Malta Football Association
Valletta bow out of Europa League
Aug 2, 2018
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Centenary Stadium, Ta’ Qali, Malta
UEFA Europa League, Second Qualifying Round –  Second leg

VALLETTA        1
ZRINJSKI          2
(HT 0-1)

0-1 Barisic 31, 1-1 S.Borg 56, 1-2 Filipovic 67

The European adventure of Valletta ended this evening following a disappointing 1-2 loss against Bosnian champions Zrinjski.


The Citizens were the better team but paid the price for missing a host of chances, especially in the first half, and also failed to capitalise from their extra man after Marin Galic was sent off for two cautions just five minutes after the break. The aggregate result was 2-3 in favour of the visitors.

It was the second time Zrinjski played a European Cup match in Malta. Their first visit was in 2006 when they beat Marsaxlokk 4-1 on aggregate in the first round of the Intertoto Cup, drawing their match 1-1 in Malta.


In comparison with the away leg in Mostar, which ended 1-1, young striker Kyrian Nwoko made way for new Romanian recruit Bogdan Gavrila.

In the ninth minute, Zrinj ski'sMilos Filipovic had a goal attempt but his shot sailed over the crossbar.


Miguel Alba had a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring for the home side in the 24th minute. However, the Argentinian lobbed high with only the goalkeeper to beat. This kick started a phase in the match when Valletta saw more of the ball.

However, in the 31st minute it was Zrinjski who opened the score, a wonderful strike of Hrvoje Barisic from 20 meters distance, which gave Bonello no chance. Two minutes later Mario Fontanella could have done better after a pass from


Santiago Malano but his shot was saved by Soldo. In the 44th minute. Matteo Picciolo could have levelled the score but his low shot from inside the box just missed target.

In the second half the first goalscoring opportunity was for Valletta, with a Santiago Malano shot from inside the box, which was saved with difficulty by Soldo. Barely one minute later, in the 50th minute, Zrinjski were reduced to ten men. Right flank defender Galic received his second yellow card of the match and his marching orders.

Valletta profited immediately of their numerical advantage in the 56th minute. A free-kick from Alba from the right flank was initially cleared by the Zrinjski defence but Zerafa’s inch perfect pass found Steve Borg who scored the 1-1, much to the delight of the Valletta clan. After 62 minutes, Picciolo met Ibrahim Saleh’s cross from the right but his shot was to weak to trouble Soldo.

It was however Zrinjski who managed to score with a wonderful Filipovic strike in the 67th minute from just outside the box.


A real setback for the hosts who now needed two goals to progress to the next round. The same Filipovic could have added a third for his side in the 81st minute but his effort face to face with Bonello ended wide. One minute into added time, Todorovic had another good opportunity but his attempt missed target.

Zrinjski now play the Bulgarians of Ludogorets in the 3rd round of the Europa League qualification.

Valletta: H.Bonello, J.Zerafa, S.Borg, (J.Gill 81), R.Camilleri, M.Alba, R.Muscat, R.I.Saleh, B.Gavrila, (K.Nwoko 71), M.Picciolo, M.Fontanella, S.Malano, (J.Borg 88).
Zrinjski: A.Soldo, M.Galic, S.Jakovljevic, H.Barisic, P.Stojkic, (A.Kadusic 46), S.Pezer, E.Rustemovic, M.Filipovic, (T.Jovic 90), M.Perisic, (N.Lastro 53), O.Todorovic, N.Bilbija

Referee: R.Obrenovic (Slovenia)
Attendance: 1310
Cautions: Alba, S.Borg, Zerafa (V), Jakovljevic (Z)
Sent-off: Galic (Z), two yellow cards

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