SLIEMA WANDERERS 3
Fenech 60, 82
Sliema Wanderers were off to an impressive start to their league campaign after brushing aside champions Valletta at the National Stadium.
Ryan Fenech enjoyed an impressive debut on his return to Sliema as he capped a dynamic perfomance with two goals.
Early on, it was Valletta who made all the early running with Matteo Piciollo missing an open chance on 10 minutes he shot straight at the onrushing Jake Galea, the Sliema goalkeeper.
Past the half hour mark, Enmy Pena Beltre outpaced his marker and squared the ball to Malano but the Argentine’s diagonal effort was kept out by Galea.
But it was Sliema who drew first blood on 43 minutes.
From a Ryan Fenech corner-kick, Kurt Shaw anticipated his marker to head past Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
The goal hit Valletta hard as they tried to redress the situation.
The closest they came to troubling Sliema was through a Malano header that finished into the hands of Galea after a fine move from wingback Pena Beltre just after the break.
At the other end only an excellent triple-save by Bonello prevented Sliema from adding to their lead as the Valletta keeper pushed away efforts by Matthias Muchiardi and Jefferson in quick succession before pushing away Frank Temile’s shot with the aid of the bar.
But the writing was on the wall for Valletta as on the hour mark. Fenech’s inswinger eluded the City defenders with the ball finishing past Bonello and into an empty net.
Eight minutes from time, Fontanella was handed a golden opportunity to revive Valletta’s hopes but he volleyed the ball wide from close in after receving perfect service from Raed Saleh.
But it was Sliema who sealed the points when in quick break, Fenech raced clear and slid the ball past the onrushing Bonello.
Ryan Fenech was voted as the BOV Player of the match.
GŻIRA UNITED 4
Samb 16 pen, 61 pen Zarate 43 Mambouana 74
TARXIEN RAINBOWS 1
Gżira United broke little sweat to see off Tarxien Rainbows at the Tedesco Stadium.
After 16 minutes of play, Andrew Cohen was brought down inside the area by goalkeeper Andrea Cassar. Referee Matthew De Gabriele ordered a penalty and Amadou Samb converted from the penalty spot.
Cohen then tried his luck with a rising shot on the 21st minute which was however neutralised by Cassar.
Gżira doubled their lead two minutes from the end of the first half.
Edison Bilbao Zarate intercepted an erratic pass and with a fine shot from just outside the area had the better of the Tarxien goalkeeper.
The Maroons maintained the pressure and four minutes in the second half, two consecutive efforts by Zarate were blocked by the goalkeeper before the Chilean midfielder served Juan Corbolan whose low shot was blocked by a defender.
Against the run of play, Tarxien pulled one back on 52 minutes. Michele Paolucci served Matthew Spiteri from the left and with a low first-time effort, the former Valletta youngster beat Justin Haber.
On the 61st minute, the Maroons restored a two-goal lead when they were awarded another penalty. This time, Daniel Zerafa floored Samb inside the area and the striker made no mistake.
Six minutes later, Samb could have clinched his hat-trick but luck was not on his side as he concluded a good run on the right flank with a shot which hit the foot of the upright.
Gzira sealed the points 16 minutes from time when the Tarxien rear-guard failed to clear Nikolai Muscat’s cross from the left and Destin Prince-Loic Mambouana hit home from close range.