BOV Premier League | Sliema Wanderers 3 – Valletta 0

Champions Valletta made a disappointing start to the Premier League as they suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sliema Wanderers.

Photos: Christine Borg
Photos: Christine Borg

Through-out the transfer period, Valletta kept faith in the same group of players that brought home both the Premier League and the FA Trophy during the previous campaign. In fact, Mario Fontanella was the only player who made his debut for the holders. Sliema also decided to keep the core of their players. For the Wanderers, Jake Galea and Ryan Fenech were the only players inside the starting eleven who were making their first appearance for their club.

Valletta started well and threatened Sliema after nine minutes. Matteo Piciollo’s shot from distance was blocked by Galea.

Sliema replied on the 21st minute. Jefferson De Assis saw his cross shot going across the frame of goal.

Valletta created another chance on the 31st minute. Santiago Malano received the ball from Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre and hit a shot that was neutralised by Galea.

Five minutes later, Mark Scerri of Sliema saw space and fired a shot from the edge of the penalty area that sailed wide.

On the 41st minute, Miguel Angel Alba attempted his luck from a free-kick, but failed to hit the target.

Sliema forged ahead a minute later. Ryan Fenech’s shot took a deflection and went out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Kurt Shaw headed the ball behind Henry Bonello.

Valletta started the second half on the attack and went close on the 52nd minute. Malano’s shot from outside the penalty area ended up off target.

A minute later, Beltre’s cross went into the path of Malano whose header was neutralised by Galea.

Sliema nearly scored again on the 55th minute. Mattias Mucciardi hit a shot that was saved by Bonello. Rebound went into the path of Frank Temile whose effort was tipped towards the upright by Bonello. Mucciardi got another chance from the rebound, but this time the Italian midfielder finished over.

Despite losing this golden opportunity, Buttigieg’s side still managed to double their advantage on the hour mark. Fenech fired a powerful shot from a free-kick that gave Bonello no chance.

On the 75th minute, Malano’s shot from a free-kick went high.

Valletta kept on insisting and created another opportunity on the 83rd minute. Beltre served Mario Fontanella and the Italian forward finished slightly wide from close range.

However, Sliema made sure of the three points a minute later. Temille released Ryan Fenech through on goal and the latter ran inside the penalty area before placing the ball past Bonello.

Sliema Wanderers starting line-up: Jake Galea, Marrias Muciardi, Kurt Shawn, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Jefferson De Assis, Ryan Fenech, Nii Nortey Ashong, Frank Temile, Goran Adamovic, Stefano Biancardi

Valletta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Gill Cruz, Santiago Malano, Matteo Picciolo, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Ibrahim Saleh, Miguel Angel Alba, Mario Fontanella

Referee: Philip Farrugia

Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Dusan Petrovic

Fourth Official: Stefan Pace

BOV Player of the Match: Ryan Fenech (Sliema)

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