FA BOV GFL Division I Gozo Stadium
Xaghra U : 2 (N. Vitorovic 74’, M. Bezzina 81’)
- Galea, V.J. Saliba, Si. Sultana, D. Sowatey, O. Pogukay, M. Portelli, J. Xerri (St. Sultana), N. Vitorovic, A. Laskov, G. Tushe, M. Bezzina.
Xewkija T : 3 (E. Vella 32’, C. Frances 61’, T. Melo Dos Santos 77’)
- Sultana, R. Buttigieg, M. Xerri, D. Sakic, J. Azzopardi, J.M. Vella, S. Bajada, E. Vella (G. Hili), C. Frances, D. Shields, T. Melo Dos Santos.
Xewkija Tigers obtained three hard-earned points form their match against bottom placed Xaghra United and therefore they managed to defend their sole leadership on the table. In this match the hot favourites for the title Xewkija failed to take command of play mainly because Xaghra were determined to make up for the disappointing performances in their previous two matches. Xaghra shared play throughout the ninety minutes, produced good scoring opportunities as much as their more quoted opponents did and kept insisting despite the fact that during two stages of the match they were trailing by two goals. As a result of Xaghra’s positive performance the final score remained uncertain until the final whistle where the Blues left the field with their heads held up, while Xewkija seemed satisfied with the victory but disappointed with the quality of their performance.
This was the second consecutive match where Xewkija failed to impose their superiority over their opponents but managed to win the full points at stake. Xewkija however remain in a strong position to defend their leadership as they have the strongest side in the championship with quality players in all the departments of the field. One expects that in their remaining six matches of the championship Xewkija will improve their performances to justify their ambition to win the title for the eighth time in their history.
Xewkija struggled to take command of play from the early stages of the encounter. In the tenth minute of play Xewkija’s Thiago Melo Dos Santos failed to connect to an inviting low pass by Dene Shields and the goalkeeper managed to save the danger. One minute later Xaghra lost a good scoring opportunity when Michael Bezzina defended a ball inside the area but his final shot was weak and goal Steve Sultana blocked the danger. The same Bezzina could have opened the score again on 18 minutes but his header from a good position ended over the crossbar. On 23 minutes Xewkija protested for a penalty, alleging handling, when a cross by Elton Vella was blocked by a defender inside the area. Two minutes later Xaghra also protested for a penalty when Michael Bezzina ended on the floor in the area following a challenge with Xewkija’s keeper Steve Sultana and play continued with a corner action. Xewkija opened the score on 32 minutes when Thiago Melo Dos Santos released Dene Shields inside Xaghra’s area, the latter had his close ranged attempt blocked by goalie Daniel Galea and from the short clearance Elton Vella fired in goal from the edge of the area, with the ball hitting the post before hitting the back of the net. Xewkija tried to take advantage of the good moment and on 42 minutes they were again dangerous but Thiago Melo Dos Santos had his attempt, following some hesitation by Xaghra’s rear guard, that was cleared in time by goalie Daniel Galea.
Play continued to be quite balanced during the opening minutes of the second period and on 54 minutes Xaghra had a good shot by Matthew Portellli that ended just over the crossbar. Xewkija managed to double the score on 61 minutes through Claudio Frances who entered Xaghra’s area with a personal action, turned around the goalkeeper inside the area and netted with a low shot. Xaghra’s keeper Daniel Galea was called to make a difficult save on 63 minutes to turn to a corner a header by Dene Shields. The same Shields had a good shot on 69 minutes that was again saved by the goalkeeper and on 74 minutes Xaghra re-opened the issue when a low shot from outside the area by Nikola Vitorovic surprised Xewkija’s goalie and ended in the lower corner of the net. Xewkija re-established the two-goal lead three minutes later when Xaghra’s defence failed to clear the ball following a cross from long distance by Shaun Bajada and Thiago Melo Dos Santos took the ball and netted with a low shot. Less than a minute later the same Dos Santos had a good effort that was blocked by goalie Daniel Galea and on 80 minutes Xaghra protested for a penalty when Nikola Vitorovic ended on the floor in the area following a challenge with the goalkeeper from a free kick by Antonio Laskov. However, Xaghra managed to reduce the score from the resultant corner action, taken by Antonio Laskov, and concluded in goal with a fine overhead kick by Michael Bezzina. Xaghra went very close to save the result on 88 minutes but an attempt by Gerald Tushe was partially saved by goalie Steve Sultana and from the rebound Antonio Laskov had his attempt blocked by the defence. In the second minute of stoppage time Xewkija could have added another goal but an effort by Dene Shields form a good position was deflected to a corner.
Referee: George Portelli