GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I
Kercem Ajax Stadium – 24 November 2018
Gharb R FC : 4 (H. Santa Rosa Cruz 2’, N. Stojanovic 12’, J.E. Batista Da Conceicao 59’, 80’)
Spiteri, A. Sultana, C. Attard, J.E. Batista Da Conceicao, O. Xuereb (J.P. Grima), D. Azzopardi, P. Nunez Del Castillo, N. Stojanovic, H. Santa Rosa Cruz, A. Micallef (P.P. Camilleri), M. Grech.
Kercem A FC : 2 (J. Buttigieg 4’, F.A. De Oliviera 51’)
Muscat, D. Cassar (P. Debono), A. Azzopardi, J. Buttigieg (F. Attard), E. Vella, N.P. Mercadanate Leite Do Canto, M. Hrubsa (C. Caruana), N. Mercieca, J.P. Mizzi, D. Sakic, F.A. De Oliviera.
Gharb Rangers obtained their second win in the championship from their match against bottom placed Kercem Ajax and with the points obtained they opened a comfortable five-point lead over the same Ajax on the table. The match was considered as a direct clash between two teams aiming to avoid the relegation and therefore they were both seeking to win the full points at stake. The match was characterized by two early goals but the outcome remained uncertain for most of the encounter. Gharb practically made sure of the win with a fourth goal that arrived ten minutes from the end of the encounter.
Gharb had an excellent start and opened the score in the second minute of play through a free kick from long distance by Hugo Santa Rosa Cruz that ended at the upper corner of goal and out of the reach of Kercem’s goalie. Kercem had an immediate reaction and leveled the score on 4 minutes when Pedro Leite Do Canto released Joshua Buttigieg inside Gharb’s area and the latter lobbed into an open goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger. Gharb however regained territorial supremacy and on 12 minutes they also regained the lead through a direct corner kick by Nemanja Stojanovic that ended in goal despite the attempt of Kercem’s goalie to block the danger. Kercem replied one minute through a shot by Joshua Buttigieg after receiving from Felipe Augusto De Oliveira that was saved by goalie Daniel Spiteri. On 20 minutes the same Buttigieg entered Kercem’s area following a counter break but his effort aimed toward an open goal was cleared to a corner by defender Anthony Sultana. Kercem increased their efforts but found it difficult to convert their play into good scoring opportunities. On 45 minutes Kercem were dangerous through a strike by Pedro Leite Do Canto that ended just high. In the second minute of stoppage time before half time Gharb had a low shot by Anthony Micallef that was neutralized by goalie Charlon Muscat so that the Rangers ended the first half in the lead.
Kercem came out more determined for the second period and leveled the score on 51 minutes when Nathaniel Mercieca entered Gharb’s area and Pedro Leite Do Canto prolonged to Felipe Augusto de Oliviera who netted with a low drive from close distance. Kercem kept insisting but on 59 minutes Gharb regained the lead when debutant Junior Elisio Batista Da Conceicao passed inside Kercem’s area, avoided two direct opponents and fired in goal from an angle position with the ball hitting the crossbar before ending in goal. The match continued to be well contested as Kercem tried to recover the deficit while Gharb operated dangerous counter breaks. On 70 minutes Kercem’s Felipe Augusto De Oliviera had a strike from outside the area that was saved to a corner with difficulty by goalie Daniel Spiteri and one minute later Kercem’s Pedro Leite Do Canto had an attempt following a personal action that ended over the crossbar. On 79 minutes Gharb had a low shot by Anthony Micallef that was saved by goalie Charlon Muscat but one minute later the same goalkeeper partially saved a cross shot by the same Anthony Micallef and Junior Elisio Batista Da Conceicao was at the right place and pushed the ball in goal from close distance. Gharb were now in the driving seat and administered their lead until the end of the match as Kercem’s best opportunity to re-open the issue arrived on 90 minutes through a low shot by Jean Paul Mizzi that was neutralized by goalie Daniel Spiteri.
Referee: Fyodor Zammit