GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I
Kercem A : 2 (A. Haska 28’, O. Rolovic 45+2’)
B. Vrndic, M. Mifsud, A. Komljenovic (A. Zammit), O. Spiteri, J. Grech, J.P. Mizzi, A. Mizzi, E. Vella, N. Mercieca, A. Haska, O. Rolovic.
Xewkija T : 4 (G. Hili 9’, R. Buttigieg 37’, T.M. Dos Santos 40’pen., 83’pen.)
F. Vella, J. Azzopardi (O. Xuereb), C. Sciberras, M. Bamba, J. Cefai (M. Gauci), J.M. Vella, M. Stojanovic, G. Hili (T. Vella), S. Bajada, R. Buttigieg, T. Melo Dos Santos.
Kercem Ajax and Xewkija Tigers produced an entertaining match that produced six goals including two penalty kick and where the final result was only determined during the final stages of the encounter. Reigning champions Xewkija Tigers managed to earn the maximum points form this match so that they remain among the serious challengers for the title. With these three points Xewkija are now on equal points with Nadur at the second place on the table and both teams are just one point behind the leaders Victoria Hotspurs. Nadur and the Hotspurs both have a game in hand.
In this match Xewjkija seemed heading towards an easy win as they opened the score t an early stage of the match. Kercem however had a good reaction and levelled the score. However, Xewkija regained the lead with two goal scored in the space of three minutes near the end of the first half but Kercem re-opened the issue with their second goal that arrived on the strike of half time. The two sides produced good scoring opportunities during the second period but Xewkija managed to seal the win by scoring the fourth goal from a penalty seven minutes from the end of regular time.
Xewkija opened the score in the ninth minute of play when skipper Joseph Cefai, who was playing his 350th competitive match with Xewkija since he started his career with the first team in 2001, crossed from the left flank and Gennaro Hili concluded in goal with a fine volley. One minute later Xewkija could have doubled the score but Rodney Buttigieg’s shot following a cross by Shaun Bajada, who was making a return with the Tigers after starting the season as a play-coach of Ghajnsielem, missed the target. Kercem recovered from the difficult moment as started to produce dangerous actions within Xewkija’s territory. On 13 minutes Ognejn Rolovic won the ball from Xewkija’s keeper but his pass to an unmarked Anthony Zammit, who came in as an early substitute for the Ajax, was weak and defender Moussa Bamba cleared the danger. On 17 minutes Xewkiaj’s keeper was well placed to block a close ranged attempt by Alen Haska following a cross by Ognjen Rolovic and Xewkija replied on 27 minutes through a header by Milos Stojanovic following a cross by Rodney Buttigieg that ended high. Kercem levelled the score one minute later when a cross form the right flank by Andrew Mizzi arrived to an unmarked Alen Haska who fired in goal from close distance. On 36 minutes Xewkija’s keeper Franklin Vella made a good intervention to stop a cross by Nathaniel Mericeca addressed to an unmarked Andrew Mizzi. Xewkija regained the lead on 37 minutes when Rodeny Buittigieg took the ball at edge of Kercem’s area and placed in goal despite the attempt by Kercem’s keeper to neutralise the danger. Kercem were shocked and ion 40 minutes the referee awarded a penalty for a foul by Mario Mifsud on Gennaro Hili and Thiago Melo Dos Santos increased the lead with his shot from the spot kick. Kercem managed to re-open the issue with a goal that arrived on the stroke of half time following a prolonged action. A header by Jean Paul Mizzi from a corner kick by Elton Vella was deflected to another corner and from the resultant corner kick, taken again by Elton Vella, Ognjen Rolovic’s attempt surprised Xewkija’s keeper and the ball ended in goal.
Play duringt he second period was more contested as the two sides were aiming to score for different reasons. Kercem need a goal to recover the deficit while Xewkija need another goal to put their minds at rest form the three points. On 53 minutes Xewkija’s goalie Franklin Vella mad a very difficult save to turn to a corner a header by Andrew Mizzi following a cross by Elton Vella and two minutes later Kercem’s Alen Haska entered the area with a personal action but his attempt was well blocked by the defence. On 62 minutes Xewkija replied through a free kick by Milos Stojanovic that ended just wide and two minutes later Xewkija went again close to scoring when Rodney Buttigieg entered the area by releasing himself form two defenders but his low drive was saved to a corner by goalie Branko Vrndic. Xewkija’s keeper was called to make another important intervention on 68 minutes when he left his position in time to block an effort by Alen Haska and on 79 minutes Xewkija’s Thiago Melo Dis Santos hit badly from an ideal position following a wrong clearance by Kercem’s defence. On 82 minutes a shot by Kercem’s Ognjen Rolovic was well saved by goalie Franklin Vella and one minute later Xewkija scored their fourth goal from a penalty, awarded for a foul by Jean Paul Mizzi on Shaun Bajada, and converted by Thiago Melo Dos Santos. Xewkija were again dangerous on 89 minutes but an effort by substitute Thomas Vella was blocked to a corner by goalie Branko Vrndic while Xewkija’s keeper Franklin Vella saved a shot by Kercem’s Andrew Mizzi in the first minute of stoppage time so that the score remained unchanged.
Referee: Stefan Pace