Valletta beat rivals Floriana to secure Anniversary Cup Published on: 30-11-2017

In 2009-10 Valletta lost the championship to Birkirkara but they made up for this disappointment by winning the Anniversary Cup and the FA Trophy.

That season the Malta FA was celebrating the 100 years from the first league championship. Therefore, to mark the occasion the governing body held a oneoff cup competition between all clubs that compete in its leagues. Valletta, like the other Premier League clubs, entered the competition in the third round against Gozo FC.

Played on December 4, 2009, the game was a no-contest with Valletta coasting through after a 9-0 victory. In the next round, the Citizens met Division One leaders Vittoriosa Stars. The Stars were far more difficult opponents than the Gozitans but the Lilywhites still cleared this obstacle by three goals to nil. Star of the game was Ian Zammit who celebrated his 23rd birthday with a hat-trick.

The serious business, however, started on February 9, 2010, when Valletta played Hibernians in the quarter-finals. The Paolites gave Valletta a good fight but the Citizens hardened their hearts and made their superiority tell. A quarter of an hour into the second period, Roderick Briffa opened the score, forcing Hibernians to chase the tie.

The Paolites tried hard to draw level but eight minutes later they were given the coup de grace by Kevin Sammut. So, Valletta marched on to meet Tarxien Rainbows in the semi-finals. In the other semi-final, Floriana had to strain every muscle to beat Mosta 3-1. This victory opened the prospect for a dream final against Valletta. The Citizens rose to the challenge and battled past the Rainbows to set up a showdown against their sporting foes.

The game with Tarxien ended 1-1 and had to go into extra time when Valletta finally broke their opponents’ resistance with two goals from Michael Mifsud and Njongo Priso. So, we come to the final and what a match it was! This game took us back ten years when Valletta fought back from a goal down to beat the Greens 3-1 and add the coveted Centenary Cup to their array of trophies. And, in 2010, the Citizens repeated the feat when they defeated Floriana with the same scoreline in the Anniversary Cup final. It was a tetchy and highly volatile match which in my opinion was won for Valletta by the genius of Michael Mifsud.

The Malta striker chose this game to give one of the greatest performances of his career. However, Valletta’s victory was not as easy as the score may suggest. Greens’ fight The Greens put up a great fight and gave their more-quoted opponents a good run for their money. Mifsud gave Valletta a twogoal lead by the 47th minute but with three minutes left, Pablo Doffo pulled one back for Floriana. Panic crept inside the Whites’ rearguard but right on the stroke of time Mifsud doused Floriana’s ardour with his third goal.

When referee, Chris Lautier sounded the final whistle the National Stadium nearly split its seams as the thousands of City fans broke into a delirium of wild celebrations. That season, the City faithful had another occasion to celebrate when at the end of the season, Valletta beat Qormi in the FA Trophy final. The final game was the easiest of the three played by Valletta that year in the FA Trophy tournament. Having gained a 2-0 lead after only 20 minutes, the Citizens closed their defence and effectively repelled back Qormi’s late efforts.

Only eight minutes were on the clock when Mifsud opened the score for Valletta. Priso cut inside from the left and delivered a cross to the edge of the box where Mifsud was waiting to hit in an unstoppable grounder. Qormi were clearly struggling to keep up with the pace of their opponents and 12 minutes later, Terence Scerri anticipated an inviting pass from Briffa and ran past his marker before hitting the ball into the net.

In the second period, Qormi improved considerably and they started to venture more forward. However, in the 64th minute Priso was tripped in the penaltyarea and referee Clayton Pisani did not hesitate to point to the spot. It seemed to be all over for Qormi but the Cameroonian slipped as he took the kick and sent the ball crushing against the bar. Ten minutes later it was Qormi’s turn to gain a penalty when Gilbert Agius brought down Camilo Sanvezzo in the area. This time the Brazilian scored to set up a tense finale. The Yellows, having been down and out for most of the game, caught a whiff of a famous comeback.

They threw everything they had in a last desperate effort to save the game. But Ton Caanen’s City withstood Qormi’s late assault to lift the FA Trophy for the 12th time in the club’s history

Source - Times of Malta