper Entonjo Elezaj.

SLIEMA Entonjo Elezaj, Alex Muscat, Johann Bezzina, Michael Mifsud (81′ Ryan Dalli), Pedro Henrique dos Santos Calcado, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (88′ Peter Xuereb), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Marko Potezica, Benjamin Essel (38′ Gary Muir), Stefano Bianciardi, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Justin Vella, John Mintoff, Carl Cassar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi

VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana (70′ Ryan Camilleri), Ian Azzopardi, Juan Cruz Gill, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (79′ Albert Bruce), Roderick Briffa, Llywelyn Cremona, Claudio Pani, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao, Abdelkarim Nafti (71′ Federico Matias Falcone), Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Daniel Camilleri, Russell Fenech, Jean Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit

Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Nafti, Mifsud, Bianciardi, Pedrinho, Dimech, Falcone
BOV Player of the Match: Jhonnattann
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1,425

Meanwhile Balzan scored twice in the second half to beat Naxxar Lions 2-0 at the Hibernians Stadium to claim their first win after holding Hibernians in a draw in their first outing.

For Naxxar, this was the second defeat in two matches, keeping them at the bottom without any points.

Naxxar had Beninese striker Sidoine Oussou making his debut while another new player Blazo Rajovic was included as a substitute.

Following a goalless first half, Balzan managed to break the deadlock twelve minutes in the second half when Ishmael Grech floored Alfred Effiong inside the area and Godwin Mensha converted from the penalty spot.

Six minutes later, Balzan secured the three points with a second goal when off a cross by Alfred Effiong, Edison Bilbao Zarate slotted the ball past the Naxxar custodian.

NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Andre Scicluna, Luca Lodetti, Richard Cardozo, Sidoine Oussou (74′ Duane Bonnici), Ryan Cassar, Ishmael Grech, David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar (63′ Daren Falzon), Emiliano Lattes, Armando Vieira dos Santos (88′ Blazo Rajovic).
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Kurt Drago, Joel Ellul, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Stefano Grima

BALZAN Christian Cassar, Steve Bezzina, Clive Brincat, Edison Zarate, Lydon Micallef (55′ Ryan Darmanin), Terence Agius (68′ Luke Sciberras), Godwin Mensha, Alfred Effiong, Elkin Serrano Valero, Dylan Grima, Justin Grioli (75′ Samir Arab).
Subs not used: Valerio Senatore, Maxim Focsa, Sean Cipriott, Jamie Zerafa.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Wiliam Debattista, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Grech, Scicluna, Cardozo
BOV Player of the Match: Godwin Mensha
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 844