MFA The FA Trophy / Rd 2
Victoria H: 1 (M. Montano 88’)
Vella, M. Bamba, C. Mercieca (J. Tabone), D. Farrugia, S. Attard, J. Pace, M. Bezzina (J. Bajada), H. Maciel, C. Mercieca (M. Montano), F. Camilleri, I.O. Guabodia.
Zejtun C: 1 (A. Tabone 12’pen)
Zarb, J. Mifsud, C. Giordimaina, M. Busuttil (E. Camilleri), C. Farrugia (K. Buttigieg), I. Galea, T. Kumpei, A. Tabone, A. Carabott, S. Vella (A. Ewurum), G. Zenke.
Victoria Hotspurs win 4-3 on penalties
Victoria Hotspurs scored a late equaliser to force extra time in their match from the second round of The FA Trophy against Zejtun Corinthians and ended up winning the qualification after the penalty shoot-out. In this match the Hotspurs confirmed the difficulties that they are finding in the Gozitan championship to live up to the expectations and struggled for most of the time against the MFA second division side Zejtun to recover the score. However, the Hotspurs managed to earn the qualification through the penalty shoot-out where they scored four shots from the spot kick, while their opponents missed the last of their shots in the shoot-out. On the other hand Zejtun, who are main contenders to play in a higher category next season, took an early lead from a penalty and managed to administer play for long stretches. Zejtun were well organised at their defence and kept their area clear from serious danger for most of the time. The Blues were also dangerous in sporadic counter break but as time passed by they suffered Victoria’s better physical condition and conceded the equaliser two minutes away from the end of regular time.
The Hotspurs tried to take command of play but in the twelfth minute the referee awarded a penalty for a challenge by Victoria’s Shaun Attard on Melvin Busuttil and Alan Tabone converted from the spot kick. Zejtun were now in the driving seat as they protected their defensive department and threatened their opponents with counter breaks. Victoria’s first attempt at Zejtun’s goal in an attempt to level the score arrived on 26 minutes when Henrique Maciel released Michael Bezzina in Zejtun’s area but the latter had his close ranged shot by Zejtun’s goalie Dunstan Zarb. Two minutes later Victoria’s Shaun Attard had a shot following a rebound from a free kick that missed the target. In the first minute of stoppage time Zejtun could have doubled the score in the first minute of stoppage time before half time but a strike by Shawn Vella following a cross from the left flank that was saved by goalie George Vella.
Zejtun were again dangerous in the second minute of play of the second period but an attempt by Adrian Carabott was neutralised by Victoria’s goalie George Vella. On 52 minutes Victoria’s rear guard passed through another serious action but Shawn Vella’s shot from a good position ended away from goal. Victoria continued to suffer Zejtun’s play during the initial stages of the second period and on 69 minutes goalie George Vella was again called to make a good intervention to save a shot by Zejtun’s Godwin Zenke. The Hotspurs recovered from the difficult phase and during the final stages of the regular time they increased their efforts to clinch the equaliser. On 81 minutes Zejtun’s goalie was called to make a difficult intervention to save a shot by substitute Jonathan Bajada following some hesitation by the defence. Victoria levelled the score on 88 minutes when Jonathan Bajada released the other substitute Miguel Montano who entered the area, passed around the goalkeeper and deposited the ball into an open goal. The score remained unchanged in the remaining minutes and the match had to be extended to extra time.
Play during extra time was balanced with few actions at the two ends of the pitch. Zejtun had their best attempt at goal on 100 minutes through a shot by Alan Tabone that ended wide and the Hotspurs replied four minutes later but a lob by Jonathan Bajada was neutralised by goalie Dunstan Zarb. In the second minute of play of the second period of extra time Victoria’s Henrique Maciel had a shot that was blocked by the defence and on 117 minutes Victoria’s rear guard failed to clear the ball following a cross by Jamie Mifsud but goalie George Vella recovered his position and saved the danger. The Hotspurs were reduced to ten players one minute later when Frankie Camilleri was sent off for a foul away from play and Zejtun also ended with the same number of player on the field in the first minute of stoppage time of extra time when Clayton Giordimaina was sent off for remarks towards the referee. The referee ordered the end of play in the fifth minute of play of stoppage time and the two sides went to the penalty shoot out to determine the winner of the qualification. Victoria Hotspurs scored four penalty kicks through Shaun Attard, Miguel Montano, Henrique Maciel and Daniel Farrugia. Zejtun scored their first three penalty kicks through Adrian Carabott, Alan Tabone and Tanake Kumpei. Isaac Galea had his shot from the spot kick that was stopped by the crossbar while the fifth penalty kick by substitute Anthony Ewurun was saved by Victoria’s goalie George Vella so that the Hotspurs did not need to shoot their fifth kick and the Hotspurs earned qualification with a 4-3 win in the penalty shoot-out.
Referee: Shaun Calleja