A goal by Federico Falcone gave Valletta a narrow lead in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League as they defeated Faroese champions B36 Torshavn 1-0 in the first leg at the Hibernians Stadium on Tuesday.
With Ryan Camilleri ruled out through suspension and Steve Borg unavailable as he is recovering from an injury, Valletta coach Paul Zammit named new signing Leandro Aguirre in the starting line-up with Santiago Malano being included as a substitute.
The Citizens had the first real goal scoring opportunity on the 21st minute when Leandro Aguirre advanced on the left after exchanging the ball with Claudio Pani and hit low, Romeu Romao took the loose ball and served Llywelyn Cremona who hit just wide. B36 replied with a good rising shot from the edge of the area by Mellemgaard. One minute from half time, Cremona went close once again when he anticipated the goalkeeper and a defender but his conclusion ended just over the bar.
Valletta finally managed to break the deadlock on 69th minute when Jhonnattan concluded a good move on the left flank with a shot which was blocked by Askham but the ball reached Federico Falcone off the rebound and the Argentine striker slammed the ball home.
The visitors threatened the Valletta rear-guard on the 77th minute but the final conclusion by Dam was weak and Bonello saved. A shot from the right by substitute Agnarsson a minute later was neutralised by the Valletta custodian. Henry Bonello performed a great save on Sebastian Pingel from outside the area.
The second leg will be played in Torshavn on Tuesday 5th July. A clash with Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade awaits the winners.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi, Juan Cruz Gill, Roderick Briffa, Federico Falcone (87′ Michael Mifsud), Claudio Pani, Leandro Aguirre, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (79′ Jean Borg), Romeu Pericles Romao, Llywelyn Cremona (57′ Santiago Malano).
B36 Trygvi Askham, Andrias Eriksen, Jonas Thor Naes, Odmar Faerø, Alex Mellemgaard (74′ Lukasz Cieslewicz), Hordur Askham, Jakup Á Borg (83′ Sebastian Pingel), Roaldur Jakobsen, Gestur Dam, Høgni Eysturoy, Hanus Thorleifsson (71′ Hannes Agnarsson).
Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU)
Assistant referees: Radu Ghinguleac, Mircea Grigoriu (ROU)
Fourth official: Marcel Birsan (ROU)
Attendance : 1,151