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Valletta pair focused on finishing off the job

Valletta FC strikers Denni and Alfred Effiong were as synchronised off the pitch as on it as they warned not to take anything for granted despite beating SP Tre Fiori 3-0.

Valletta were impressive victors in the first leg
Valletta were impressive victors in the first leg ©Filippo Pruccoli

Valletta FC strike pairing Denni and Alfred Effiong were as synchronised off the pitch as on it in Serravalle as they highlighted the importance of finishing the job off against SP Tre Fiori.

Denni scored the first goal for the Maltese champions in San Marino and then supplied the second for Effiong en route to a 3-0 away victory in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. It leaves a meeting with Lithuania's FK Ekranas in the second round in touching distance.

"We won't be thinking about Ekranas and the second round until this tie is over," Denni countered. "I don't think my runs here were decisive because the whole team played well and it was great to have Effiong in the team because he's a great player who we know all about."

Effiong, the Maltese Premier League top scorer with 17 goals at Marsaxlokk FC prior to his summer move north, was making his competition debut for Valletta. He did not need a third invitation to open his scoring account after twice being denied in the first half.

"I'm happy for the goal and my team", said the Nigerian striker, "but I owe it to my team-mates for doing everything to make me comfortable. We have a good advantage now but we have one more match to play before we think of the next round."

Tre Fiori had been training for only ten days before the first leg and new player-coach Paolo Tarini had a tough first night in the job.

"Valletta have good players and deserved their win," said attacker Michael Simoncini, who was on duty as a military guard outside the government building in the lead-up to the match. "I think we deserved a goal. We almost reached half-time at 0-0 and it's a pity we conceded but they have such a strong, technically-gifted team."

A changing of the guard will be a tall order when Tre Fiori head to Malta for the second leg on 6 July.