Valletta 1 FK Parizan 4 Published on: 17-07-2012

Valletta’s hopes of reaching the next stage of the Champions League were dashed this evening as the Citizens crashed to a 4-1 defeat to FK Partizan in the first leg of their second qualifying round match at the Hibs Stadium.

Making their first appearance in this season’s top European competition, Partizan proved too strong for Valletta, translating their early superiority into three first-half goals which all but sealed their win.

While Partizan had good cause to be delighted with their performance, they were shamed by the irresponsible behaviour of some of their supporters who tried to force their way into the stadium from a nearby field after failing to obtain tickets for the match.

Their brief attempts to enter the stadium caused a commotion in the first half as two of them managed to get in but the police intervened to restore order. Unconfirmed reports claim that around 12 Partizan supporters have been arrested.

On the field, Partizan gained the initiative from the initial whistle, taking the lead after just five minutes. Nemanja Tomic surprised Valletta goalkeeper Andre Krul with a dipping effort from an angled position to send the Partizan fans seated in the VIP area into raptures.

The erstwhile subdued Valletta threatened to equalise in an isolated counter-attack. A long clearance from the back landed at the feet of Michael Mifsud who advanced but two Partizan defenders intervened to clear the ball away for a corner.

Partizan remained in control. They came close to a second goal when Stefan Scepovic burst clear on the right before playing a precise cross to Lazar Markovic whose first-time flick was blocked by Krul. The loose ball fell to Babovic but his half-volley rolled wide of the near post.

As Partizan’s initial pressure fizzled out, Valletta came more into the picture. They protested for a penalty when  Ryan Fenech’s shot appeared to come off Sasa Markovic’s arm but Israeli referee Liran Liany saw nothing wrong.

On 25 minutes, Scepovic blocked a clearance by Jonathan Caruana and ran into the box from the left but his angled shot ended wide.

Moments later, the match was halted for a few minutes as two Partizan fans, holding a large banner, made their way into the stadium after jumping a perimeter wall. The two fans walked across the warm-up pitch before being apprehended by the police.

More ticketless Partizan supporters tried to enter the stadium after forcing open an iron gate but the police managed to push them back.

When the game resumed, Partizan doubled their lead, Ivan Ivanov heading Babovic’s right-hand corner into the net.

Three minutes from half-time, Partizan went 3-0 up. The impressive Babovic strode into the box from the left before passing to Scepovic who fired past Krul.

At the start of the second half, Miller introduced newly-signed Brazilian midfielder Joao Gabriel Da Silva for Ian Azzopardi.

Valletta pressed forward after the change of ends. They should have reduced the deficit when Briffa passed to Denni who cut inside from the right but his grounder was deflected away for a corner.

Da Silva’s introduction bolstered Valletta’s midfield.

Briffa’s diagonal pass sent Denni clear on the left as the Brazilian sped into the box before sending in a low cross towards Da Silva who blasted over.

At the other end, Babovic shot wide but on 65 minutes, Valletta got one back. The improving Denni supplied a through-ball to Mifsud who beat the offside trap before prodding past Vladimir Stojkovic, the Partizan goalkeeper.

Miller brought on Jhonnattann, another forward, for Fenech but any hopes Valletta may have had of reviving the tie vanished when Partizan went 4-1 up.  Milos Ostojic nipped in to head Babovic’s free-kick past Krul.

Babovic was wide with another fierce shot before Partizan substitute Mohamed Zubya lofted the ball over the ball after being released by Sasa Ilic.

Source - Times of Malta

VALLETTA - A. Krul, D. Dos Santos, J. Caruana, I. Azzopardi (Gabriel), D.Falzon, S. Borg (E. Agius),  W. Barbosa,  R. Briffa, R. Da Rocha Filo, R.Fenech (Johnnattan), M. Mifsud.

FK PARTIZAN  - V. Stojkovic, V. Volkov, N. Tomic (M. Zubya), G. Lovre (S. Ilic), S. Scepovic, N. Aksentijevic, I. Ivanov, S. Markovic, S. Babovic, M. Ostojic, L. Markovic (N. Nikovic).

UEFA Champions League 2nd Round 1st leg
Date: 17-07-12     Time: 20:45    Venue: Hibs Ground

Scorers:  6' N. Tomic, 33' I. Ivanov, 42' S. Scepovic, 71' M. Ostojic (P) 65' Michael Mifsud (V)

Yellow Cards: D. Dos Santos, R. Fenech, R. Rocha, S. Babovic.

Referee: Liran Liany (Israel)