GFA Gozo Football League Division II
15 September 2018 – Kercem Ajax Stadium
Xaghra U T FC : 1 (J. Camilleri 77’pen)
Azzopardi, D. Bajada, K. Hili, S. Galea, J. Camilleri, S. Sultana, S.R. Gabriel, M. Mamo, S.F. Bajada, M. Azzopardi, J. Attard (G. Farrugia).
Zebbug R FC : 3 (M. Peres Vega 7’, 11’; L. Farrugia 54’)
Saliba, M. Ciangura, M. Formosa, G. Portelli, O. Calleja, A. Zammit, L. Farrugia, M. Peres Vega, C. Vella (P. Spiteri), R. Meilak, E. Xuereb (J. Xuereb).
Zebbug Rovers obtained their first three points from their first match of the campaign against Xaghra United so that they consolidated their credentials to be considered as outsiders in the challenge for the top positions on the table. Xaghra were considered as hot fvourites for the full points at stake particularly because they are considered to be in a position to be serious challengers for promotion. Xaghra however seemed overconfident during the opening stages of the encounter so that they conceded Zebbug’s play and compromised the match by suffering two early goals. Xaghra tried hard to recover from the difficult situation but they became nervous as time passed by and they were also very erratic ion their finishing. Zebbug’s protagonists in this win were however the Spanish striker Marcos Peres Vega and goalie Baskal Saliba who made decisive interventions to deny Xaghra from scoring during crucial stages of the encounter.
Zebbug had a better start and held command of the midfield from the early stages of the encounter. The Rovers also opened he score on 7 minutes through a close ranged header by Marcos Peres Vega following a free kick by Marco Ciangura that surprised Xaghra’s keeper. Zebbug doubled the score on 11 minutes when Marcos Peres Vega passed through two opponents inside Xaghra’s area and lobbed over the goalkeeper with the ball crossing the line, and the goal was awarded following the an indication by the assistant referee, despite the attempt of defender Mario Azzopardi to clear the danger. Xaghra managed to recover from the early shock and started to pile pressure on Zebbug’s rearguard as time passed by. On 23 minutes a free kick by Xaghra’s John Camilleri ended high and Zebbug replied four minutes later through a strike by Marcos Peres Vega that was deflected to a corner. From the resultant corner action a low shot by Anthony Zammit was saved in two attempts by goalie Frankie Azzopardi. On 32 minutes Xaghra were again dangerous through a header by Sam Frank Bajada following a corner kick by Samson Remi Gabriel that was well saved by goalie Baskal Saliba. Five minutes later the same goalkeeper made a difficult intervention to turn to a corner a strike form close distance by John Camilleri. Zebbug were again dangerous on 42 minutes but a shot by Lucas Farrugia following a solo action was neutralised by goalie Frankie Azzopardi. Xaghra could have reduced the deficit on 45 minutes but a shot on the run by John Camilleri was blocked by goalie Baskal Saliba.
Xaghra came out more determined for the second period and on 47 minutes Zebbug’s defender Christian Vella came to the rescue for his side to clear the ball from the goalmouth following a melee inside the area. Xaghra went again close to scoring on 52 minutes through a low shot by Steve Sultana that ended just wide but on 54 minutes Zebbug increased their lead when Lucas Farrugia received a ball at the edge of the area and placed into an open goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to clear the danger. Xaghra suffered the setback and on 59 minutes they were also reduced to ten players when Sam Frank Bajada was sent off for a foul on Marcos Peres Vega. Xaghra kept insisting in an attempt to re-open the issue despite playing with a player less and on 65 minutes Zebbug’s goalie Baskal Saliba made a good save to hold an attempt by substitute Gabriel Farrugia following an action from a free kick that was not cleared by the defense. Zebbug replied on 73 minutes through a strike by Ryan Meilak that ended just wide and on 77 minutes Xaghra were awarded a penalty for handling by Zebbug’s defender Marco Ciangura and John Camilleri converted his shot from the spot kick to reduce the score for Xaghra. Three minutes later the same Camilleri could have re-opened the issue but his header form close distance ended over the crossbar. On 89 minutes Xaghra had a goal by Samson Remi Gabriel following a header by John Camilleri that was disallowed for an offside infringement and for the remaining minutes Zebbug defended their lead until the end of the encounter.
Referee: Dorian Caruana