Valletta claim first honour of the season

Friday, June 24, 2011, 10:57

Yesterday evening, rivals Valletta and Birkirkara faced each other in one of their classic duels that ended in a 2-2 which was enough for the Citizens to lift the Euro Cup for the first time in 11 years.

Although the 2011/12 season is still in its infancy, both teams showed a lot of determination and pace to try and win the first honour of the season. Top scorer Alfred Effiong was on the Valletta bench, just a day after signing his one year contract with the Champions.

File photo - Denni Dos Santos

Valletta opened strongly and in the 10th minute when newly signed Brazilian striker Barbosa tapped in a Roderick Briffa assist after a perfectly planned action. Denni Dos Santos nearly made it 2-0 for the Citizens when his spectacular overhead shot just missed Jorge Mora’s goal.

The Stripes looked shaky but they came out of their bad patch and levelled matters when in the 26th minute Valletta’s Borg pushed Rena in the penalty area, with Tabone scoring the subsequent penalty.

Birkirkara kept the pressure and it was Hogg who avoided the 2-1 as he parried Rowen Muscat’s sure goal. Gilbert Agius then came in for the injured Dyson Falzon, but the draw was short-lived when in the 42nd minute, Tabone got his second goal of the night with a fine curling shot from a Paul Fenech assist.

Zerafa’s half time pep talk had its effects on the Valletta players, as ten minutes into the second half, prolific striker Denni headed into the back of the net. At this point the game took a twist in Valletta’s favour as they pressured Birkirkara into their half with Denni and Kevin Sammut wreaking havoc in the Stripes’ defence.

Both teams were denied a last minute goal when Sammut missed from close range and Birkirkara nearly won it with a Bajada shot that just missed the target by a whisker.

In the end it was Valletta’s captain on the day, Ian Zammit, who received the trophy on behalf of his team, sending the Valletta supporters celebrating.

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