Malano 63 Dimech 78
GUDJA UNITED 1
H. Bonello, T. Caruana, S. Malano, S. Dimech, K. Nwoko (75 L. Sami), E. Sala (59 M. Fontanella), R. Muscat, L. Aguirre, R. Fenech, I. Maric, L. Campos.
J. Azzopardi, A. Friggieri (82 J. Brincat), T. Gusman (54 E. da Silva), L. Cremona (86 T. Vella), G. Mensah, F. Pankarican, I. Gonzalez, T. Veronese, V. Conceicao (46 N. Micallef), J. Bolanos, J. Grioli.
Referee: Ishmael Barbara.
Red card: Bolanos (G) 21.
Valletta came from behind to beat ten-man Gudja United 2-1 and secure a place in the Last 16 of the FA Trophy.
Despite finding themselves with ten men after just 21 minutes, Gudja managed to take the lead and showed better ideas especially during the first half but after the break, the Citizens scored twice to secure qualification.
After a quiet start for the two teams, Gudja were reduced to ten men when Juan Andres Bolanos sarcastically applauded the referee’s decision to book him, leaving referee Ishmael Barbara no option other than to send him off.
Two minutes later, Valletta went close with a Rowen Muscat effort that ended just wide.
Gudja forged ahead on 31 minutes, Tensior Gusman concluded a solo effort by rounding Triston Caruana and beating Henry Bonello with a shot half-height.
Valletta’s reaction came in the form of a Lucas Campos header which scraped past the post when served by Shaun Dimech.
One minute from half-time, Gusman missed an excellent opportunity to double the score when off a long through pass, all alone in front of the goalkeeper, he hit high.
In added time, a Leandro Aguirre free-kick for Valletta ended just wide.
In the second half, Valletta improved, and, on the hour, Campos received a cross on the right and pulled to a more central position before unleashing a powerful shot which ended wide.
However, three minutes later, Valletta equalised courtesy of Santiago Malano who concluded a solo effort with a rising shot from outside the area which gave goalkeeper Jamie Azzopardi no chance.
Gudja were unlucky not to regain the lead on 75 minutes when off an Aidan Friggieri corner, a Gabriel Mensah header hit the crossbar.
But it was Valletta who grabbed the winner three minutes later.
Rowen Muscat delivered a cross from the right, substitute Leocisio Sami failed to connect but Shaun Dimech slotted past the Gudja goalkeeper.
In the remaining minutes, Gudja tried hard to force extra-time and went close with two attempts by Filip Pankarican.
A shot from outside the area by the Serbian scraped past the post on 84 minutes and three minutes later, an angled shot from the left was blocked by Bonello.