Raed Ibrahim’s Valletta retains Malta league title
Oman's talented midfielder Raed Ibrahim may not have played in Valletta FC's concluding league game against Hibernians in the Malta Premier League on Saturday but he celebrated his second league title as Valletta edged past its rival in a shootout 4-2 to claim the 2018-19 top honours after the teams were tied 2-2 at the end of extra-time at the National Stadium in Ta'Qali, Malta.
Valletta retained its crown with a gutsy performance to secure the 25th league title of its club’s history.
Raed Ibrahim, who has been a key player in the league's success over the past two seasons, missed the concluding game due to suspension.
However, the 26 year old Omani international celebrated the landmark achievement by tweeting his photo with the trophy and the winner’s medal.
It was Raed’s third trophy with Valletta, having won the league and FA Trophy last season.
Raed had moved from Dhofar Club to the Maltese Premier League club in 2017 on a free transfer.
Valletta, which was founded in 1943, has now joined its rival Floriana on the overall winners‘ list and is just one win away from Sliema Wanderers, which top the standings with 26 titles.
On Saturday, Hibernians took an early lead through Taylon. But Valletta’s experience came to the fore and it drew level through its skipper Jonathan Caruana to force extra-time.
Valletta remained on top as Mario Fontanella put it ahead on 98 minutes. But Hibs kept fighting and managed to stun its opponent with a Marko Sahanek equaliser two minutes from time to send the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Valletta was perfect from the spot while Hibs missed through Sahanek, who hit the post, and Taylon saw his shot saved by Henry Bonello.
That left Fontanella with the task of securing the winner and the Italian duly delivered to fire home the winning penalty.
Valletta will now look forward to Wednesday’s FA Trophy quarterfinal against the same rival and Raed could be back in the squad as he set its sights on a second successive league and club double.
Last year, Raed had become the first Omani to win a top-flight double in an European league last season when Valletta won the Premier League and the FA Trophy.