Valletta Futsal Round 1 Round Up Published on: 07-01-2013

Till now we played 8 games with a balance of 2 wins, 1 draw and 5 defeats. Overall with our limited squad, the boys are giving their best every match and sometimes thay find it very difficult against stronger teams with more quality players and experienced. Surely our star is William Barbosa who helped our team with 8 goals in 3 games. 

Valletta vs Lija Athletic
This match kicked off our first season. Our opponents were last year’s runners up Lija Athletic former Naxxar Motors. We already knew that this was going to be a difficult match for our team as we played Lija in our first official match in the FMA Knock-Out Competition.
It was a good effort from our players but experience was a major factor in this match as we were defeated 7-1. As the score line suggests, Lija were the better team and deserved maximum points from the match. But although there was a six-goal difference, at part of the match we managed to play with our opponents. It took about 8 minutes for Lija to break the deadlock but we managed to tie the score with a goal from defender and former football Maltese Champion Graham Bencini. But Lija took the lead again and went 3-1 up till half-time. Before half-time our goalkeeper Clayton Mifsud was injured and since on that day we had only one goalkeeper, he made a big sagrifice and had to play till the end with his injured ribs.     
Through the half-time our boys kept believing that we could still come out with something from this match. But in the second half when Lija scored the 4th goal, the match was put beyond doubt. Until the end our boys tried to get back but Lija’s experience proved to be a tougher nut to crack but although the match finished 7-1 we can look back and take some positives from the match.
Valletta: C. Mifsud, K. Loughborough, G. Bencini, T.J. Forace, G. Hill, N. Hill, D. Piccinino, C. Wells, C. Scicluna, D. Montebello
Lija: M. Mifsud, D. Vukovic, I. Kurtozic, R. Magro, N. Bray, B. Camilleri, J. Miljic, G. Mallia, T. Galea, R. Severino, R. Tanti

Valletta vs Zejtun Corinhians
This second match of the season was against Zejtun Corinthians, a team which has won his first encounter. Before the match we already knew that this was going to be another difficult match but our players tried to focus on getting a positive result.
The team started well and in the opening minutes we had some good opportunities but a lack of finishing cost us and after 6 minutes we conceded our first goal. The team created opportunities but failed to capitalize and by half-time we were 4-0 down.
In the second half with the game almost decided, our coach decided to give playing time to some of the players that haven’t played much. After we went 6-0 down, two goals from Stefano Zampa and captain Gilbert Hill in a minute made the score more respectable. Although the final score was 6-2, one must notice that the level of performance improved also taking into consideration that we  had two shots cleared off the line and four shots that hit the post.  
Valletta: M. Debono, T.J. Forace, D. Piccinino, C. Wells, G. Hill, D. Montebello, S. Zampa, D. Zampa, N. Hill, K. Fenech,  
Zejtun: K. Saliba, J. Sammut, E. Bonnici, E. Saliba, A. Galea, B. Gockay, E. Gauci, J. Micallef, C. Richards, Z. Vukovic, G. Barry, L. Bonett

Valletta vs St. Andrews
In our third match, we played against St. Andrews. We feeled that this was a direct encounter as both teams lost their first two matches. Our aim in this match was that we will not get out of the match empty-handed. Even the coach stressed the importance of not loosing this match.
We started the match positively where we had three good scoring opportunities but our lack of sharpness denied us from going in-front. But against the run of play St. Andrews strucked from a free-kick. Experience was again a major factor where St. Andrews were more lethal and they scored another two goals while we had numerous occasions that we failed to score. But our team didn’t threw the towel and pulled two goals back from Stefano Zampa and Timothy Forace to go to the break one-goal down.
In the second half we were again two goals down with an early goal. But again our players came back and equalised for the first time in the match thanks to Dario Zampa and Aaron Camilleri who was making his debut. St. Andrews took again a two-goal advantage for a 6-4 lead. Three minutes from time Stefano Zampa pulled one back to keep our hopes alive. In fact the lion roared and 52 seconds from time it was again Dario Zampa who made the score 6-6 with a fantastic shot. Apart from equalising we had also the opportunity to claim the three points 10.2 seconds from time but Dario Zampa’s conclusion finished whiskers from the post. 
Valletta: M. Debono, G. Bencini, T.J. Forace, D. Piccinino, K. Loughborough, C. Wells, G. Hill, S. Zampa, D. Zampa, D. Montebello, A. Camilleri, R. Caruana
St. Andrews: F.C: J. Da Silva, K. Saliba, C.A. Vassallo, J. Sammut, D. Smith Cordina, N. Petrovic, E. Catania, A. Mediati, J. De Battista, A. Meyar, L. Benya

Valletta vs Hibernians
This match was the difficult so far as we were facing a powerful team. Before the match we already knew the importance of this match and the up-hill that wewere facing. As Sliema defeated St. Andrews, we were in 9th place with just 1 point.
We started the match very positively with three scoring opportunities in the first minutes. Our players managed to keep their supporters silent for half of the first half until Hibernians scored their first goal when a shot was deflected by Graham Bencini. After this goal Hibernians scored antother two in a space of two minutes. From then onwards our players gave up and Hibernians dominated. By half time we were 7-0 down. The difference in quality was evident as their foreigners and even some national players were too much for our players.
Since the game was lost already the coach decided to play some fringe players to give them chance to show what they are capable. Also, Hibernians reduced their rhythm. At least a minute from the end we managed to score a goal thanks to Daniel Piccinino for a final score of 1-12.
Valletta: M. Debono, G. Bencini, T. Forace, D. Piccinino, S. Zampa, D. Zampa, A. Camilleri, D. Montebello, R. Caruana, G. Hill.
Hibernians: C. Cassar, B. Nisevic, X. Saliba, C. Sciberras, B. Marev, G. Gerasinov, M. Borg, D. Agius, F. Ellul, C. Galea

Valletta vs Hamrun Spartans
This was the 5th match of the season. After losing to Hibernians with a big score, it was time for our boys to raise the bar, get their heads up and start showing that they are no pushovers. We were facing the only team that had less points than us, so it was imperative for us to win. We had a big boost as the coach of the senior team Mark Miller decided to give us William Barbosa. Obviously having Barbosa added to our ranks increased our quality.
The first minutes of the match, were surely on Barbosa as everyone present wanted to see his capabilities in a different pitch. We were surely the better side but against the run of play Hamrun opened the score. Since then we had a shot from Barbosa that hit the post and the other was saved by Cacciatolo’s face. But after going down 2-0, Barbosa left his first mark but Hamrun scored again to go 3-1 up in the break.
But after the break the lion roared and came back with five goals from Barbosa (2), Aaron Camilleri and Stefano Zampa and TJ Forace to turn the tables to 6-3. But after Hamrun pulled one back, our boys kept concentration and a marvellous goal by William Barbosa restored our lead and put the game beyond doubt. Stefano Zampa added another to win the match 8-4 to win our first ever match as Valletta F.C. 
Valletta: M. Debono, R. Caruana, G. Bencini, T. Forace, D. Piccinino, D. Montebello, C. Wells, A. Camilleri, S. Zampa, D. Zampa, G. Hill, W. Barbosa
Hamrun: A. Cacciatolo, R. Cardona, M. Spiteri, M. Scerri, S. Sultana, A. Zammit, C. Zammit, J. Buttigieg, D. Blano, L. Vitanov

Valletta vs Balzan
After winning our first match against Hamrun, we were facing an up-hill battle when we were facing Champions Balzan. Balzan are the best team in Malta and they have rarely lost in the last two years. In this difficult match Valletta F.C Senior coach Mark Miller gave us William Barbosa scorer of four goals in his first match and Leandro Almeida da Silva. Although we had two foreigners, the class of Balzan were too much as Leandro was playing his first game and he started with a difficult task against the Champions. Apart from that, Balzan are a complete team with five-star foreigners and a good group of Maltese players who apart from their talent are experienced. Our squad was more inferior but our boys tried their best.        
Balzan made their intentions clear and they took the lead in the beginning of the match. After going down early in the match, our boys tried to level our opponents and they managed until the middle of the first half when Balzan scored the second and the third goal in a space of a few seconds. Till the end of the first half Balzan scored another goal to go 4-0 up.
After the half-time talk, our best player William Barbosa clawed one back with a beautiful shot and the Balzan were starting to worry. We had the chance to score the second goal only 30 seconds after but Leandro Almeida missed from close range. After this missed chance, Balzan regained their superiority and scored another two goals. William Barbosa scored his second goal of the match to give some hope. But after Balzan scored the 7-2 the match ended and till the end the Champions scored three other goals to finish the match 10-2.
Valletta: R. Caruana, G. Bencini, T. Forace, D. Piccinino, G. Hill, D. Montebello, C. Wells, A. Camilleri, S. Zampa, W. Barbosa, L. Almeida da Silva, M. Debono
Balzan: M. Xerxen, L. Calleja, C. Anton, G. Bonello, B. Emeka, C. Scicluna, C. Micallef, F. Anton, R. Debattista, N. Delre, R. Grech

Valletta vs Tarxien
Our 7th match was against Tarxien Rainbows. Tarxien are in the middle of the table with 7 points while we were with 4 points. Our last match was against the Champions Balzan where we lost 10-2. Tarxien had their two Romanian foreigners missing as they were called up for International duty. But despite fielding a depleted side with only just 7 players, we were sfortunate to have William Barbosa missing as one hour and a half before the match, we recieved a call that he injured a bit his tendon during training. With this absence, our players were demoralised.
With us having Barbosa and Tarxien having their Romanian duo missing, the level of the match dropped a bit but as we started the match, we were better than our opponents where we also had several chances but we failed to capitalise. But against the run of play, Tarxien scored with 12 minutes remaining from the first half. Although we were better than Tarxien, the level of performance still wasn’t good enough and coach Kevin Loughborough came in. The first half ended 1-0 for Tarxien.
After the talk, in the second half our players were better but still we failed to score. Tarxien rarely had a shot on target and the game was in our hands with the possession being in our favour. As coach Kevin came in again we raised our level as he was our point of reference. Five minutes from the end Kevin Loughborough strucked with a beautiful left shot in the corner. After equalising the player’s moral was on a high and they searched for the winning goal but with 37 seconds from the end of the match Raul Morasafont scored for Tarxien to win the three points for his team to our disappointment.
Valletta: M. Debono, G. Bencini, T. Forace, S. Zampa, D. Piccinino, D. Montebello, G. Hill, A. Camilleri, C. Wells, K. Loughborough         
Tarxien: N. Farrugia, G. Baldacchino, R. Morasafont, J. Ciangura, J.C. Sammut, C. Wismayer, S. Gambin

Valletta vs Floriana
After beginning December with a defeat against Tarxien, it was derby time as we were facing Floriana. It was our first derby in Futsal against Floriana. Before this match, they were fifth with 11 points while we were in 8th place with 4 points. For this match our foreigner William Barbosa returned and this gave us a huge boost. We were aware of the power of Floriana as they are a team that has grown in Futsal year after year and they have a squad based on playerswho are experienced in futsal. 
As the game started, possession was 50-50 with both teams having their chances and their possession. We took the lead as William Barbosa scored a wonderful goal after beating two opponents. Barbosa had also hit the post twice before the goal. Floriana equalised  with a goal from captain Kurt Bartolo. Floriana took the lead three minutes after when after making our sixth foul, Pio Sciriha made no mistake from the 6 metre. But it was again our hero William Barbosa who again dribbled past his opponents and with a fiercing shot managed to beat Baldacchino. But the first half wasn’t over as 3 seconds from half time our player/coach Kevin Loughborough scored from close range with a veteran instinct.
The second half offered a more balanced performance with Floriana piling up the pressure for the draw. Barbosa continued his show with his numerous tricks and also hitting the third post. In an argument two players were sent-off with Aaron Camilleri from our team hitting the showers early. By these red cards, the game underwent a two minute period with a 3v3 game. With twominutes remaining we sealed the derby victory with another goal from captain Timothy Forace for a final result of 4-2 and a true Christmas present.  
Valletta: M. Debono, G. Bencini, T. Forace, G. Hill, D. Montebello ,D. Piccinino, A. Camilleri, C. Wells, B. Grech, K. Loughborough, W. Barbosa
Floriana: B. Baldacchino, D. O’Brien, H. Friggieri, F. Guzman, P. Sciriha, F. Xerri, K. Azzopardi, D. Brincat, K. Bartolo, A. Mangion, P. Bugeja, M. Attard

Our next match is on the 1st of February against Sliema which is a direct encounter.  I urge all Valletta supporters to support this team which lies under Valletta F.C. Valletta F.C Committee Member Kevin Gauci and I would like to thank all those people who help us and wish that the second round will be better to keep Valletta’s name as high as  possible.
Stewart Said
Valletta F.C Futsal
Team Manager

League Fixtures

Vs Lija Athletic  1-7 Graham Bencini
Vs Zejtun Corinthians 2-6 Stefano Zampa, Gilbert Hill
Vs St. Andrews  6-6 Stefano Zampa (2), Timothy Forace, Dario Zampa (2), Aaron Camilleri
Vs Hibernians  1-12 Daniel Piccinino
Vs Hamrun Spartans 8-4 William Barbosa (4), Stefano Zampa (2), Timothy Forace, Aaron Camilleri
Vs Balzan   2-10 William Barbosa (2)
Vs Tarxien Rainbows 1-2 Kevin Loughborough
Vs Floriana  4-2 William Barbosa (2), Kevin Loughborough, Timothy Forace

Scorers:  William Barbosa  8
 Stefano Zampa  5
Timothy Forace  3
Kevin Loughborough 2
Dario Zampa  2
Aaron Camilleri  2
Graham Bencini  1
Gilbert Hill  1
Daniel Piccinino  1
Article by Stewart Said