GFA Cup Rd 1
Kercem Ajax Stadium
Kercem A: 4 (N. Bahiya 14’, T. Grozev 40’, O. Rolovic 66’, N. Mercieca 75’)
Vella, O. Spiteri, P. Kyumyurdzhiev, L. Grima, A. Buttigieg, N. Bahiya (J. Grech), M. Mifsud (K. Mifsud), A. Mizzi, O. Rolovic, J. Buttigieg (N. Mercieca), T. Grozev.
St Lawrence S: 1 (M.S. Telessi 67’ pen.)
Fenech, L. Buttigieg (J. Grech), C. Cardona, S. Mizzi (C. Cauchi), D. Di Maio, J. Theuma, M.S. Telessi, J. Grima, D. Micallef, C. Tabone, L. Attard (S. Sultana).
Kercem Ajax obtained a deserved win over second division side St Lawrence Spurs and earned qualification to the next round of the second most important competition in Gozo. Kercem paved the way to the victory with two goals scored during the first period and administered play for most of the encounter. St Lawrence Spurs tried to resist to their more quoted opponents but they found it difficult to share play.
As expected Kercem took command of play from the early stages and could have opened the score on ten minutes but Nelson Bahiya headed over the crossbar a corner kick by Ognjen Rolovic. St Lawrence replied two minutes later through a shot by Jason Theuma that ended wide. Kercem opened the score on 14 minutes when Trayo Grozev failed to connect to a cross by Ognjen Rolovic from the left flank and Nelson Bahiya took the loose ball and concluded in goal from close distance. St Lawrence went close to level the score on 16 minutes but Mohammed Senussi Telessi concluded wide from a good position following a free kick by Chris Cardona. As time passed by Kercem held territorial supremacy and seemed in control of play. However, on 29 minutes St Lawrence could have scored the equaliser but a low shot by Charlon Tabone form an angled position hit the base of the post and the ball passed in front of an open goal and ended wide. Kercem doubled the score on 40 minutes when Trayo Grozev won a ball in the midfield, entered the area and fired in goal as he came face to face with the goalkeeper.
In the third minute of play Kercem went very close to increase their lead but St Lawrence’s goalie Elliott Fenech managed to save a close ranged header by Trayo Grozev following a free kick to a corner. Kercem reduced their pressure and the Spurs took advantage to operate some offensive play. On 56 minutes Denis Di Maio entered Kercem’s area through a personal action but his shot ended away from goal and one minute later the same striker had a goal that was disallowed for a foul on a defender. Kercem scored their third goal on 66 minutes through a shot by Ognjen Rolovic following a personal action and one minute later St Lawrence were awarded a penalty for handling by Owen Spiteri. Mohammed Senussi Telessi converted from the spot kick and scored the consolation goal for his side. On 75 minutes Kercem re-established the three goal difference through a close ranged shot by substitute Nathaniel Mercieca following a free kick by Petar Kyumyurdzhiev that was not cleared by the defence. The same young striker Mercieca had a close ranged attempt following a cross by Trayo Grozev that was saved in two attempts by goalie Elliott Fenech and on 80 minutes Kercem’s goalie Franklin Vella managed to block the danger with some difficulty following an attempt by Denis Di Maio. The same goalkeeper once again denied Di Maio from scoring St Lawrence’s second goal with a fine intervention on 82 minutes so that the score remained unchanged.
Referee: Kurt Saliba