GFA BOV GFL Division I
Victoria H: 1 (H. Maciel 71’)
Parnis, D. Farrugia, M. Bamba, J. Tabone, J. Pace, S. Attard, J. Portelli (M. Bezzina), C. Mercieca, J. Bajada, H. Maciel, L.R. Zome (M. Montano).
Ghajnsielem: 1 (J. Tabone o.g. 81’)
Buttigieg, F. Apap, J.J. Sndoval Guarin, E.D. Bilboa Zarate, A. Xuereb (K. Hili), S. Cassar, E.P. Lattes, R. Kooh Sohna, K. Mercieca, D. Hili, J. Camilleri.
Victoria Hotspurs and Ghajnsielem shared the spoils in a draw of two goals following a well contested encounter that produced good scoring opportunities at the two ends of the field of play. As a result of the intensity of the encounter the victory could have gone either way but at the end the final score is quite just. The Hotspurs were aiming to obtain the full points at stake from this encounter in their attempt to join the top teams on the table while Ghajnsielem were also aiming to win this encounter to recover from the disappointing result in their previous match of the championship and to increase their lead over a possible contender for the title.
The Hotspurs undoubtedly produced their best match so far this season and showed that they have the potential to be among the main protagonists in the championship. They were well organised at their defence and held good command of the midfield particularly during the first period. The Hotspurs had Louis Rene Zome who made his debut in an attempt to strengthen the attack. The Citizens left the field disappointed for dropping two precious points as they were leading over the reigning champions until ten minutes form the end of regular time but conceded the equaliser from an own goal. On the other hand Ghajnsielem appeared to have an over confident approach for this encounter as happened in their previous match of the championship. The Blacks had Chris Camilleri missing due to an injury but had Edinson Bilboa Zarate who was making his first appearance in the starting line-up for the first time in the championship. Despite the fact that Ghajnsielem suffered Victoria’s play during the first period, they still managed to produce danger through their strikers Raphael Kooh Sohna and John Camilleri but Victoria’s goalie Adrian Parnis was in good form and denied the strikers from scoring with a series of important interventions. Ghajnsielem became more offensive in their play after the break but their strikers continued to be erratic in their finishing so that the final score remained in contention until the final minutes.
Ghajnsielem almost opened the score in the fourth minute of play when a corner kick by Damon Hili surprised Victoria’s goalie Adrian Parnis. Victoria, who were enjoying territorial supremacy produced their first serious attempt at goal on 11 minutes when Shaun Attard released Louis Rene Zome inside Ghajnsielem’s area but the latter had his shot on the run that missed the target. Two minutes later a header by Victoria’s James Tabone following a corner kick by Jason Portelli was deflected to a corner with the goalkeeper beaten and on 18 minutes Victoria’s Shaun Attard had a shot from outside the area that was neutralised by goalie Luke Buttigieg. Ghajnsielem replied two minutes later through another good corner kick by Damon Hili that was again saved with some hesitation by Victoria’s keeper. On the half hour mark Victoria’s Louis Rene Zome released Henrique Maciel inside Ghajnsielem’s area but the latter saw his low drive ending wide and four minutes later Ghajnsielem’s Raphael Kooh Sohna unmarked John Camilleri inside Victoria’s area but the latter had his low shot that ended just wide. On 38 minutes Victoria’s keeper Adrian Parnis left his position in time to block an attempt from close distance by John Camilleri who received an inviting pass from Raphael Kooh Sohna, and two minutes later Victoria’s Louis Rene Zome had a header following a cross by Jason Pace that ended wide. In the second minute of stoppage time before half time Louis Rene Zome produced a good action inside Ghajnsielem’s area, the ball arrived to Shaun Attard, but the latter had his attempt blocked by the defence so that the first half ended in a goalless draw.
The Blacks tried to take command of play from the early stages of the second period. On 52 minutes a free kick by Edinson Bilboa Zarate missed the target and one minute later Raphael Kooh Sohna had a shot on the run from an ideal position that ended away from goal. On 56 minutes Ghajnsielem’s John Camilleri unmarked Raphael Kooh Sohna but Victoria’s goalie Adrian Parnis was well placed and blocked the danger. Play continued to be well contested but for some time the two defensive departments managed to keep their respective areas clear from danger. On 72 minutes the Hotspurs almost surprised their opponents when Louis Rene Zome passed to substitute Michael Bezzina inside Ghajnsielem’s area, the latter had his attempt deflected by the defence and form the rebound Zome’s first time hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten. In the following action Ghajnsielem produced a good counter break but Raphael Kooh Sohna’s header from close distance was well saved by Victoria’s keeper. The Hotspurs opened the score on 76 minutes through a fine shot from an angled position by Henrique Maciel following a personal action. Ghajnsielem seemed shocked and the Hotspurs could have doubled the score three minutes later when Christian Mercieca unmarked Shaun Attard inside Ghajnsielem’s area but the latter hit badly and the goalkeeper saved the danger without difficulty. On 80 minutes Ghajnsiele’s Raphael Kooh Sohna ad an attempt directly from a free kick that was stopped by the crossbar but one minute later the same striker entered Victoria’s area and from his low cross defender James Tabone hit badly in the attempt the clear the ball from the goalmouth and committed an own goal so that the Blacks levelled the score. During the final minutes Ghajnsielem increased their efforts in an attempt to clinch the victory and on 84 minutes Victoria’s goalie Adrian Parnis was well placed to save an effort by John Camilleri from a corner action. On 89 minutes Victoria’s goalie Adrian Parnis saved the point for his side with a good intervention to neutralise a curling shot by Raphael Kooh Sohna and on the stroke of regular time the Hotspurs operated a counter break and protested for a penalty when Shaun Attard ended on the floor in the area following a challenge with an opponent but the referee did not notice any infringement and the score remained unchanged until the end of the encounter.
Referee: Emanuel Grech
Photos: Anaca Photography