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MATCH DETAILS

26th April 2015 – Gozo Football Stadium
GFA Cup Final

Oratory Youths: 1
Xewkija Tigers: 2

7’ (1-0) T. Dos Santos (OY)
21’ (1-1)  own-goal K. Borg (OY)
83’ (1-2) D. Shields (XT)

Oratory Youths

E. Fenech, A. Debrincat (M. Camilleri), D. Stojanovic, S. Attard, K. Farrugia, Jo. Attard, M. Mumford, J. Tabone, M. Gauci, K. Borg, T. Dos Santos.

Xewkija Tigers

A. Parnis, J. Cefai, P. Buttigieg, M. Hrubsa, K. Mercieca, C. Bugeja, G. Hili (A. Simoncic), D. Bogdanovic, J. Camilleri (J. Vella), D. Shields, E. Nwnakwo.

MATCH REPORT

Xewkija Tigers prolonged their celebrations of the championship won the previous weekend with the success obtained by winning the BOV GFA Cup.  Xewkija turned a defeat into a 2-1 win in the final match against Oratory Youths following a well-contested encounter that left the final score uncertain until the final whistle.  The match was a typical cup-tie where Oratory Youths produced a very good performance despite playing against a more quoted opponent.  Xewkija, as expected, dictated matters for long stretched but Oratory opened the score during the early stages of the match.  Xewkija managed to level the score through an own goal committed by Oratory’s rearguard and scored the goal that decided the issue during the final stages of the encounter.  The Youths could have forced extra time but Xewkija’s goalie denied Dos Santos on two occasions and the same Brazilian striker had a goal seconds before the final whistle that was disallowed for an offside infringement.  This was the ninth time that Xewkija lifted the second most important honour in Gozitan football.

Xewkija tried to take command of play from the early stages but the Youths were well deployed at their defence and managed to resist well to Xewkija’s attempts to produce aggressive play.  The Youths relied mainly on counter breaks to release their defensive department from pressure and in the seventh minute of play, they also surprised their opponents and opened the score.  Keith Farrugia took a ball outside the area and once he created some space he fired a good shot that hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.  Thiago Dos Santos followed the action and headed the ball easily into an open goal.  Xewkija tried to produce an immediate reaction and three minutes later Oratory’s goalie Elliot Fenech saved to a corner a shot by Dene Shields.  On 16 minutes Xewkija’s John Camilleri released Eric Nwankwo in Oratory’s area but the latter had his attempt deflected on the crossbar.  Xewkija levelled the score on 21 minutes when dene Shields hit badly following a corner kick by Gennaro Hili but Michael Mumford’s attempt to clear the ball off the fatal line hit his colleague Keith Borg and the ball ended in the net.  Despite conceding such an unlucky own goal, Oratory’s defence maintained composure and continued to make it difficult to Xewkija’s strikers to express their territorial supremacy in goals.  On 25 minutes a shot on the run by Kenneth Mercieca following another corner kick by Gennaro Hili missed the target and one minute later a low shot cross from an angled position by John Camilleri passed in front of Oratory’s goal but Xewkija’s strikers failed to connect.  The Youths replied on 27 minutes through a good move by Thiago dos Santos but Shaun Attard concluded incredibly high from an ideal position.  Less than a minute later a shot by Dos Santos ended just wide and on the half-hour mark Oratory’s goalie Elliot Fenech failed to hold the ball following a corner kick by Daniel Bogdanovic but no one took advantage of the situation and the defence cleared the danger.  Seconds from half time Xewkija could have concluded better a free kick by Bogdanovic but Eric Nwankwo failed to connect at the far post.

After the resumption, Xewkija tried to increase their pressure and on 49 minutes Oratory’s goalie partially saved a strike by Gennaro Hili, John Camilleri took the ball but from his pass, Eric Nwankwo ended on the floor following a challenge by Darko Stojanovic among protests for a penalty.  On the hour mark Kenneth Mercieca prolonged in the area a cross by Joseph Cefai but John Camilleri shot from close distance ended far away from Oratory’s goal.

Two minutes later a shot by Daniel Bogdanovic also missed the target and on 66 minutes a goal by Kenneth Mercieca who concluded a low pass by John Camilleri was disallowed for an offside infringement.  On 70 minutes Daniel Bogdanovic passed through a number of opponents in a personal action but his final shot was blocked by the defence.  Two minutes later the same Xewkija striker had another attempt that was saved to a corner by goalie Fenech and on 79 minutes Bogdanovic released Dene Shields inside the area but goalie Fenech had good timing and took the ball before the Scottish striker could conclude in goal.  Xewkija lost another good scoring opportunity on 80 minutes when Bogdanovic passed to an unmarked Chris Camilleri at the edge of the area following a cross by Kenneth Mericea but Camilleri hit badly and the ball ended wide.  Xewkija turned the result in their favour on 83 minutes through a fine header by Dene Shields following a cross from the left flank by Daniel Bogdanovic.  Three minutes later a long-range strike by Xewkija’s player-coach Alex Simonic, who came in as a substitute for the last part of the match, ended over the crossbar.  During the dying moments of the match, Oratory went all out in an attempt to force extra time.  On 89 minutes a free kick by Thiago Dos Santos was saved with difficulty in two attempts by goalie Adrian Parnis and less than a minute later the same goalkeeper saved a shot by Dos Santos.  In the third minute of stoppage time, a free kick by Michael Mumford was headed in the area by Darko Stojanovic but substitute Mark Camilleri’s overhead kick ended wide.  Oratory could have scored a dramatic equalizer a minute later when Mark Camilleri released Thiago Dis Santos inside the area and the latter netted with a low drive but the goal was disallowed for an offside position of the Brazilian striker noted by the assistant referee so that the score remained unchanged.

After the match, Mr Horace Laudi, Regional Manager of the Bank of Valletta for Gozo, presented medals and trophies to Xewkija’s players and officials, in the presence of the GFA officials, President Dr Samuel Azzopardi, General secretary Mr Daniel Camilleri, Vice President Mr Paul Galea and Treasurer Mr George Cini, among the celebrations by the supporters of Xewkija Tigers.

Referee: Etienne Mangion

Originally published on GFA.com.mt, the old site of the Gozo Football Association.