GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I Gozo Stadium
Gharb R : 0
D. Spiteri, A. Sultana, D. Stojanovic, J. Azzoaprdi, C. Attard (J. Farrugia), J.P. Grima, B. Polo Longarela, D. Bellotti, M. Bezzina, J. Camenzuli (J. Portelli), I. Igwemeke.
Ghajnsielem : 1 (E.F. Da Silva Santos 6’)
J. Grech, An. Xuereb, D. Mercieca, J.J. Sandoval Guarin, K. Mercieca, Al. Xuereb (K. Grima), P. Taylor (R. Grima), S.F. Bajada, S. Bajada, O.D. Guerrero Alvaraldo, E.F. Da Silva Santos.
Ghajnsielem had a positive to the 2017/2018 Gozo Football League championship as they obtained three points from a narrow victory over newly promoted side Gharb Rangers. Ghajnsielem’s win was not as easy as one could expect as they failed to maintain the supremacy that they held during the first stages of the encounter. Ghajnsielem were reduced to ten players on the stroke of the first half and they lacked the confidence to make sure of the three points with a second goal. The match was expected to be an ideal encounter to express a reaction after suffering a defeat in the final of the Super Cup at the beginning of this season. The Blacks showed some improvement from the previous match but they were expected to show more authority over a less quoted opponent. Thus, Ghajnsielem should show more coordination if they are aiming to keep in contention for the main honour in local football. On the other hand, Gharb seemed determined to produce a positive match in their first appearance this season with the top category in local football. Gharb had a good reaction after suffering an early goal and tried hard to score the equalizer. They remained in contention to be rewarded for their efforts for a long period but their lack of experience and the technical limitations denied Gharb from winning the first point in the championship.
Ghajnsielem were very aggressive during the opening minutes and in the second minute of play Alberto Xuereb incredibly hit badly from close distance following a cross by Shaun Bajada so that goalie Daniel Spiteri neutralized the danger without difficulty. Two minutes later Gharb replied through an attempt form an angled position by Ikechukwu Igwemeke that ended wide. Ghajnsielem opened the score in the sixth minute of play through a low drive by Everton Felipe Da Silva Santos following a through pass by Shaun Bajada. On 9 minutes Gharb’s goalie Daniel Spiteri turned with difficulty to a corner a cross shot by Shaun Bajada and the same goalkeeper saved with the aid of the crossbar on 13 minutes a free kick from long distance by the same Bajada. From the rebound, Ghajnsielem’s Oscar Dario Guerrero fired wide from close distance. As time passed by Gharb recovered from the difficult phase and started to share more play with their opponents. On some occasions the Rangers also managed to keep some pressure on Ghajnsielem’s defense but they never managed to create serious scoring opportunities. Ghajnsielem on the other hand were well deployed and on 45 minutes they were also dangerous through a free kick by player-coach Shaun Bajada that ended just high. In the first minute of stoppage time Ghajnsielem’s Everton Felipe Da Silva Santos had a goal disallowed for an offside and as the referee ordered the end of the first half, Ghajnsielem’s Oscar Dario Guerrero Alaraldo committed a serious foul on Gharb’s Darko Stojanovic and after some minutes of protests from the two sets of players on their way to the dressing room, Guerrero Alvaraldo was shown a red card for his intervention on Gharb’s player.
After the resumption Gharb increased their efforts in an attempt to take advantage of the extra player on the field while Ghajnsielem reorganized their deployment in the midfield to protect their area from serious danger. Gharb’s best opportunity to level the score arrived on 64 minutes through a header by Ikechukwu Igwemeke following a corner action that was well saved by Ghajnsielem’s goalie Joseph Grech. Ghajnsielem’s keeper Joseph Grech was again called to make a difficult intervention on 69 minutes when he saved in two attempts a strike from outside the area by substitute Josef Portelli. Ghajnsielem replied on n72 minutes through a free kick by Jhin Jairo Sandoval Guarin that was blocked with difficulty by Gharb’s keeper Daniel Spiteri. Gharb could have clinched a deserved equalizer on the stroke of regular time when Josef Portelli’s cross from the left flank passed in front of Ghajnsielem’s goal and ended wide as Ikechukwu Ogwemeke failed to connect and Ghajnsielem’s rearguard including the goalkeeper failed to clear the danger. In the fourth minute of stoppage time Ghajnsielem could have sealed the victory when Everton Felipe Da Silva Santos entered Gharb’s territory with a counter break from the midfield but had his shot well blocked by goalie Daniel Spiteri.
Referee: Daniel Portelli