Valletta open title defence with a win, Four goals shared in balanced encounterMonday, August 20, 2012, 5:02
Full Time score Valletta 1-0 Tarxien Rainbows
In a season of high hopes Valletta started their title defence on a positive note as a goal from substitute Jonathan Caruana earned them the three points at the National Stadium Ta Qali. Valletta now under the guidance of Mark Miller, the former Hibernians mentor began life in the capital with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Tarxien on Sunday night.
As expected it was Valletta who made all the running but for all their territorial dominance they struggled to break down a solid Tarxien defence.
In the first half, Valletta overwhelmed their opponents but they could not hit the jackpots as efforts from Shaun Bajada, Ryan Fenech and William Barbosa went off target.
After the interval, the champs got the winning goal on the 68th minute when a Gabriel corner kick, Caruana headed home past Tarxien goalkeeper Nicky Vella.
Valletta coach Mark Miller gave the debut to former Malta footballer of the year Shaun Bajada as left back and the league debut to Manuel Bartolo between goals, Joao Gabriel da Silva, Leandro da Silva Almeida, Ricardo Barreto da Rocha Filho. Mark Miller also gave the armband to Roderick Briffa, who will succeed club stalwart Gilbert Agius.
Tarxien Rainbows mentor Danilo Doncic gave the debut to youngster Andrew Agius, former Hamrun defender Steve Bonnici and Brazilian Danilo.
Valletta: M.Bartolo, S.Borg, R.Fenech (J.Caruana 62 min), J.G.Da Silva, L.Da Silva Almeida, R.Briffa, R.Filho, D.Falzon (I.Azzopardi 81min), W.Barbosa (D.Rocha Dos Santos 64min), M.Mifsud, S.Bajada.
Tarxien R: N,Vella, C.Mamo, A.Agius (M.Caruana 81 min), J.Shead (M.Tanti 75min), D.Santos, K.Pulo (W.Chircop 87min), D.M.Bueno, L.De Castro, O.Anonam, S.Bonnici, J.Grioli
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: K.Pulo, L.De Castro, M.Bueno
Player of the Match:Orosco Anonam
Balanced encounter ends in 2-2 draw
Full Time score Hamrun Spartans 2-2 Balzan FC
Last season surprise package had star player Pedro Dos Santos Calcado to thank for avoiding a defeat as Balzan rallied twice from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Hamrun Spartans in Sunday‘s first league match. The former Sliema playmaker equalized on the 68th minute, He also missed a penalty on stroll of the first half.
Veteran Massimo Grima slotted in first from a free kick from just outside the penalty area, Minutes later Matthew Mendy head in home a Pedrinho free kick to make it 1-1. Minutes from the end of the first half, Brazilian Pedrinho missed a glorious chance to put the former youths in the lead as he saw his penalty saved by young goalkeeper Andrea Cassar, who was given the nod ahead Anthony Curmi.
After the half time Hamrun Spartans again taken the lead as close season signing Terence Scerri tapped in from Yoshev low cross. And again Balzan drew level when Pedrinho rising shot from outside the penalty area levelled once again for Balzan.
Balzan Youths were under the guidance of Joe Borg after team manager Ivan Zammit was serving a three-match touchline ban for unruly behaviour during his team’s AME Cup semi final. He gave the debut to Matthew Mendy, Elton and Stefan Giglio. Veteran Malcolm Licari also made his debut in the second half as a late substituted. Renato Conceicao and Aaron Agius also returned in the first 11 after they were loaned out with Lija Athletics and Zebbug Rangers respectively.
Hamrun Spartans mentor Stefan Sultana gave the debut to Terence Scerri, Terence Vella and foreigners Ivanov, Yoshev, Vitanov and Bozhov. Before the kick off new captain Roderick Fenech presented flowers to the relatives of Brenton Mifsud, the young Spartans supporter who passed away last Monday.
Hamrun Spartans: A. Cassar. G.Calabretta (L.Grech 83min), R.Fenech, M. Grima, T. Scerri, T. Vella (R.Spiteri 73min), D.Zerafa, A.Ivanov, A.Yoshev, L.Vitanov, N.Bozhov.
Balzan FC: M.Camilleri, A.Agius (M.Deanov), Y.Camilleri, M.Mendy, S.Giglio, R.Conceicao, J.Pace, D.Grima, J.Francica (M.Licari 78min), Pedrinho, Elton.
Scores: M.Grima, T.Scerri (HS) M.Mendy, P.Dos Santos Calcado (B)
Referee: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: P.Dos Santos Calcado, M.Mendy, R.Conceicao, J.Pace (B) R.Fenech (HS)
Red Card: R.Conceicao (B)
Player of the Match: Andre Cassar