MFA The FA Trophy / Rd 2
Kercem A: 3 (T. Grozev 90+2’, O. Rolovic 90+5’pen, P. Taylor 117’)
J.P. Cassar, O. Spiteri, P. Kyumyurdzhiev, L. Grima, A. Buttigieg (J. Buttigieg), J.P. Mizzi, K. Mifsud (P. Taylor), A. Mizzi (E. Vella), N. Bahiya, O. Rolovic, T. Grozev.
Marsa F.C.: 3 (T. Andrade Alavez 44’, L.A. De Melo 47’, Y. Camilleri 94’pen)
Mifsud, L. Scorfna, Y. Camilleri, B. Essiel, A. Sicali, T. Adndrade Alavez, J. Farrugia (G. Martin) (C. Briffa), L. Micallef (G. Sultana), K. Sakurai, L. Omerou, L.A. De Melo.
Marsa win 5-4 on penalties
Kercem Ajax and Marsa F.C. produced one of the most contested encounters from the second round of The FA Trophy of the MFA. Kercem were trailing by two goals until the end of regular time but the Ajax managed to save the result with two goals scored during stoppage time so that extra time was necessary to determine the team to qualify to the next round. The qualification however remained uncertain until the last shot of the penalty shoot-out so that Marsa F.C. earned the qualification. The match was not only exciting because of the contest of play on the field but also because of important episodes which left the qualification at stake until the final whistle. The two sides were well organised, produced good offensive play, had a player each sent off and both teams were also awarded penalty kicks.
The visitors had a prudent approach and during the opening stages of the encounter they tried to protect their area and to operate mainly with counter breaks. On 10 minutes Kercem, who were enjoying more possession, had a good shot that was well saved by goalie Leighton Mifsud. Marsa replied on 16 minutes through a shot by Joseph Farrugia that missed the target and on 31 minutes the hosts were again dangerous through a header by Trayo Grozev following a corner kick by Jean Paul Mizzi that ended high. Two minutes later the same Mizzi had a shot on the run, after receiving from Trayo Grozev, that missed the target. Kercem had another scoring opportunity on 35 minutes but Nelson Bahiya headed badly from a good position following a corner action and the defence cleared the danger. Marsa managed to open the score on 44 minutes when a corner kick by Kento Sakurai was headed in the area by Luis Andre De Melo and Tomas Andrade Alvarez hit the ball backwards to place in goal from close distance.
Marsa had an excellent start to the second period and doubled the score on 47 minutes when a first timer by substitute Gilbert Martin was blocked by goalie John Paul Cassar and from the short clearance Luis Andre De Melo fired in goal with a shot from outside the area that was deflected by Kercem’s defence. Kercem tried to produce an immediate reaction and on 49 minutes Ognjen Rolovic headed wide from a good position following a free kick by Jean Paul Mizzi. On 53 minutes Marsa’s central defender Yessous Camilleri risked to commit an own goal when he controlled badly inside the small area but goalie Leighton Mifsud was well placed and saved the danger. Marsa replied on 56 minutes through a shot from outside the area by Agatino Sicali ended wide. One minute later a header by Trayo Grozev was well saved by goalie Leighton Mifsud. The Ajax tried to increase their efforts in an attempt to re-open the issue. On 59 minutes Kercem’s Trayo Grozev had an attempt when the goalkeeper was out of his position that was blocked to a corner by central defender Yessous Camilleri. Marsa were reduced to ten players on 66 minutes when Agatino Sicali was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Nelson Bahiya. Marsa were not demoralised and despite the fact that they were playing with a player less on the field they went close to score the third goal on 73 minutes when Gilbert Martin entered Kercem’s territory in a counter break but goalie John Paul Cassar saved the danger. Kercem went very close to reduce the deficit on 77 minute but Elton Vella’s shot, after receiving from Ognjen Rolovic, was cleared from the fatal line by Benjamin Essiel when the goalkeeper was beaten. Marsa tried to defend their two-goal lead through great determination while Kercem continued to insist in an attempt to score. On 88 minutes a free kick by Elton Vella almost surprised goalie Leighton Mifsud but the latter managed to save in two attempts. Kercem reduced the score with a goal that arrived in the second minute of stoppage time through a header by Trayo Grozev following a cross by Ognjen Rolovic. Marsa were shocked and two minutes later the referee awarded a penalty to Kercem for a foul by Benjamin Essiel on Ognjen Rolovic and the same Kercem’s striker converted from the spot kick to make it 2-2 and forced the match into extra time.
In the fourth minute of play of the first half of extra time Marsa were awarded a penalty for a foul by Jean Paul Mizzi on Lucky Omeru but Kercem’s goalie John Paul Cassar blocked the shot by Luis Andre De Melo from the spot kick. The same De Melo took the ball from the rebound but was floored in the area by substitute Philip Taylor. The referee awarded a second consecutive penalty and on this occasion Yessous Camilleri converted form the spot kick despite the intervention by Kercem’s goalie John Paul Cassar. Kercem seemed shocked and on 98 minutes they were also reduced to ten players when Nelson Bahiya was sent off for a second bookable offence so that the two sides continued to play with the same number of players on the field. One minute later Kercem’s substitute Joshua Buttigieg failed to connect to a cross from the left flank. Kercem increased their efforts during the dying moments and clinched the equaliser with a goal that arrived on 117 minutes as Laurence Grima headed inside the area a corner kick by Elton Vella and Philip Taylor took the ball and headed in goal from close distance so that the extra time ended in a draw of six goals.
The qualification was determined through the penalty shoot-out. Marsa scored all their five shots from the spot kick through Lucky Omeru, Kento Sakurai, Luis Andre De Melo, Tomas Andrade Alvarez and Yessous Camilleri; while Kercem scored their first four shots from the spot kick through Petar Kyumyurdzhiev, Trayo Grozev, Jean Paul Mizzi and Philip Taylor. Kercem’s fifth shot from the spot kick by Ognjen Rolovic was stopped by the crossbar among the celebrations by Marsa’s players, officials and supporters for the qualification.
Referee: Stefan Pace