Sliema Wanderers got their hands on their first piece of silverware ahead of the 2016/17 season.
The Maltese side beat Valletta 2-0 at the Luxol Stadium on Sunday.
Sliema’s tall forward started off well, nutmegging a Velletta full back just two minutes into the game.
A minute later, Valletta had their first chance of the game with a free kick on the left hand side. The set piece was sent into the Sliema box before being cleared by a Blue’s player. There was a number of appeals for handball against Sliema but they were soon waved away by the referee.
The 12th minute saw the Sliema defence in action again, as Valletta’s number 24 attempted to force his way through the back four. The Wanderers were soon to clear the ball.
Three minutes later, Sliema broke the deadlock after a well delivered corner was cleared by Valletta. The ball was worked back into the box, across goal which allowed a Blue’s player to shoot. The initial shot was saved by Valletta’s goalkeeper but Sliema’s Mark Scerri was quick to knock in the rebound to make it 1-0.
Valletta were awarded a free kick in the 18th minute which was drilled in to the area by number two, a red player managed to get his head on the ball which was knocked wide for a goal kick.
30 minutes into the game and tempers were raised as Valletta’s number 10 head butted, Sliema’s talented number 13 following a rash challenge. The referee collected both players together who then apologised leading to no cards being given. Sliema were awarded a free kick which was handled well by Valletta’s goalkeeper.
Four minutes later, and Valletta had a chance to equalize as the Sliema goalkeeper miss punched a cross which fell to a Red player. The chance was wasted as the Valletta player could not convert a shot.
Moments before half time, Valletta’s 21 produced a weak shot which was handled well by Sliema’s goalkeeper. The shot stopper, went on to kick the ball up in an attempt to counter attack but Valletta’s keeper caught the headed ball with ease.
Valletta came out for the second half looking for an equalizer. The Red’s number 10 produced a powerful shot which was handled well by the Sliema goalkeeper.
The 53rd minute saw Brazilian, Romeo Romao come on for Valletta.
Sliema followed by swapping goalkeepers as their number 25 came off for the side’s number one.
65 minutes into the game and Sliema created some great build up play around the edge of the box which was wasted as the side’s number 13 provided a lobbed through ball with just too much power which went out for a goal kick.
Sliema’s number five countered well in the 72nd minute, running the length of the pitch before being taken down in the penalty area. There were a number of appeals for a penalty but the referee waved play on.
Valletta kept fighting hard but Sliema added to their lead four minutes from time. The Wanderers’ number 13 provided a powerful run which was played to Matthias Mucchardi who calmly slotted the ball home to add to Sliema’s lead, making it 2-0.
The 90th minute saw Valletta look for a consolation goal as the Sliema keeper was forced into action to make a low save.
The final whistle blew as Sliema were announced winners of the Evolution Gaming Summer Cup Final.
Sliema’s John Mintoff commented on the win saying, “I think that the final win against Valletta gives us confidence ahead of our first league encounter against the same team.
“Aside from the result we are satisfied on how we performed as a team and on how we adapted to different teams so far and assess our physical condition as this is only the fifth week since we started pre season.”
When asked about Sliema’s chances within the league Mintoff said “It is too early to predict.
“Our aim is always to give 100% in each match and play for each other. We have good team spirit and always try to improve in each match.”