Day 1 Valletta 1 Mosta 0
Valletta got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start with a hard-earned victory over Mosta.
A first-half penalty by Claudio Pani spared Valletta’s blushes but they were reduced to 10 men midway through the second when the Italian midfielder was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Valletta took the lead just before half-time. Denni teed up Nikola Asceric who burst into the box and when Semen Datsenko pulled the striker back, referee Stefan Pace pointed to the penalty spot for Pani to open the scoring.
After the break, Valletta were restricted to a few tame shots – one from Michael Mifsud but Zac Brincat threw himself full length to block the striker’s swerving shot.
Pani’s earlier yellow card became more relevant when he was cautioned again for a late challenge on David Ifeanyi after 76 minutes and was given his marching orders. This invigorated Mosta, who came closer than before with Zac Brincat’s flying header from a Thomas Veronese cross which forced Henry Bonello into an excellent one-handed save over the bar.
Asceric should have put the game to bed but his swerving shot finished just wide off Vella’s far post.
It was a satisfactory evening’s work for Valletta, but much work remains to be done if the lilywhites are to regain their domestic dominance.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, S. Borg, J. Cruz Gill, S. Malano, M. Mifsud (N. Pulis), J. Borg, R. Saleh, D. Dos Santos (K. Nwoko), C. Pani, R. Romau, N. Asceric.
MOSTA – A. Vella, S. Datsenko (E. Oladjo), T. Farrugia, T. Veronese, K. Magro (D. Fenech), D. Nworah, Z. Brincat, D. Xuereb, E. Zarate Bilbao (K. Frendo), C. Fernandes, E. Rodriguez.
Scorers: 45′ C. Pani (P)
Yellow Cards: C. Pani, R. Romao, N. Asceric (V), S. Datsenko, C. Fernandes (M).
Red Card: C. Pani
Referee: S. Pace