13th December: marks the Centenary Cup 10th Anniversary Published on: 13-12-2010

13th December marks the Centenary Cup 10th Anniversary

December 13, 2000 will always be a date etched deep into the hearts and memories of every Valletta FC supporter. On this day Valletta FC become team of the century after eliminating arch-rivals Floriana and claimed the Centenary Cup. 

To commemorate the new millennium and a centenary of existence, the Malta Football Association, organised a knock-out competition in 2000, namely the Air-Malta Centenary Cup. Teams from the Premier League and the First, Second and Third Division participated in this competition on a knock-out basis, and at the end of all that, Valletta were left to face their neighbors’ and rivals Floriana in the final.

The match was won by Valletta; the score was 3-1.

The Valletta squad consisted of:
Sean Sullivan, Daniel Theuma, Kamil Dvorak, Kris Laferla (Ivan Zammit), Darren Debono, John Buttigieg, Gilbert Agius, Stefan Giglio, David Carabott, Chris Oretan (Renie Forace), Pavel Mraz (Karl Bonnici).

The Greens team was made of: Justin Haber, Ryad-Mynel Gango-Rtsa, Clifton Ciantar, Brian Said, Jonathan Holland, George Mallia, Claude Mattocks (Antoine Zahra), Rufin Oba, Richard Buhagiar, Mario Caruana (Albert Busuttil), Eduardo Do Nascimento.

The match was controlled by referee E.R. Zammit.  

Valletta overcame a difficult start and the second-half dismissal of David Carabott to crown a decade of success by winning the Centenary Cup. Although Valletta were the more adventurous side straight from the outset, the early exchanges provided little or no evidence at all that the Citizens would eventually cruise to an emphatic win.

Floriana took the lead after 15 minutes of play, midfielder Rufin Oba made heavy way on the left, slipped the ball to George Mallia who took a couple of steps before unleashing a powerful shot from long distance which had the better of Sean Sullivan.

Valletta's response to George Mallia's stunning goal was restricted to a couple of speculative crosses which failed to unnerve the Floriana defence. The Citizens leveled matters 10 minutes from the interval. Valletta born, Stefan Giglio retrieved possession just outside the Floriana box and released Daniel Theuma with a crisp pass. As the Floriana defenders screamed for offside, Daniel Theuma surged forward before squaring the ball towards the unmarked Chris Oretan who stabbed the ball home.

Two minutes after the restart, the Citizens nearly took the lead, Gilbert Agius missed a golden opportunity to put his team ahead. Mraz sent him clear but Agius opted to wait for support rather than having a pot at goal with the Floriana defenders given plenty of time to regroup and clear the danger.

Sixteen minutes into the second half, Jonathan Holland's chip was palmed away for a corner by Sullivan. Moments later, Sean Sullivan was again forced into a difficult save to turn away another dangerous free-kick by Jonathan Holland.

Kris Manolov then effected his first substitution, hauling off skipper Kris Laferla in lieu of Ivan Zammit, a move intended to add more flair to Valletta's midfield. David Carabott compounded his embarrassment on 66 minutes as he was red carded for a second booking for a foul on Jonathan Holland. His sending off forced Kris Manolov into some re-adjustments as the defensive-minded Floriana were now expected to bring some urgency to their game. Valletta took the lead 14 minutes from time as Ivan Zammit volleyed home a corner by Karl Bonnici conceded by Haber on an Agius effort.

The Floriana coach made a double substitution throwing into the fray Albert Busuttil and the nippy Antoine Zahra for Mario Caruana and Claude Mattocks respectively. But it proved to no avail as Valletta scored again three minutes from the end. Ivan Zammit turned provider as he spotted Gilbert Agius lurking near the edge of Floriana box. The City striker evaded Gango-Rtsa, swivelled before he whipped in a dipping shot past Justin Haber and into the far corner of the net. A gem of a goal from the darling of City Fans.

The referee's final whistle triggered massive celebrations at the Valletta end. This reached a climax when Gilbert Agius and Kris Laferla hoisted the gleaming Centenary Cup.

15' George Mallia (Floriana), 35' Chris Oretan, 76' Ivan Zammit, 87' Gilbert Agius.

Unless it is decreed otherwise, this competition will now surface again in the year 2100!