A goal by Canadian forward Promise Oluwatobi Emmanuel David Akinpelu handed Valletta a narrow win over Santa Lucia in the first semi-final from the Izibet FA Trophy at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
The Citizens, who had earlier eliminated Marsaskala, Tarxien Rainbows and Marsaxlokk, will now face the winner of the other semi-final in programme on Wednesday between Floriana and champions Hibernians.
The two teams shared the exchanges during the first half but Santa Lucia created the best chances, going close on 36 minutes with a Vito Plut effort saved at point blank by Guarnone and four minutes later, the Italian goalkeeper blocked a great header by Andre Prates following a corner by Jamie Zerafa from the right.
Valletta scored the all-important goal sixteen minutes in the second half when Caio Prado released Kevin Tulimieri on the left and off the latter’s cross, Promise Akinpelu headed home.
In added time, Santa Lucia missed an excellent opportunity to equalise when off a cross by Meghon Valpoort, Andre Prates had a first attempt blocked by a defender and then served Alan da Silva Souza whose first attempt was blocked by Guarnone and off the rebound, hit just over the bar. However, Justin Haber then came to the rescue performing great saves on Lucas Campos and Michele Sansone.
Photo: Copyright Andrew Grima