GFA KO Division I Q/final
Kercem Ajax Stadium – 11 November 2018
Ghajnsielem FC : 4 (N. Damba 23’, 41’; M. Grech 38’o.g., A. Camilleri 70’)
Buttigieg, A. Oularbi, K. Mercieca, C. Hili, D. Hili (I. Belhadj), An. Xuereb, C. Dingli, D. Mercieca, A. Camilleri (Al. Xuereb), N. Damba, L.A. De Melo Lima.
Gharb R FC : 1 (H. Santa Rosa Cruz 14’)
Spiteri, A. Sultana, P.P. Camilleri (A. Micallef), M. Gauci, O. Xuereb (M. Theuma), D. Azzopardi, P. Nunez Del Castillo, N. Stojanovic, H. Santa Rosa Cruz, A. Shkjav, M. Grech.
Ghajnsielem became the first semi-finalist in the Knock Ou competition for the first division with a win over Gharb Rangers. In this match the two sides were aiming to obtain a win in an attempt to make up for the elimination that both sides conceded the previous weekend from the BOV GFA Cup. Ghajnsielem seemed more determined for this match and managed to turn the result in their favour by the end of the first half so that they administered play with authority during the second period.
Gharb had a better start and on 13 minutes they were dangerous through an initiative by Omar Xuereb but goalie Luke Buttigieg left his position in time and took the ball to deny the striker from concluding towards goal. Gharb however opened the score one minute later when a shot by Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz had a shot that was cleared off the line by Damon Hili but the same striker took the short clearance and his attempt ended in goal as the goalkeeper hit badly in an attempt to clear the danger. Ghajnsielem recovered from the difficult start and on 23 minutes they managed to level the score through a strike by Naby Damba following a personal action. The Blacks gained confidence and on 28 minutes they could have doubled the score but Antoine Camilleri incredibly lifted over the crossbar from close distance following a cross by Luis Andre De Melo Lima. Gharb replied on 35 minutes through an effort by Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz that was blocked by goalie Luke Buttigieg and one minute later Ghajnsielem’s had a goal by Luis Andre De Melo Lima that was disallowed for an offside infringement. Ghajnsielem turned the result in their favour on 41 minutes when Gharb’s defender Matthew Grech committed an own goal in an attempt to clear the ball from the goalmouth following a free kick by Naby Damba. Ghajnsielem took advantage of the good moment and on 41 minutes they added another goal that arrived through a strike by Naby Damba following a solo action.
After the break Gharb tried to produce a reaction and on 48 minutes they threatened Ghajnsielem’s rearguard through a direct free kick by Nemanja Stojanovic that was neutralized by goalie Luke Buttigieg. Ghajnsielem replied five minutes later through a shot on the run by Luis Andre De Melo Lima following a cross by Naby Damba that missed the target and on 56 minutes Gharb were reduced to ten players when Manuel Gauci was sent off for pushing Ghajnsielem’s stretcher bearer who was entering the area to assist an injured player. Ghajnsielem practically made sure of the qualification with the fourth goal that arrived on 70 minutes through a low drive by Antoine Camilleri who conclude a break by Naby Damba. One minute later Gharb could have reduced the deficit but a shot by Ardit Shkjav was saved to a corner with some difficulty by goalie Luke Buttigieg. On 79 minutes Gharb were also unlucky but an effort by substitute Anthony Micallef was stopped by the post. During the dying moments of the encounter Ghajnsielem could have scored another goal but on 80 minutes a lob by Naby Damba when the goalkeeper was out of his position ended high and in the first minute of stoppage time a shot by substitute Alberto Xuereb was well saved by Gharb’s keeper Daniel Spiteri.
Referee: Massimo Axisa