GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I
Gozo Stadium – 9 December 2018
Kercem A FC : 1 (F.A. De Oliviera 6’)
Vrndic, D. Cassar, A. Azzopardi, C. Caruana, J. Buttigieg (M. Cefai), E. Vella, N.P. Mercadante Leite Do Canto, M. Hrubsa, N. Mercieca, J.P. Mizzi, F.A. De Oliviera.
Xewkija T FC : 1 (D. Bogadanovic 82’)
Grima, M. Tabone, S.A. Martinez Villa, D. Krstic, C. Bugeja, C. Antunes Pavlidis, G. Hili, J. Cefai Bonnici (J. Azzopardi), S.P. Bajada, M. Xerri (T. Vella), D. Bogdanovic.
Bottom placed Kercem Ajax registered another surprise result in the first round of the BOV Gozo Football league Division I championship when they earned a point from their match against contenders for the title Xewkija Tigers. This was Kercem’s third point obtained from draws against more quoted opponents who are occupying the top positions but still ended the first round without a win and at a disadvantage with other teams in the relegation zone. Xewkija were hot favourites to obtain the full points at stake from this match and were also expected to prolong a very good moment of form which saw them recovering their status as challengers for the title and also as they joined the top sixteen teams in The Malta FA Trophy of the MFA. However, they were shocked as they conceded an early goal and as time passed by they lost concentration so that they failed to capitalise from the best scoring opportunities. Xewkija struggled to recover the deficit but clinched the equaliser from a set piece converted by Daniel Bogdanovic minutes away from the end of the encounter.
During the opening minutes Xewkija held command of play and in the first minute they were also dangerous through an attempt by Claudio Antunes following a cross by Joseph Cefai that ended high. In the second minute of play Xewkijs also protested for a penalty when Claudio Antunes ended on the floor in the area following a challenge with Kercem’s defender Martin Hrubsa. Kercem opened the score in their first serious attempt towards Xewkija’s area. In the sixth minute of play a strike from outside the area by Jean Paul Mizzi got a deflection and the ball ended in corner. From the same corner kick by Elton Vella Kercem’s striker Felipe Augusto De Oliviera headed in goal from an angled position at the surprise of Xewkija’s defence and the ball ended in goal. Xewkija replied on 13 minutes through a shot by Claudio Antunes that took a deflection but goalie Branco Vrndic recovered his position and turned the ball into a corner with some difficulty. One minute later the same goalkeeper neutralised without difficulty a weak shot by Xewkija’s Sergio Arturo Martinez Villa from a good position and on 23 minutes Xewkija’s Darko Krstic hit badly from close distance following a cross by Shaun Bajada and goalie Vrndic neutralised the danger. Kercem replied one minute later through an attempt by Felipe Augusto De Oliviera that was well saved by goalie Mark Grima and on 25 minutes Kercem could have doubled the score when Leite Do Canto entered Xewkija’s area but hesitated to conclude so that from his pass defender Martinez villa recovered in time and cleared the danger before Joshua Buttigieg could hit form close distance. Minutes later Xewkija’s Darko Krstic once again failed to hit properly from close distance following an inviting low cross by Gennaro Hili and on 34 minutes Xewkija protested for a penalty when Claudio Antunes ended on the floor in the area following a challenge with an opponent. On 40 minutes Xewkija’s Darko Krstic had a header following a cross by Shaun Bajada that ended high and three minutes later the same Krstic entered Kercem’s area but the goalkeeper arrived first on the ball to deny Xewkija’s striker from hitting towards goal.
In the fifth minute of play of the second period Xewkija’s Daniel Bogdanovic had a shot from a good position that ended just wide and one minute later Kercem operated a counter break where Joshua Buttigieg released Leite Do Canto but the latter had his effort well blocked by goalie Mark Grima. On 52 minutes Kercem once again failed to conclude in goal an ideal situation when Felipe Augusto De Oliviera controlled a ball inside the area but hesitated to conclude and his attempt was eventually blocked by Xewkija’s rear guard. One minute later Kercem’s goalie Branco Vrndic made the best save of the afternoon when he managed to block a close ranged first timer by Darko Krstic following a free kick from long distance by Shaun Bajada. On 59 minutes Xewkija’s Krstic had a good shot blocked by the defence and on 65 minutes Kercem’s goalie Branco Vrndic took the ball before Claudio Antunes could connect to a low cross by Darko Krstic. Xewkija kept insisting with the pressure on Kercem’s defence and on 76 minutes they could have levelled the score but Shaun Bajada incredibly concluded high from close distance following a free kick by Christian Bugeja. Three minutes later Xewkija’s Claudio Antunes hit badly from close distance so that the goalkeeper saved without difficulty but on 82 minutes Xewkija managed to level the score when Daniel Bogdanovic surprised Kercem’s keeper directly from a free kick. The same Bogdanovic could have turned the result in Xewkija’s favour three minutes later but his attempt form a free kick ended inches wide. On 87 minutes Xewkija’s Christian Bugeja had a shot that missed the target and the last opportunity for Xewkija to obtain a win arrived on 88 minutes but Darko Krstic failed typo connect to a free kick by Shaun Bajada. Kercem went very close to obtain a dramatic win in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Nathaniel Mercieca entered Xewkija’s area but his low drive aimed to the far post ended just wide.
Referee: Emanuel Grech