Alba penalty hands Cardoso Mendes winning start as new Valletta coach

Led for the first time by Portuguese coach Antonio Jose Cardoso Mendes, Valletta claimed the three points in a narrow win over Balzan at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.

For Valletta, this was the third win on the trot as Valletta returned into action for the first time in over a month after having three matches postponed due to the fact that the team ended up in mandatory quarantine. A win which puts the Citizens into the eighth place on 23 points.

Balzan, on the other hand, suffer their seventh defeat this season to stay fourth from bottom.

Valletta scored the all-important goal one minute from the end of the first half. Three minutes earlier, Matteo Piciollo entered the penalty area from the left, only to be brought down by a defender, but Kyrian Nwoko deposited the ball at the back of the net. Referee Darryl Agius convalidated the goal but as play was about to resume, following consultation with the other match officials, he changed his decision and ordered a penalty with Miguel Angel Alba converting from the penalty spot.

VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Santiago Malano, Ryan Fenech (84′ Nicholas Pulis), Matteo Piciollo (79′ Shaun Dimech), Kyrian Nwok, Jean Borg, Enmy Pena Beltre, Rowen Muscat (79′ Triston Caruana), Leandro Aguirre, Miguel Angel Alba (90′ Eslit Sala), Mihajlo Jovanovic.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Tonna.
Coach: Antonio Jose Cardoso Mendes

BALZAN Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab (85′ Marcus Grima), Milan Djuric, Paul Fenech (61′ Sean Cipriott), Steve Pisani (85′ Gary Camilleri), Steve Bezzina (61′ Alfred Effiong), Michael Johnson, Uros Ljubomirac, Moussa Sanoh (5′ Aleksa Andrejic), Weverton Gomes.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Isaac Buhagiar.
Coach: Mark Miller

Referee: Darryl Agius
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Bonello, Borg, Arab, Pisani, Pulis,
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo