GFA Gozo Football League Division I
Gozo Stadium – 16 September 2018
Ghajnsielem FC: 2 (D. Hili 48’, L.A. De Melo Lima 53’)
Xuereb, J. Polo Longarela, A. Oularbi (I.N. Belhadj), K. Mercieca, C. Hili, D. Hili, An. Xuereb (K. Grima), D. Mercieca, A. Camilleri (Al. Xuereb), N. Damba, L.A. De Melo Lima.
Gharb R FC: 2 (H. Santa Rosa Cruz 23’, 66’)
Vella, A. Sultana, J.P. Grima (A. Micallef), P. Djorovic, O. Xuereb (C. Rotin), D. Azzopardi, P. Nunez Del Castillo, N. Stojanovic, H. Santa Rosa Cruz, M. Grech.
Ghajnsielem and Gharb Rangers marked a positive start in the championship as they earned a point each from a draw of four goals. The final result is just as each team prevailed for a half each. Gharb were the better side during the first period but Ghajnsielem had a good reaction after the break, where they not only recovered a one-goal deficit but also turned the result in their favour. However, Gharb managed to earned the deserved point by scoring an important equaliser midway through the second half and defended the result during the final stages despite they were reduced to ten players during the final phases of the encounter.
The match was quite balanced during the opening stages but as time passed by Gharb produced more dangerous play. On 10 minutes Ghajnsielem’s keeper Lorjean Xuereb was called make a good save following a free kick by Nemanja Stojanovic and the same goalkeeper showed good timing to take the ball following a cross by Omar Xuereb one minute later and denied Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz from heading towards goal. On 12 minutes Gharb’s goalie Joseph Vella partially saved a strike by Ali Oularbi and from the rebound Naby Damba concluded in goal but the referee disallowed for an offside. Two minutes later Gharb’s Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz had a good shot that was partially saved by goalie Lorjean Xuereb and the defense cleared the danger, and on 20 minutes the same striker had a header following a cross by Nemanja Stojanovic that was stopped by the woodwork. Gharb opened the score on 23 minutes when Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz entered Ghajnsielem’s territory and placed in goal with a low drive from the edge of the area. Ghajnsielem continued to suffer Gharb’s play and on 34 minutes the Rangers had a goal by Omar Xuereb following a cross by Christian Attard that was disallowed for an offside. During the final stages of the first half Ghajnsielem managed to recover and on 38 minutes they were also dangerous through a low shot by Naby Damba that was saved with difficulty by goalie Joseph Vella. On 44 minutes the Blacks lost a good opportunity to level the score when a corner kick by Naby Damba was headed inside the area by Luis Andre De Melo Lima but Antoine Camilleri headed over the crossbar from close distance.
Ghajnsielem came out more aggressive for the second period and on 48 minutes they levelled the score through a free kick by Damon Hili that surprised Gharb’s rearguard following a deflection. Gharb were shocked and on 53 minutes Ghajnsielem turned the result in their favour through a header by Luis Andre De Melo Lima following a cross from the left flank by Naby Damba. Two minutes later Gharb’s goalie Joseph Vella was called to make a difficult save following a low shot by Naby Damba following a personal action and Gharb replied on 62 minutes through a direct free kick by Nemaja Stojanovic that ended just wide. Gharb scored the equalizer on 66 minutes when Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz was unmarked in the area by Pablo Nunez Del Castillo and netted from an angled position after he turned around his direct opponent. However, four minutes later Gharb were reduced to ten players when defender Daniel Azzopardi was sent off for stopping Ghajnsielem’s Luis Andre De Melo Lima from concluding towards goal from the edge of the area. From the resultant free kick substitute Alberto Xuereb had his shot blocked by goalie Joseph Vella and from the same action the ball arrived to an unmarked Javier Polo Longarela who concluded over Ghajnsielem’s goal from an ideal position. Gharb were again dangerous on 74 minutes when Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz produced a personal action from the left flank but his final shot was blocked to a corner by the defense. For the remaining minutes of play Ghajnsielem tried hard to increase their pressure on Gharb’s rearguard but the Rangers resisted well and defended the score until the final whistle.
Referee: Ishmael Barbara