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Early goals send Valletta into FA Trophy semi-finals

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MARSAXLOKK      0

VALLETTA             3

Sala 4; Promise 19

Zammit 80

MARSAXLOKK

F. Tabone; G. Barone (46 D. Azzopardi), J. Cruz Gill, M. Del Negro (57 P. Xuereb), A. Caseres (89 J. Delmar), T. Vella (71 C. Camilleri), X. Cappellino, W. Serrano, E. Vella, P. Sammut (57 R. Tonna), N. Micallef.

VALLETTA

Y. Cini; J. Borg, T. Caruana (80 C. Gauci), M. Sansone, E. Pena Beltre (83 S. Mackay), D. Promise (80 H. Dilaver), R. Muscat, E. Sala, C. Prado (59 A. Zammit), M. Fontanella, K. Tulimieri (59 S. Dimech).

Referee Glen Tonna.

Yellow cards Terence Vella, Caseres, Caruana, Sammut, Sala.

Missed penalty Terence Vella (Marsaxlokk) 45.

Valletta’s quest for silverware and a European ticket continues after qualifying to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy at the expense of Marsaxlokk.

The Citizens made light work of the Challenge League side with two early goals in the first half through Eslit Sala and David Promise. Late in the game, Andrea Zammit added a third to seal a comfortable win for the Premier League team.

Danilo Doncic’s side will now face a Premier League side in the final four as they will take on the winner of Monday’s quarter-final between Gżira United and Sta Lucia.

For this game, coach Doncic opted to deploy Yenz Cini between the sticks instead of Italian goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone with defender Jean Borg captaining the side.

Marsaxlokk, on their part, were fresh from their promotion to the Premier League with coach Pablo Doffo fielding his strongest formation including former Valletta player Juan Cruz Gill.

It was the perfect start for Valletta when midfielder Eslit Sala broke the deadlock with a close-range header from a corner kick situation after just four minutes of play.

Moments later, Mario Fontanella could have doubled the lead when he pounced on a loose ball but saw his effort go inches wide.

Valletta doubled their lead through David Promise who capitalised on a Michele Sansone’s cross with a towering header.

Caio Prado had an effort on goal in the 27th minute but failed to hit the target from the edge of the area.

Marsaxlokk’s goalkeeper Fredrick Tabone came to his side’s rescue with a finger-tip save to divert a Fontanella’s header into a corner.

On the brink of half-time, Marsaxlokk were given a lifeline when match official Glen Tonna awarded the Challenge League side a penalty. Nonetheless, forward Terence Vella failed to convert from the spot as Yenz Cini blocked his effort.

Canadian forward Promise squandered a good chance to grab his second of the match when he failed to convert a well-weighted Sansone’s cross into a goal from point-blank range.

Cini kept Peter Paul Sammut at bay when the Marsaxlokk player found himself in front of the Valletta goalkeeper.

Ryan Tonna tried his luck from long distance but could not find the target as Marsaxlokk were looking to pull one back.

Andrea Zammit came close to find the net for the Citizens with a fierce strike from outside the area just to see his effort go wide.

The Valletta youngster managed to find the net 10 minutes from time with a brilliant effort from inside the penalty box to wrap up qualification.

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