Malta Football Association
Pulsating conclusion as Valletta win title on penalties
May 4, 2019
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA


VALLETTA        2
(AET; 90 mins – 1-1; Valletta win 4-2 on penalties)
0-1 Marcolino 12; 1-1 Caruana 59; 2-1 Fontanella 98, 2-2 Sahanek 118.

For the first time in the history of Maltese football, the top-flight championship was decided by penalties.
It was Valletta who emerged victorious in a pulsating BOV Premier League title decider, beating Hibernians 4-2 on penalties after the score was tied at 2-2 after extra-time at the National Stadium. Marko Sahanek, whose last-gasp goal had sent the match to a penalty shoot-out, missed the first spot-kick for Hibernians while Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello saved from Marcolino. Valletta scored all their four penalties with Mario Fontanella hitting the decisive one to spark great celebrations among the City fans.

Valletta had wing-back Joseph Zerafa and Oman international Raed Saleh suspended while coach Gilbert Agius opted to start with Bojan Kaljevic, Mario Fontanella and Kyrian Nwoko up front. It was the first time this season that these three appeared together at the kick-off.


From the Balzan win last weekend, Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra had to do without the injured Marcelo Dias who was replaced by Bjorn Kristensen, while Serbian defender Nemanja Radojevic started ahead of Dunstan Vella.


Hibernians made the better start but Valletta took the initiative as the first half moved on.


In the 12th minute, Hibernians took the lead. Premier League top scorer Marcolino headed past Valletta goalkeeper Bonello after a fine run and cross from the left from Isaac Ntow. 


Seven minutes later, Macolino surged through and passed to the unmarked Jake Grech whose shot was blocked by Bonello.


On 22 minutes, Fontanella had an attempt at goal after getting on the end of a Jean Borg cross from the right but Hibernians goalkeeper Marko Jovicic saved his effort.


At the other end, Bonello blocked a low shot by Ntow on 29 minutes while a free-kick by Valletta's Miguel Alba on 35 minutes was saved with ease by Jovicic.


Valletta were now creating more chances.


On 43 minutes, the ball fell at the feet of Alba who was unmarked in the box after a cross from the right, but his effort missed the target. On the stroke of half-time, Malano’s free-kick ended up just behind the wall and at the feet of Nwoko who failed to beat Jovicic from close range. Jovicic as again alert, stopping a shot from Fontanella.


Valletta began the second half on the attack.


On 53 minutes, Montenegrin striker Kaljevic headed towards goal after a long cross from the left but Jovicic was in the right spot to turn his attempt away a corner.


Six minutes later Valletta deservedly drew level. Nwoko headed a corner towards Jovicic who blocked his effort before pushing away Alba's follow-on header. Amid the ensuing melee, captain Jonathan Caruana poked the ball home at the far post.


Just after the hour, Hibernians could not finish a flowing attack via Tiago Adan and Marcolino. The latter crossed for Grech who failed to connect as Bonello blocked the danger.


On 67 minutes, Jovicic distinguished himself once again with a fine save from Fontanella's shot from just inside the box.  A fine 25-metre scorcher by substitute Bogdan Gavrila just missed target on 72 minutes.


The match moved into extra-time. 


In the 98th minute, Fontanella forced his way into the box and clinically beat Jovicic with a low shot to put Valletta 2-1 up.


At the end of the first half of extra time, Gavrila could have fired Valletta 3-1 ahead but his shot from close angle sailed over the crossbar.


Needing a goal to level matters, Hibernians took the initiative in the second half of extra-time. A Tiago Adan header from close range was blocked by Bonello on 108 minutes.


Five minutes later, after a fine attack, an angled Marcolino shot from just outside the box just missed target.


On the other side, Nwoko’s run could not be halted by Andrei Agius but his shot just missed target.


With two minutes left, Hibs’ efforts in the second half of extra-time paid off as Dunstan Vella released Sahanek who beat Bonello to force penalties


It was Valletta who prevailed in the shoot-out to retain the BOV Premier League title, winning the top honour in Maltese football for the 25th time.



Sahanek (Hibernians) post; Alba (Valletta) 1-0; Grech (Hibernians) 1-1; Malano (Valletta) 2-1; Tiago Adan (Hibernians) 2-2; Gavrila (Valletta) 3-2; Marcolino (Hibernians) saved; Fontanella (Valletta) 4-2.



Henry Bonello, Jean Borg, Jonathan Caruana (Ryan Camilleri 77), Steve Borg, Enmy Pena Beltre, Rowen Muscat (Antonio Monticelli 96), Miguel Alba, Santiago Malano, Mario Fontanella, Kyrian Nwoko, Bojan Kaljevic (Bogdan Gavrila 67).

Coach: Gilbert Agius



Marko Jovicic, Nemanja Radojevic (Daneel Abela 117), Andrei Agius, Leandro Barbosa Marcio (Timothy Tabone-Desira 100), Isaac Ntow, Joseph Mbong, Bjorn Kristensen (Dunstan Vella 69), Marco Sahanek, Jake Grech, Tiago Adan Fonseca, Nicolas Correa Taylon.

Coach: Stefano Sanderra


Referee: Malcolm Spiteri

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