GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I
Oaratory Y : 0
C. Mercieca, D. Azzopardi, L. Mba Mutasi, M. Buttigieg, K. Grima, K. Farrugia (Jo. Attard), J.P. Longarela, S. Mbacke, J. Buttigieg (Ju. Attard), A. Bezzina, P. Panagiotis.
Xewkija T : 1 (R. Buttigieg 37’)
M. Grima, J. Azzopardi (T. Vella), M. Gauci, M. Bamba, G. Hili, J.M. Vella, S. Bajada, D. Bogdanovic, R. Buttigieg, H.T. Barbosa Honorato, C. Antnues Pavlidis.
Xewkija Tigers managed to recover from a difficult patch where they practically compromised their possibility to defend their title with a 1-0 win over relegation strugglers Oratory Youths. Xewkija as expected held territorial supremacy but they failed to convert their play into goals so that the outcome of the match remained in contention until the final whistle. The Youths tried hard to earn a positive result from this match in their attempt to move away from the red zone particularly during the first half but they rarely created serious danger towards Xewkija’s goal.
Oratory almost surprised Xewkija in the second minute of play but a free kick by Papadakis Panagiotis was saved to a corner by goalie Mark Grima who was making his debut with Xewkija and also a return in Gozitan football after a long period. The same Panagiotis had another attempt on 12 minutes following a personal action that ended wide and on 15 minutes the Greek striker released Joshua Buttigieg inside Xewkija’s area but the goalkeeper blocked the danger. Oratory had another dangerous attempt towards Xewkija’s goal on 18 minutes through a header by Javier Polo Longarela following a corner action that ended over the crossbar. As time passed by Xewkija became more effective in their offensive play and on 22 minutes an effort by Claudio Antunes following a personal action ended over the crossbar. One minutes later a shot by Claudio Antunes following a short clearance by Oratory’s defence was cleared form the goalmouth by defender Manuel Buttigieg and from the resultant action a goal by Rodney Buttigieg was disallowed for an offside infringement. Xewkija scored the goal that decided the issue on 37 minutes through a header by Rodney Buttigieg from a corner kick by Shaun Bajada. On 43 minutes Xewkija could have doubled the score but a strike by Joseph Azzopardi following a personal initiative hit the crossbar. In the second minute of stoppage time before half time Oratory were dangerous through a shot by Javier polo Longarela that ended wide.
Xewkija were in full command of play during the second period and could have made sure of the three points at an earlier stage. On 61 minutes Rodney Buttigieg had a good shot that was saved in two attempts by Oratory’s goalie Courtney Mercieca. Four minutes later the same goalkeeper was called to turn to a corner with difficulty a shot by Daniel Bogdanovic and on 68 minutes Xewkija’s striker Thiago Barbosa Honorato headed badly from close distance so that Oratory’s keeper saved without difficulty. Oratory’s keeper continued to be a main protagonist during the second period and on 72 minutes he left his position in tie to block the danger as Rodney Buttigieg was alone in the area. Xewkija lost another good scoring opportunity on 78 minutes but Rodney Buttigieg’s shot form a good position ended wide. On 88 minutes goalie Courtney Mercieca denied Xewkija from scoring a second goal with a fine intervention to deflect to a corner an attempt aimed to the far post by Daniel Bogdanovic following a mover by Claudio Antunes. Xewkija were almost punished for the missed chances as Oratory increased their efforts during the dying moments of the encounter and second from the end of stoppage they had a corner action that ended with a melee in front of Xewkija’s goalmouth but the defence managed to clear the ball from the area with some difficulty so that the score remained unchanged.
Referee: Darko Stankovic