GFA BOV GFL Division I
Buttigieg, F. Apap, A. Tramboo (D. Hili), J. J. Sandoval Guarin, E.D. Bilboa Zarate, C. Camilleri, S. Cassar (K. Hili), E.P. Lattes, R.A. Kooh Sohna, K. Mercieca, J. Camilleri.
Nadur Y: 1 (D. Dos Santos 41’)
Grima, J. Buttigieg, D. Stojanovic, R. Da Silva, S. Attard, M. Hyzler (M. Zerafa), M. Stojanovic, C. Hili (P. Camilleri), D. Dos Santos, C. Antunes, J. Grima (B. Said).
Nadur Youngsters confirmed their excellent moment of form and earned the full points at stake from the top of the table clash against reigning champions Ghajnsielem so that they ended the first round with a four point lead over the same Ghajnsielem. The match as expected was typical of a cup-tie where the two teams seemed determined to obtain the victory. Nadur expressed the better play for most of the first half and created the better scoring opportunities while Ghajnsielem produced a reaction after the break but failed to capitalise from their best chances to level the score so that the Blacks ended up conceding the first defeat in the championship.
With this victory Nadur become serious contenders for the title this season. The Youngsters were not among the group of teams considered as main challengers at the beginning of the championship but during the first round they were the only team who improved their performances from one match to another. Nadur practically have the structure of the team that was competitive in the last season that they played in the top flight prior to their relegation. They consolidated the defensive department through the addition of central defenders Ronaldo Da Silva and Darko Stojanovic. In addition, Nadur also strengthened their potential in attack through the signing of Dewide Dos Santos who scored decisive goals in some of Nadur’s five consecutive wins during the first round. On the other hand Ghajnsielem showed that they are going through a difficult phase as this was the fourth consecutive match where they failed to be convincing in their play. In this match they suffered Nadur’s offensive play during the first period and were dependent on personal initiatives during the second period when they were expressing their maximum effort in an attempt to save the result.
Nadur produced their first serious scoring opportunity of the match. On 11 minutes Ghajnsielem’s goalie Luke Buttigieg left his position in time to clear the ball from the edge of the area before Dewide Dos Santos could hit the ball towards an open goal following a through pass by Claudio Antunes. Ghajnsielem replied on 19 minutes through a good strike by Chris Camilleri that ended just wide and on 26 minute Nadur’s Dewide Dos Santos had a lob from long distance that was neutralised by goalie Luke Buttigieg. The match continued to be quite entertaining and three minutes later Nadur almost opened the score but Claudio Antunes had a low shot towards the far post, from a low cross by Mark Hyzler that ended just wide. On 31 minutes Ghajnsielem had a header by Ferdinando Apap from a corner kick by Emiliano Lattes that missed the target. Nadur became more offensive in their play during the last part of the first half and scored the goal, which at the end decided the issue, on 41 minutes. Milos Stojanovic entered the area and unmarked Claudio Antunes so that the latter passed to Dewide Dos Santos who fired in goal with a fine strike.
Ghajnsielem came out more aggressive in their attempt to score the equaliser but Nadur were well organised at the defence and also operated dangerous breaks. On 56 minutes Nadur’s Dewide Dos Santos entered Ghajnsielem’s territory with a personal action but his shot from a good position missed the target. Ghajnsielem could have levelled the score on the hour mark but a goal by John Camilleri was disallowed for an offside infringement. One minute later the Blacks failed to capitalise from a melee in front of Nadur’s goalmouth and finally a header by John Camilleri was cleared off the fatal line by Ronaldo Da Silva. The Blacks continued to find it difficult to level the score and on 66 minutes a strike by Edison Bilboa Zarate was well saved by goalie Mark Grima. The same goalkeeper made an important intervention on 70 minutes to turn to a corner a free kick by Edison Bilboa Zarate. On 73 minutes Ghajnsielem protested with the referee requesting a second yellow card to Nadur’s Charles Hili following a foul in the midfield but play resumed as soon as the situation calmed down. Ghajnsielem’s last scoring opportunity arrived on 78 minutes but a low shot by Rafael Kooh Sohna was saved by Nadur’s goalie Mark Grima. During the final stages Nadur found more space to operate counter breaks and went close to score the second goal on at least two occasions. On 85 minutes a shot from long distance by substitute Brandon Said ended just wide and on 89 minutes an attempt by Dewide Dos Santos ended high.
Referee: Daniel Portelli