Valletta held FK Kukësi of Albania in a goalless draw in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round at the Loro Boriçi Stadium in Shkoder on Wednesday. A draw which leaves a good chance of making it to the next round of the competition ahead of the second leg which will be played at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.
Coach Danilo Doncic handed the debut to Mario Fontanella, naming him in the starting line-up.
The hosts had an edge over their opponents but the Citizens gave a good account of themselves and had shots on target by Matteo Piciollo and substitute Kyrian Nwoko.
The winners of the first qualifying round ties move on to the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round while the losers would move to the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.
The winners will play the winners of Olimpija Ljubljana/Qarabağ in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League while the losers meet the losers of Spartak Trnava/Zrinjski in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.
KUKES Stivi Frasheri, Ylli Shameti, Vangjel Zguro (58′ Valon Ethemi), Sebino Plaku (75′ Haris Harba), Donjet Shkodra (80′ Dino Spehar), Harallamb Qaqi, Arber Cyrbja, Simo Rumbullaku, Besar Musolli, William Cordeiro Melo, Irakli Dzaria.
VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Matteo Piciollo, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Raed Ibrahim Saleh (90+1′ Jean Borg), Rowen Muscat (70′ Juan Cruz Gill), Miguel Angel Alba (77′ Kyrian Nwoko), Mario Fontanella.
Referee: Thoroddur Hjaltalin (ISL)
Assistant Referees: Frosti Vidar Gunnarsson, Oddur Helgi Gudmundsson (ISL)
Fourth official: Thorvaldur Árnason (ISL)
Article by Antoine Busutill