A brace by Mario Fontanella enabled Valletta to come from behind and beat Hamrun Spartans 2-1 in the big match from match day 1 of the BOV Premier League at the National Stadium on Friday.
The Spartans, who had former Valletta goalkeeper making his debut along with substitute Faisal El Bakhtaoui, therefore started their title defence on a negative note.
The Citizens, on the other hand, opened their commitments with a morale-boosting win. They had new signings Alessandro Guarnone, James Arthur, Christian Gauci, Ivan Curjuric and Caio Prado all included in the starting line-up while Milan Jurdik and Michele Sansone were included as substitutes late in the game.
The game seemed heading in the right direction for the champions as three minutes from the end of the first half, Darko Gojkovic headed the ball home past Guarnone following a freekick from the left by Ailton Soares to put Hamrun ahead.
Ailton Soares then was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the area on the 58th minute.
However on the 69th, the Citizens were awarded a penalty after Corbolan brought Lucas Ribeiro Campos down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Mario Fontanella converted to level matters.
Five minutes later, Valletta notched the winner when off a Curjuric freekick, Caio Prado delivered an assist from the left for Mario Fontanella to slot the ball past Henry Bonello.
Hamrun Spartans vs Valletta match details
HAMRUN Henry Bonello, Darko Gojkovic, Joseph Mbong, Soufiane Lagzir (70′ Faissal El Bakhtaoui), Ailton Jorge Soares, Franklin Sasere, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Predrag Djordjevic, Karl Micallef, Claude Dielna, Emerson Marcelina (85′ Arthur Oyama).
Coach: Mark Buttigieg
VALLETTA Alessandro Guarnone, Ryan Camilleri, Triston Caruana, James Arthur, Shaun Dimech (70′ Lucas Ribeiro Campos), Christian Gauci, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Ivan Curjuric (90+1′ Michele Sansone), Caio Rocha de Almeida Prado (90+1′ Isaiah Micallef), Mario Fontanella (82′ Milan Jurdik).
Coach: Antonio Jose Cardoso Mendes
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Slobodan Petrovic
Yellow Cards: Corbalan, Pena Beltre, Lagzir
BOV Player of the Match: Mario Fontanella