Valletta halt Sliema’s unbeaten streak
Sliema Wanderers’ six-match unbeaten run came to an end yesterday as they were defeated by Valletta at the start of the second round.
While Valletta had all the momentum and most of the possession it was not a hugely convincing performance by the champions but enough to overcome a stubborn Sliema side with two second half goals.
The match only got going in the second half.
A couple of sudden darts or close shaves offered rare moments of excitement, apart from the three goals.
Valletta won by boasting energy and class in central midfield and climbing their collective qualities in a side not over-reliant on one or two classy players these days. Falcone and Cremona were their scorers yesterday.
They had centre back Jonathan Caruana back after missing the clash against Hamrun Spartans, with Romao making room.
Sliema were not allowed to express their usual fluent attacking play yesterday, notably because they were stifled in midfield.
Notable absentees for Sliema were the not fully fit Alex Muscat and the suspended Solamon Wisdom.
Both sides started with an offensive set-up. Federico Falcone and Micaheal Mifsud started in Valletta’s forward line. Jean Paul Farrugia was flanked by Denni Dos Santos in the Sliema side.
Sliema opened nervously but improved as the game wore on. The contest was bereft of precision. Valletta had some half chances in the first half but Mifsud and Falcone failed to put them on target.
Sliema, solid at the back but hardly adventurous, were restricted to shoot from outside the penalty area but that did hardly trouble Bartkus in the Valletta goal.
No wonder the match remained scoreless by halftime.
The second half began with a sharper-looking Valletta in