VALLETTA-8, FC LUSITANS-0
Valletta set a new record for the highest victory ever achieved by a Maltese team in European competitions as they trounced Andorra’s FC Lusitans 8-0 in the first leg of their Champions League first qualifying round match the Hibs Stadium this evening.
The scoreline says all about Valletta’s dominance as the Maltese champions blew their dismal opponents apart, racing into a five-goal lead inside the opening 22 minutes.
Michael Mifsud scored four goals as Valletta effectively booked a second qualifying round match against Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade.
Valletta showed their attacking intentions from the start as they took the lead after just three minutes. Jonathan Caruana, deployed in front of defence in Valletta’s 4-1-2-3 formation, headed home from Jhonnattann’s cross.
The Whites should have doubled their lead two minutes but Jhonnattan’s goalbound effort was cleared by a defender after Mifsud had dispossessed FC Lusitans goalkeeper Andres Benitez.
The Citizens soon made it 2-0 thanks to Mifsud who scored with a downward header from Jhonnattann’s excellent cross.
The floodgates were now open as Valletta continued to attack their woeful opponents who couldn’t get to grips with the fast breaks of the City midfielders and forward.
The score became 3-0 on 16 minutes when William Barbosa released Denni whose diagonal shot was pushed away by Benitez but Jhonnattann was on hand to slot the ball home from the rebound. Two minutes later, Mifsud, running on to another through-ball from Barbosa, sped into the box, rounded Benitez and drove home to give Valletta a 4-0 advantage.
It was not before the 22nd minute that Lusitans registered their first attempt at goal, Dutch goalkeeper Andre Krul easily saving Lionel Maciel’s central effort.
But the superior Citizens continued to run the show, scoring their fifth goal on 22 minutes. Benitez rushed out of goal to try and clear a cross but Caruana’s pressure unsettled the overweight Lusitans goalkeeper whose half-clearance fell in the path of Jhonnattann. The Brazilian took a touch before curling the ball into the empty net.
Valletta stayed on the attack. On 25 minutes, Mifsud advanced on the right before passing to Roderick Briffa whose first-time grounder ended wide of the far post.
Two minutes past the half-hour, Krul saved a harmless free-kick from Luis Reis.
On the stroke of half-time, Valletta went 6-0 up, Mifsud completed his hat-trick with a low striker after getting on the end of Briffa’s assist.
Three minutes into the second half, Krul did well to puncg away Raposo’s piledriver. In a fast City counter-attack, Denni moved clwar on the left before passing to Mifsud who in turn served Jhonnattann but the latter’s drive was off target.
The woodwork saved Lusitans as Denni’s drive came off the upright after the Brazilian had been released by Mifsud.
Mifsud scored his fourth and Valletta’s seventh on 70 minutes, finishing off a solo run with a simple finish after he rounded Benitez.
Two minutes later, Edmond Agius, who had replaced Jhonnattann, beat Benitez with a curling drive after being set up by Briffa.
With 11 minutes remaining, FC Lusitans’ Luis Reis went close to a consolation goal with a free-kick that sailed just wide of the near post.
Mifsud went close with a long-range lob before a delicate chip by the advancing Denni came off the crossbar.
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