Hungarian giants Ferencvárosi TC defeated Valletta 3-1 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round at the Groupama Arena in Budapest but new recruit Yuri de Jesus Messias’ late goal keeps the Citizens’ hopes of securing a place in the next stage alive.
Following the 1-1 draw with F91 Dudelange last week, coach Darren Abdilla made one change as he replaced Ryan Camilleri with Rowen Muscat. Nicholas Pulis, on the other hand, retained his place in the starting line-up.
The hosts managed to take the lead on the 19th minute thanks to a Lasha Dvali header which Henry Bonello failed to stop.
On the 36th minute, Ferencvaros doubled the score as they were awarded a penalty after Nicholas Pulis pulled down a defender inside the area and from the penalty spot, Juventus product Davide Lanzafame, who played for a host of clubs in Italy including Bari, Palermo, Parma, Brescia, Catania, Grosseto, Perugia and Novara, converted.
Davide Lanzafame made it 3-0 on the 59th when he received an assist on the right by Oleksandr Zubkov and chipped the ball over Bonello.
Five minutes from time, Valletta reduced the gap when Mario Fontanella concluded a good run on the right flank with an assist for Yuri de Jesus Messias to slot home from close range.
Four minutes in added time, Valletta captain Steve Borg was sent off by referee Radu Petrescu.
The second leg will be played at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.
FERENCVAROS Denes Dibusz, Danilo Ihnatenko, Gergo Lovrencsics, Lanzafame (66′ Signevich), Oleksandr Zubkov, Ihor Kharatin, Eldar Civic, Miha Blazic, Lasha Dvali, Michal Skvarka (82′ David Siger), Rokmac Nguen (66′ Lukacs Bole) .
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Kyrian Nwoko (82′ Matteo Piciollo), Jean Borg, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Douglas Packer (70′ Yuri de Jesus Messias), Nicholas Pulis (57′ Shaun Dimech), Rowen Muscat, Mario Fontanella, Kevin Tulimieri.
Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROM)
Assistant Referees: Radu Ghinguleac, Vladimir Urzica (ROM)
Fourth Official: Marcel Birsan (ROM)