Mario Fontanella scored on the 90th minute as Valletta held HSK Zrinjski Mostar in a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round champions path at the HNK Zrinjski Stadion in Mostar on Thursday.
This was the third draw for Danilo Doncic’s side in Europe following a goalless draw in Shkoder and a 1-1 draw at the Centenary Stadium against Kukësi of Albania which saw the Citizens bow out of the UEFA Champions League on the away-goals rule.
On the other hand, this 1-1 draw in Mostar leaves high hopes for the Citizens to make it to the next stage of the competition where they would face Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria or Vidi FC of Hungary.
Doncic made one change to the team which drew with Kukësi last week as Kyrian Nwoko replaced Enmy Pena Beltre.
Following a goalless first half, the hosts managed to take the lead on the 50th minute thanks to a low strike by Nemanja Bilbija which beat goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
However on the 90th minute, Mario Fontanella managed to equalise for Valletta as he slotted the ball past goalkeeper Soldo from close range following an assist by Zerafa from the left. An important goal ahead of the second leg in programme on Thursday 2nd August at the Centenary Stadium.
ZRINJSKI Ivan Brkic (45′ Antonio Soldo), Marin Galic, Hrvoje Barisic, Frane Cirjak, Semir Pezer, Pero Stojkic, Ognjen Todorovic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Milos Filipovic (64′ Marko Bencun), Amer Bekic (70′ Milos Acimovic), Nemanja Bilbija.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg (49′ Juan Cruz Gill), Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciollo, Kyrian Nwoko (65′ Bogdan Gavrila), Joseph Zerafa, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Rowen Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba (86′ Jean Borg), Mario Fontanella.
Referee; Neil Doyle (IRE)
Assistant Referees: Emmet Dynan, Allen Lynch (IRE)
Fourth Official: Graham Kelly (IRE)