Malta Football Association
Resilient Valletta hold Utrecht in goalless draw – IN FOCUS
Jul 14, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA



Valletta FC produced a spirited performance to hold the more-quoted Dutch side Utrecht FC to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round match, played in sweltering heat the Hibernians Stadium.

The result means that Valletta, who knocked out San Marino outfit Folgore in the first qualifying round, travel to the Netherlands next week with their hopes of progressing to the third round still very much alive.


Eight minutes into the game, Valletta’s Michael Mifsud had a good opportunity with a shot from just inside the box.


Max Velasco missed another good chance for the Whites, failing to beat goalkeeper David Jensen in a one-to-one situation after receiving a through-ball from Claudio Pani on 14 minutes.


Utrecht midfielder Zakaria Labyad tried his luck with a 25-metre shot on 20 minutes, their best chance in the first half.


Four minutes from half-time, Jensen turned away a dangerous strike from Romeu Romao.


Five minutes into the second half, Utrecht’s Klaiber had a shot saved by Henry Bonello after a good attack on the right.


A minute later, Labyad’s drive sailed high.


Little of note happened in the remainder of the second half with Mifsud catching the eye with a surging run into the box in the latter stages but Utrecht eventually cleared the danger.


The game finished 0-0, certainly creditable result for Valletta.


This was the fourth meeting in European competitions between Maltese and Dutch clubs.


The now-defunct FC Amsterdam met Hibernians in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 1974.
Before that, Sparta Rotterdam and NAC Breda played against Floriana in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, in 1966 and 1967.

Henry Bonello, Joseph Zerafa, Juan Cruz Gill, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Claudio Pani, Romeu Romao (Kyrian Nwoko 69), Uchenna Umeh, Santiago Malano (Roderick Briffa 88); Michael Mifsud, Maximiliano Velasco (Jean Borg 73).


David Jensen, Sander van de Streek, Willem Janssen, Edson Braafheid, Yassine Ayoub, Sean Klaiber, Mark van der Maarel, Jeff Hardeveld (Urby Emanuelson 80), Simon Makienok, Zakaria Labyad, Gyrano Emilio Kerk, (Bilal Ould-Chikh 88).


Referee: Ognjen Valjic (Bosnia Herzegovina)


Attendance: 1,795.

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