Valletta had a comfortable-looking path towards the final of the FA Trophy this season and made the most of it to book their place into their 28th Cup final appearance in their club history.
In fact, Valletta managed to avoid the so-called top teams in the Premier League but still had to make their way past Premier League opponents in the form of Gudja United and Sta Lucia on their way to the final.
Valletta vs Marsaskala 5-0
Valletta FC coasted into the fourth round of the IZIBET FA Trophy when they brushed aside National Amateur League side Marsaskala 5-0 at the Centenary Stadium.
As the scoreline shows, the Citizens were in a class of their own against the third-tier side as two goals in the first half paved the way to a comfortable victory.
It was a significant boost for new Valletta coach Danilo Doncic who has led the team to his first win since replacing Toze Mendes as first-team coach.
Valletta took just four minutes to take the lead through their towering Bosnian forward Haris Dilaver.
Ivan Curjuric fired home the second of the match ten minutes from the break as the Citizens were coasting through.
After the break, young Valletta attacking midfielder Shaun Dimech left his mark with a quick-fire double on 47 and 52 minutes to make it 4-0.
Brazilian winger Caio Prado added a fifth goal on 66 minutes to seal a comfortable win.
Valletta vs Tarxien Rainbows 5-1
Young forward David Promise notched a brace as Valletta booked a spot in the quarter-finals of the Izibet FA Trophy thanks to a 5-1 win over Challenge League side Tarxien Rainbows.
It took Valletta just five minutes to take the lead when a Mario Fontanella effort was blocked by the goalkeeper and Promise headed home off the rebound.
On 27 minutes, Eslit Sala made it 2-0 when he headed the ball home following an Ivan Curjuric corner kick.
Tarxien reduced the gap six minutes in the second half. Saturday Nanapere advanced from midfield and with a fine shot from outside the area, he gave Yenz Cini no chance.
On 62 minutes, Valletta made it 3-1, Lucas Campos entered the area and served Promise to hit home past the Tarxien goalkeeper.
Eight minutes later, Curjuric, served by Campos on the right, scored a fourth goal for Valletta before substitute Kevin Tulimieri made it 5-1 on 84 minutes.
Valletta vs Marsaxlokk 3-0
Valletta’s quest for silverware and a European ticket continued 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.
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.
Valletta doubled their lead through David Promise who capitalised on a Michele Sansone’s cross with a towering header.
Andrea Zammit managed to find the net 10 minutes from time with a brilliant effort from inside the penalty box to wrap up qualification.
Valletta vs Sta Lucia 1-0
Valletta fended off the spirit challenge of Sta Lucia to book their place into the FA Trophy final following a 1-0 win at the National Stadium.
David Promise turned out to be Valletta’s hero as the Canadian forward headed home the winner midway through the second half to set up a final showdown with Floriana
It was a battling performance from the Citizens who needed to show great resilience to contain Sta Lucia’s pressure, particularly in the first half, with goalkeeper Andrea Guarnone distinguishing himself with some fine saves.
But in the end, it was Valletta who were more clinical on the day to grab the all-important that keeps them on course not only to win the FA Trophy but also book their place in the UEFA Conference League next season.
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