Sliema Wanderers had a brilliant start in their BOV Premier League campaign as they defeated champions Valletta 3-0 at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Making their debut for Sliema were Jake Galea and Ryan Fenech while Jean Paul Farrugia was included as a substitute after re-joining the club from FC Chiasso. Valletta, on the other hand, had Mario Fontanella making his league debut.
The Wanderers took the lead two minutes from the end of the first half when off a Ryan Fenech corner from the right, Kurt Shaw headed home past goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Eight minutes in the second half, Sliema went close to doubling the score when off a cross by John Mintoff from the right, Frank Temile’s shot was partially saved by Bonello, Mathias Muchardi hit the upright, Frank Temile took the rebound with a shot from the edge of the area but the ball was turned onto the crossbar by the goalkeeper with Muchardi hitting wide.
The Wanderers were not to be denied on the hour when Ryan Fenech’s direct freekick from the right bounced in front of goalkeeper Henry Bonello before ending at the back of the net.
Six minutes from time, Sliema sealed the issue with a third goal when in a swift counter-attack, Frank Temile sent Ryan Fenech through and the latter advanced into the area.
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SLIEMA Jake Galea, Matias Muchardi, Kurt Shaw, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri (73′ Michele Sansone), Jefferson de Assis (86′ Edmond Agius), Ryan Fenech (90′ Jean Paul Farrugia), Ashong Nii Nortey, Frank Temile, Goran Adamovic, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Timothy Aquilina, Stefan Cassar, Kilian Amehi, Ayrton Azzopardi.
Coach: John Buttigieg
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri (73′ Jean Borg), Juan Cruz Gill, Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciollo, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Miguel Angel Alba (59′ Kyrian Nwoko), Mario Fontanella.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Miguel Attard, Russell Fenech, Shawn Dimech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Dusan Petrovic
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: Bianciardi, Gill
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Gzira United registered a comfortable 4-1 win over Tarxien Rainbows.
The Maroons could not count on Roderick Briffa and Jorge Pereira da Silva but were still strong enough to beat a Tarxien side which featured new signings Daniel Zerafa, Michele Paolucci, Miguel Ciantar and Anderson de Barros in the starting line-up and Alex Nilsson as a substitute.
Gzira took the lead on the 16th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Andrew Cohen was brought down inside the area by Andrea Cassar and Amadou Samb converted from the penalty spot.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Edison Bilbao Zarate intercepted an erratic pass and with a fine shot from outside the area, hit past the Tarxien goalkeeper to double the score.
Tarxien pulled one back seven minutes in the second half thanks to Matthew Spiteri who received an assist by Michele Paolucci from the left and with a low first-time effort beat Justin Haber.
The Maroons made it 3-1 on the 61st minute when they were awarded another penalty after Daniel Zerafa floored Amadou Samb inside the penalty area and the Senegalese striker made no mistake.
Six minutes later, Amadou Samb hit the foot of the upright following a good run on the right but on the 74th minute, Gzira were not to be denied when off a Nikolai Muscat cross from the left, Destin Prince-Loic Mambouana hit home from close range.
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Daniel Zerafa, Matthew Brincat, Matthew Spiteri, Michele Paolucci, Andrew Agius, Luke Grech, Stefan Radovanovic, Anderson de Barros, Miguel Ciantar (74’ Alexander Nilsson), Ricardo Silva Faria.
Subs not used: Jean Pierre Caruana, Owen Francalanza, Christian Borg, Dario Arran Zampa, Bradley Barbara, Cedric Zahra.
Coach: Jose Borg
GZIRA Justin Haber, Destin Mambouana, Nikolai Muscat, Zach Scerri, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen (87’ Luca Brincat), Juan Corbalan, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Thomas Veronese (78’ Sacha Borg), Amadou Samb (91’ Moad Lamlun).
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Didier Muscat, Matthaeus Attard, Jaron Schembri.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Darryl Agius
Yellow Cards: Cassar, De Barros, Agius, Soares, Zerafa, Corbolan
BOV Player of the Match: Amadou Samb