BOV GFA Cup Final
Gozo Stadium – 6 May 2018
Ghajnsielem FC : 1 (M.A. Morgon Filho 64’pen)
M.M. Vella, An. Xuereb, D. Mercieca, L.A. De Melo Lima, C. Dingli (K. Grima), A. Oularbi, M.A. Morgon Filho, J.G. Vella, D. Hili, Al. Xuereb, J.J. Sandobal Guarin.
Xewkija T : 2 ( H.T. Barbosa Honorato 4’, 119’)
Grima, M. Xerri, M. Hrubsa, J. Azzopardi, G. Hili, S. Bajada, J.M. Vella, M. Stojanovic, D. Bogdanovic (T. Vella, J. Cefai), R. Buttigieg (M. Gauci), H.T. Barbosa Honorato.
After extra time
Xewkija Tigers made up for their disappointing performances in the second part of the BOV Gozo Football league championship and ended the 2017/2018 season on a positive note by winning the BOV GFA Cup, which is the second most important honour in Gozitan football. Xewkija won the honour for the eleventh time in the club history with a 2-1 victory over Ghajnsielem in the final of the forty fifth edition of the competition. The two teams seemed determined to obtain a win in this final as Ghajnsielem were seeking to retain the honour won the previous season, while Xewkija were aiming to win the second honour this season as they already lifted the Super Cup in the first match of the 2017/2018 football season in Gozo. Xewkija were the better side during eh first half but only managed to open a one-goal lead so that the Blacks produced a good reaction after the break and leveled the score so that the match had to go into extra time. Xewkija clinched the victory with a goal that arrived one minute from the end of the extra time during a phase where they managed to impose their superiority over their opponents.
Xewkija had an excellent start in this final and opened the score in the fourth minute of play through a close ranged header by Halleson Thiago Barbosa Honorato following a cross by Milos Stojanovic. Two minutes later Xewkija could have doubled the score but a header by Milos Stojanovic from an ideal position following a cross by Daniel Bogdanovic ended wide. Ghajnsielem continued to suffer Xewkija’s offensive play and on 7 minutes Daniel Bogdanovic won a ball from Ghajnsielem’s defense but his shot towards the far post ended just wide. The same Bogdanovic had another attempt on 14 minutes directly from a free kick that was neutralized by Ghajnsielem’s keeper Matthew Vella. One minute later Ghajnsielem replied through a strike by Alberto Xuereb that missed the target and as time passed by play became more balanced with few actions at the two ends of the field. The best scoring opportunity before the end of the first half arrived on 32 minutes but Xewkija’s Shaun Bajada’s shot was saved by Ghajnsielem’s keeper.
After the break Ghajnsielem seemed in a better shape and determined to recover the deficit. On 48 minutes an effort by Marco Antonio Morgon Filho ended high and Xewkija replied four minutes later with a shot by Daniel Bogdnaovic that ended just over the crossbar. On 56 minutes Ghajnsielem’s substitute Kurt Grima had a shot on the run that ended away from Xewkija’s goal and on 62 minutes Ghajsnielem were again dangerous but a shot by Luis Andre De Melo Lima following a good move by Ali Oularbi was blocked to a corner. On 64 minutes Ghajnsielem were awarded a penalty for a foul by Joseph Azzopardi on Luis Andre De Melo Lima. Xewkija’s Azzopardi was also sent off for his infringement and Marco Antonio Morgon Filho leveled the score with his shot from the spot kick. The match continued to be quite interesting as the two sides tried to take command of play. On 71 mknutesXedwkija created a good action but substitute Thomas Vella had a shot from a good position that missed the target. Ghajnsielem’s best opportunity to take the lead arrived on 85 minutes when Xewkija’s defense failed to clear the ball from the goal mouth following a free kick from long distance and from the resultant melee a back-heel by Luis Andre De Melo Lima hit the crossbar and the ball was eventually cleared. Play was stopped for some minutes the net of Xewkija’s goal was pulled from its ties and needed to be repaired. In the sixth minute of stoppage time Ghajnsielem had another opportunity to win the match during regular time but a shot by Luis Andre De Melo Lima ended wide so that the final was extended to extra time.
In the fifth minute of play of the first period of extra time Ghajnsielem were also reduced to ten players when Joseph George Vella was sent off for a second bookable offence and in the following action Xewkija’s Rodney Buttigieg had a good effort that was blocked to a corner by Ghajnsielem’s defense. Xewkija increased their pressure as time passed by and on 99 minutes Ghajnsielem’s keeper Matthew Vella left his position in time to take the ball from Halleson Thiago Barbosa Honortato who was in an ideal position to conclude towards goal. On 107 minutes Xewkija were again dangerous but a header by Rodney Buttigieg following a cross by Shaun Bajada was cleared off the line with difficulty. Ghajnsielem continued to find it difficult to neutralise Xewkija’s play during the final minutes of the match and on 116 minutes Xewkija went very close to scoring but a low shot by Joseph Mario Vella following a short clearance by Ghajnsielem’s rearguard ended just wide. Less than a minute later Ghajnsielem’s defenders cleared the ball with some difficulty following consecutive attempts form close distance by Rodney Buttigieg and Milos Stojanovic and when it seemed that the final was going to be decided in a penalty shoot-out, Xewkija scored the decisive goal on 119 minutes when Halleson Thiago Barbosa Honorato received the ball at the edge of the area, released himself of a direct opponents and from his low shot the ball ended in goal despite the attempt of the goalkeeper to neutralize the danger.
After the end of the match the Regional Manager of the Bank of Valletta in Gozo Mr Horace Laudi in the presence of the President of the Gozo Football Association and other GFA officials presented mementos to the match officials, medals to all players and the BOV GFA Trophy to Xewkija among the celebrations of the numerous Xewkija’s supporters.
Referee: Mario Apap
Photos: Anaca Photography