GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I
Xewkija stun challengers Nadur
Nadur Y : 2 (D. Krstic 17’, C. Hili 48’)
M. Muscat, S.H. Muller, D. Farrugia, C. Hili (M. Hyzler), D. Krstic, Sh. Attard, J. Buttigieg (B. Said), S. Cassar, Sa. Attard (C. Debono), D. Dos Santos, N. Stojanovic.
Xewkija T : 5 (H.T. Barbosa Honorato 16’pen, 26’; C. Antunes 21’, 45+1’, 85’)
F. Vella, J. Azzopardi, M. Xerri, D. Bogdanovic, G. Hili (O. Xuereb), R. Buttigieg, J.M. Vella, S. Bajada, M. Stojanovic, C.P. Antunes, H.T. Barbosa Honorato (M. Gauci).
Xewkija Tigers obtained an impressive 5-2 win over Nadur Youngsters in the main match from match-day 13 of the championship so that Nadur suffer a set-back in their ambition to keep their challenge for the title. With this result Xewkija confirmed that they recovered from a difficult period where they registered a series of disappointing results which compromised the possibility to defend the title that they won last season. Xewkija had some tactical changes in their formation particularly by deploying Daniel Bogdanovic as a central defender and by placing Claudio Antunes in the role of the second striker. Xewkija paved the way to the large win by scoring four goals during the first half. They administered their comfortable lead for most of the second period and also made sure of the victory with fifth goal that arrived minutes form the end of the match. Nadur compromised their possibility to obtain a positive result from this encounter during the first period. Nadur were surprised by Xewkija’s play and although they levelled the score minutes after conceding the first goal they failed to be effective. Nadur tried to produce a reaction after the break but overall they had a very disappointing performance and also ended up with their coach and an official sent off from the bench and two players sent off from the field of play.
Xewkija were determined to make up for the defeat conceded against Nadur in the match between the two sides of the first round and produced danger within Nadur’s territory from the early stages. In the third minute of play a header by Claudio Antunes form a corner kick by Shaun Bajada was saved by goalie Matthew Muscat and on 7 minutes a low shot by Milos Stojanovic ended wide. Nadur’s keeper Matthew Muscat was again called to make a good intervention on 10 minutes to turn to a corner a shot from long distance by Shaun Bajada and on 14 minutes Xewkija opened the sore when the referee awarded a penalty for handling by Sandro Muller following a corner action and Halleson Thiago Barbosa Honorato converted from the spot kick. Nadur had an immediate reaction and on 17 minutes they levelled the score through a close ranged shot by Darko Krstic following a low cross by Josef Buttigieg. Xewkija however regained command of play and on 21 minutes they regained the lead when Nadur’s defence failed to clear a kick that arrived form Xewkija’s keeper and Claudio Antunes concluded in goal with a shot on the run. Nadur tried to recover the score for the second time in the space of few minutes but on 23 minutes an effort by Dewide Dos Santos was well saved to a corner by goalie Franklin Vella. One minute later it was Xewkija’s Claudio Antunes who cleared off from the goalmouth a threatening shot by Darko Krstic following s melee inside the area. Xewkija increased their lead on 26 minutes when Claudio Antunes operated a counter break as Nadur protested for a foul in the midfield and from his pass Halleson Thiago Barbosa Honorato placed in goal with a low shot. Nadur were shocked and on 29 minutes Xewkija had a free kick by Shaun Bajada that ended on the crossbar. Nadur’s reaction continued to be sterile as Xewkija defended well and also added another goal that arrived in the first minute of stoppage time before half time when Claudio Antunes took the ball from the rebound of a clearance by keeper Matthew Muscat on his defender Daniel Farrugia and netted easily into an open goal.
Nadur regained composure after the break and seemed determined to reduce the deficit. On 47 minutes Xewkija’s keeper Franklin Vella was well placed to save an effort by Dewide Dos Santos but one minute later Nadur’s Charles Hili surprised the same keeper with a fine strike from outside the area. Nadur tried to increase their efforts in an attempt to add another goal. On 61 minutes Xewkija’s defence cleared badly a free kick by Darko Krstic but Dewide Dos Santos shot from an ideal position missed the target. In another occasion that arrived two minutes later Nadur’s Stefan Cassar had a good shot that was saved to a corner by goalie Franklin Vella and from the same corner action Saviour Attard’s attempt was weak and easily saved by the keeper. The same goalkeeper was called to make another good intervention on 70 minutes to save in two attempts a shot by Shaun Attard and four minutes later goalie Franklin Vella saved with some difficulty to a corner a direct free kick by Dewide Dos Santos. Nadur lost a good scoring opportunity on 76 minutes when Darko Krstic failed to hit the ball when Xewkija’s defence did not clear a cross from the left flank. Three minutes later Nadur ended with ten players on the field when Darko Krstic was sent off for a second bookable offence but on 83 minutes they could have scored their third goal but a free kick by Dewide Dos Santos was cleared to a corner with some difficulty by Xewkija’s keeper. Xewkija scored their fifth goal on 85 minutes when a shot by Rodney Buttigieg was blocked by Nadur’s defence and Claudio Antunes took the ball and fired in goal with a low shot from the edge of the area. Nadur ended the match on a negative note as they had Brandon Said who was sent off for a foul on Gennaro Hili so that the Youngsters played the remaining minutes with nine players on the field.
Referee: Ishmael Barbara