Newly-promoted Santa Lucia kicked-off their BOV Premier League campaign with a bang as they defeated champions Valletta by the odd goal in five at the Centenary Stadium on Friday to collect their first three points.
The newly-promoted side, led by coach Oliver Spiteri, fully deserved the three points thanks to an impressive performance especially during the first half.
Santa Lucia had no less than seven players making their debut, namely Jacob Walker, Daniel Agius, Jamie Zerafa and foreigners Gabriel Bohrer Mentz, Farid Zuniga, Rei Tachikawa and Wilkerson Gomes.
Santa Lucia had a perfect start taking the lead on the 6th minute thanks to a brilliant goal by Wilkerson Gomes whose powerful drive from the right ended in the top left corner.
Valletta equalised six minutes later thanks to Mario Fontanella whose angled shot from the left beat goalkeeper Ryan Caruana.
Santa Lucia regained the lead on the 18th minute thanks to Rei Tachikawa whose powerful drive from outside the area gave Henry Bonello no chance.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, Santa Lucia extended the lead when Diego Mosquera Segura served Wilkerson Gomes who caught Bonello out of place, beating him with a perfect lob.
Shots by Yuri Messias and Joseph Zerafa were blocked by Ryan Caruana.
Valletta reduced the gap on 72 minutes thanks to a Kyrian Nwoko header following a cross by Piciollo.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Kyrian Nwoko, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Douglas Packer (67′ Shaun Dimech), Rowen Muscat (81′ Nicholas Pulis), Mario Fontanella, Yuri de Jesus Messias, Kevin Tulimieri (58′ Matteo Piciollo).
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Eslit Sala, Jean Borg, Nicholas Pulis, Jeremy Micallef.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius
SANTA LUCIA Ryan Caruana, Gabriel Bohrer Mentz, David Usuga Mendoza, Diego Mosquera Segura, Kevin Ante Rosero (82′ Omar Elouni), Jacob Walker, Daniel Agius, Farid Zuniga, Jamie Zerafa (77′ Lee Galea), Rei Tachikawa, Wilkerson Gomes (68′ Jamie Magri Overend).
Subs not used: Dorian Bugeja, Brady Agius, Neil Spiteri, Nick Borg.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Asst. Coach: Brian Chetcuti
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Ishmael Barbara
Yellow Cards: R. Caruana, R. Tachikawa
BOV Player of the Match: Wilkerson Junnior de Souza Gomes