Qormi shatter Valletta's double hopes in thriller
Qormi 4 Valletta 3
Qormi stunned Valletta in a seven-goal thriller this evening to book a place in the FA Trophy final.
Jonathan Caruana scythed down Joringho to end Qormi's first serious venture towards the City penalty area after seven minutes. And Farrugia smashed home a stunning 25-metre free-kick with a delightful right-foot strike that bent away from Andrew Hogg's despairing dive.
Most of the premier league may have crumbled after such an early blow, but not Valletta who demonstrated their resilience with an equaliser within 60 seconds – and there was no surprises who found the net.
Denni's form has been sensational this season as he had time and space to control the ball before powering his shot into the roof of the net after more good work from Edmond Agius.
After restoring parity, Valletta controlled much of possession as Denni and Oussain Zongo became increasingly influential, switching flanks to expose Qormi's defence.
In the 27th minute, the Brazilian came inches away with a dipping volley from the edge of the box after being set-up by Michael Mifsud.
But Valletta were not to be denied six minutes later as Valletta continued to show better ideas. Scerri rose majestically in the centre of the box to beat his marker Kouadio and power home a head from Denni's cross before embarking on wild celebrations in front of the Lilywhites fans.
Moments later, Zongo made light with some fancy footwork on the left flank to cut inside and making room for a shot but Matthew Farrugia, the Qormi goalkeeper pushed his effort to a corner.
Yet, the Valletta rearguard were having a torrid time trying to tame Jorginho, repeatedly restoring to fouls and just before half-time, they conceded another free-kick, this time in the Brazilian perfect territory on the right-hand side. Jorginho produced a perfectly-flighted swerving shot that ripped past the hapless Andrew Hogg.
The pattern continued after the break and Zongo thought he pierced Qormi's defence again in the 48th minute, when he arrived unmarked onto Briffa's cross, only to see his effort crashing against the post.
But 10 minutes later, Qormi made the breakthrough courtesy of a brilliant effort from Jorginho. After a patient build-up, Farrugia picked up the ball near the halfway line and hit a spectacular long-range pass as the Brazilian threw himself at the long ball, leaving two Valletta defenders in his wake before striking an unstoppable swinger past Hogg.
Zerafa quickly made a double substitution, with Zongo and William Barbosa making way for Alfred Effiong and Gilbert Agius in a bid to rouse his side. The move quickly brought reward when a shot by substitute Agius struck Koudio's hand in the area and referee Trustan Farrugia Cann pointed to the spot. From the ensuing spot-kick, Denni sent Farrugia the wrong way and sent the Valletta fans into delirium.
Yet the National Stadium was a Yellow-Black explosion of joy one minute from time, after one slick passing move, Jorginho played a one-two with Bello-Osagie before the Brazilian showed great clarity of thought and composure, to drive into the area and beat Hogg with a powerful low finish.
The last chance fell to Valletta but a rasping drive by Mifsud from outside the area was tipped over the bar by Farrugia.