GFA Division II KO final
Kercem Ajax Stadium
Sannat L : 1 (A. Camilleri 24’)
O. Attard, F. Xuereb, F. Camilleri, J. Buttigieg, S. Sultana, M. Portelli, M. Muscat, J. Zammit (N. Micallef), A. Camilleri, J. Agius (E. Gauci), M. Senussi Telessi.
Munxar F : 1 (M. Matthias Uzor 11’)
L. Xuereb, B.Meilak (C. Bugeja), K. Borg, C. Gafa, P. Parnis (F. Attard), S. Muscat, O. Curmi, M. Matthias Uzor, P. Said, J. Parnis, J. Grima (R. Meilak).
Munxar Falcons win 7-6 on penalties
Munxar Falcons retained the honour as winners of the Knock Out competition for the second division with a win over Sannat Lions after a penalty shoot-out. The final of the second most important honour for the lower category was a clash between the two main challengers for promotion and as expected it pulled a sizeable crowd to the Kercem Ajax Stadium. Both Sannat and Munxar were looking forward to achieve a success in this competition particularly in view of the direct clash between the two sides at the end of the Division II campaign which will probably determine the winner of the championship and promotion. The match turned out into a well contested encounter with the victory that could have gone either way. The two goals of the match arrived during the first period and for the rest of the encounter the two teams failed to capitalise from their best scoring opportunities. In this match the two sides ended the encounter with nien players on the field as they both had two players sent off by the referee.
The two sides came out determined to take command of play and during the opening minutes both Sannat and Munxar created good scoring opportunities. On 7 minutes Munxar’s keeper Lorjean Xuereb left his areas in time to head away the ball before Mohammed Senussi Telessi could conclude towards goal. Munxar opened the score in their first serious approach within Sannat’s area when Michael Matthias Uzor took advantage of some hesitation by a defender and the goalkeeper and concluded in goal with a fine strike. Sannat were not demoralised and on 13 minutes a shot by Joseph Zammit ended just over Munxar’s goal. Three minutes later an effort by Mohammed Senussi Telessi, after exchanging the ball inside the area with Antoine Camilleri, was well saved by goalie Lorjean Xuereb. On 18 minutes the same Telessi had a shot that got a deflection inside the area and the goalkeeper save the danger. On 24 minutes Sannat levelled the score when Munxar’s rearguard failed to clear the ball from the goalmouth following a header by Mohammed Senussi Telessi from a free kick by Matthew Portelli, and Antoine Camilleri netted form the resultant melee. Sannat continued to enjoy territorial supremacy but on 41 minutes Munxar operated a counter break following a through pass by Paul Said but Joseph Grima’s lob ended wide. One minute later Sannat had a low shot by Mohammed Senussi Telessi that missed the target and on 43 minutes Sannat protested for a penalty when Mohammed Senussi Telessi ended on the floor in the area in his attempt to head the ball towards goal. In the first minute of stoppage time before half time Sannat went very close to scoring but goalie Lorjean Xuereb tuned to a corner with difficulty a free kick by Joseph Zammit and form the resultant corner action Mark Muscat’s header hit the crossbar.
After the resumption Munxar seemed more offensive in their play. On 53 minutes a free kick by Jordi Parnis ended high and less than a minute later a strike by Michael Matthias Uzor was stopped by the crossbar and from the rebound Paul Said’s shot was saved easily by goalie Owen Attard. On 57 minutes Munxar were denied from regaining the lead when defender Josiah Buttigieg cleared off the fatal line an attempt by Oliver Curmi from an angled position who entered the area with a personal action. Sannat replied on 61 minutes when Joseph Zammit received a ball inside the area but hesitated to conclude and ended up hitting badly from a good position so that the goalkeeper saved without difficulty. The match continued to be very interesting and open to any outcome. On 68 minutes Sannat had an effort by Mohammed Senussi Telessi that was well saved by goalie Lorjean Xuereb and one minute later Munxar ended with a player less on the field when Paul Said as shown a second yellow card for simulation of a foul outside the area. On 27 minutes Munxar created another scoring opportunity but a shot by substitute Ryan Meilak following a corner kick by Jordi Parnis ended just high. On 87 minutes Sannat’s goalie Owen Attard saved with some difficulty a free kick from long distance by Samuel Muscat and in the following action Munxar’s keeper Lorjean Xuereb turned the ball to a corner following some hesitation by his defenders to deny Sannat’s strikers from concluding towards goal. Sannat had their last opportunity to score the decisive goal in the third minute of stoppage time through a shot from outside the area by Josiah Buttigieg that ended wide so that the score remained unchanged and the match had to go into extra time.
In the third minute of play of the first half of extra time Sannat’s Antoine Camilleri entered Munxar’s area with a personal action but his low shot was saved in two attempts by goalie Lorjean Xuereb. One minute later the same Antoine Camilleri was shown a second yellow card by the referee for simulation as the striker ended on the floor in Munxar’s area so that the two sides played the remaining minutes with tem players. On 98 minutes Munxar had a free kick by Ryan Meilak that ended just over the crossbar and in an immediate reply by Sannat a shot on the run by Frankie Camilleri after receiving from Mohammed Senussi Telessi was well blocked by Munxar’s keeper Lorjean Xuereb. Sannat created a good scoring opportunity in the seventh minute of play of the second period of extra time when the ball arrived to an unmarked Josiah Buttigieg following an action that started from a free kick but Sannat’s player conclude wide from an ideal position. On 116 minutes Munxar ended playing with nine players as Keith Borg was shown a second yellow card for a foul in the midfield on substitute Nicholas Micallef. However, Sannat were also reduced to nine players in the third minute of stoppage time as Fabian Xuereb was shown a second yellow card for retaliation. The scored remained unchanged and the winner of the competition had to be decided in a penalty shoot out.
Sannat Lions scored six from their eight penalties through Matthew Portelli, Mohammed Senussi Telessi, Mark Muscat, Josiah Buttigieg, Eric Gauci and Frankie Casmilleri while Nicholas Micallef had his penalty shot (the fourth for his side) that was stopped by the crossbar and the eighth penalty kick by Simon Sultana ended wide.
Munxar Falcons clinched the victory of the competition by scoring seven of the eight penalties through Lorjean Xuereb, Oliver Curmi, Samuel Muscat, Jordi Parnis, Christian Bugeja, Frank Attard and Chris Gafa, while Michael Matthias Uzor had his penalty kick (the fourth for his side) that was saved by Sannat’s keeper.
After the decisive penalty kick scored by Munxar’s Chris Gafa all the Munxar players, staff and their numerous supporters started spontaneous celebrations. In the meantime the President of the Gozo Football Association Dr Samuel Azzopardi, together with Vice President Michael Angelo Grech and the General Secretary of the Association Tony Grech presented memento to the match officials, the runners up trophy to Sannat’s captain Mark Muscat, medals to all Munxar players and the KO Trophy to Munxar’s captain Keith Borg.
Referee: Daniel Portelli