The Malta FA Trophy: Rd 4
Kercem Ajax Stadium
Kercem A : 3 (O. Rolovic 29’, 51’; A. Haska 84’)
B. Vrndic, A. Mizzi, P. taylor, M. Tabone, M. Mifsud (J.P. Cassar), E. Vella, M. Perisic, J.P. Mizzi, N. Mercieca (O. Spiteri), O. Rolovic, A. Haska.
Qrendi FC : 4 (J.C. Sousa da Martins 58’, 74’; D.S. Da Hora 64’pen., A. Agius 110’)
J. Azzopardi, P. Mrvic, D. Santos Da Hora, Z. Bowman, L. Scorfna, E. Amaira (A. Agius), M. Barbara, S. Nakamura (D. Zarb), J.C. Sousa da Martrins, K. Abela (D. Sammut).
In the only match from the fourth round of The Malta FA Trophy played in Gozo, the side from the first division of the MFA Qrendi FC won qualification to the quarter finals by obtaining 4-3 win over Kercem Ajax. The match turned out into a well contested encounter where the two sides had the possibility to win the qualification at stake during the regular time. However, the match was extended to extra time and the visitors clinched the victory with a decisive goal scored during the opening minutes of the second half of the extra time.
Kercem seemed heading towards a comfortable win until the first hour of play as they had a two goal lead and could have scored a third goal. However, Qrendi had an effective reaction where they turned the result in their favour with three goals. Kercem ended with a player less on the field just after the hour of play but managed to make the score 3-3 during the final stages of regular time. The qualification could have gone either way as the two sides continued to press forward for the remaining minutes of the encounter so that the final scored remained uncertain until the referee’s final whistle.
During the opening minutes Kercem seemed more dangerous in their play. In the third minute Alen Haska failed to conclude towards goal following a wrong clearance by Qrendi’s defence and on 8 minutes of play Kercem’s Ognjen Rolovic had a good effort that got a deflection and the ball was saved by goalie Julian Azzopardi without difficulty. The visitors replied through a shot by Shunsuke Nakamura that ended away from goal and four minutes later Qrendi’s Dhonattan Santos Da Hora released Shunsuke Nakamura in a counter break and the latter unmarked Kenneth Abela within Kercem’s area but defender Philip Taylor made an impressive recovery and blocked Abela’s attempt aimed to an open goal. On 18 minutes Qrendi’s Kenneth Abela took the ball from Kercem’s defence but his shot was weak and goalie Branko Vrndic saved without difficulty. Kercem replied on 26 minutes through some pressing by Alen Haska and Ogjen Rolovic that led Qrendi’s defenders to a wrong back pass that almost ended into an open goal but goalie Julian Azzopardi recovered his position and cleared the ball from the goalmouth. Kercem opened the score three minutes later through an excellent header by Ognjen Rolovic following a free kick by Alen Haska. Qrendi tried hard to produce an immediate reaction and one minute later a shot by Julio Cesar Sousa da Martins was neutralised by Kercem’s keeper. On 34 minutes Qrendi’s Dhonattan Santos Da Hora entered Kercem’s territory form the right flank and from his low cross Kenneth Abela arrived on the ball at the far post but the latter incredibly concluded wide form close distance. Kercem replied on 40 minutes through a shot form an angled position by Ognjen Rolovic that was saved by goalie Julian Azzopardi and in the first minute of stoppage time before half time Qrendi’s Julio Cesar Sousa da martins had an attempt form a good position that was neutralised by goalie Branko Vrndic.
After the resumption Kercem seemed in a better shape as they managed to control Qrendi’s play with some authority and on 51 minutes they also doubled the score when Jean Paul Mizzi released Ognjen Rolovic within Qrendi’s territory, the striker turned around the goalkeeper just outside the area and placed easily into an open goal with a low drive. Kercem almost scored a third goal on 57 minutes when Alen Haska produced a personal action on the left flank but from his low cross addressed to an unmarked Ognjen Rolovic, Qrendi’s defender Zachary Bowman recovered well and denied the striker from pushing the ball into an open goal by clearing the danger to a corner. Kercem were punished for the missed chance as Qrendi reduced the deficit one minute later through Julio Cesar Sousa Da Martins who concluded in goal from close distance following a cross by Dhonattan Santos Da Hora. Three minutes later the referee awarded a penalty to Qrendi for an intervention by Kercem’s keeper Branko Vrndic on Qrendi’s substitute Aaron Agius. The goalkeeper was also sent off for the infringement and after some minutes until the substitute goalkeeper took his place instead of a player on the field took place, Dhonattan Santos Da Hora converted form the spot kick. The visitors were now in the driving seat and on 74 minutes they turned the score in their favour when Kercem’s keeper John Paul Cassar partially saved a close ranged attempt by Dhonattan Santos Da Hora and form the rebound Julio Cesaar Sousa Da Martins placed the ball into an open goal. Kercem were not demoralised and on 84 minutes they levelled the score by scoring the third goal when Alen Haska took the ball from Qrendi’s defence and fired in goal with a low shot.
The two sides did not manage to score during the remaining minutes of regular time and the match had to go into extra time to determine the qualification. Play continued to be well contested during the extra thirty minutes of play. On 92 minutes Qrendi’s Julio Cesar Sousa Da Martins had a good shot saved by goalie John Paul Cassar and dour minutes later the same goalkeeper was well placed to neutralise an attempt by Dhonattan Santos Da Hora. Kercem replied on 98 minutes through a shot by Alen Haska that was neutralised by goalie Julian Azzopardi and two minutes later a fine curling shot by Kercem’s Ognjen Rolovic address to the far post ended just wide. On 103 minutes Qrendi’s substitute Aaron Agius had a free kick that got a deflection but Kercem’s keeper saved the danger. Qrendi’s keeper Julian Azzopardi was well placed on 108 minutes to neutralise a low shot by Kercem’s Ognjen Rolovic and on 110 minutes Qrendi scored the goal that decided the issue when Aaron Agius received a ball just outside the area and surprised Kercem’s keeper with a fine strike that ended in the upper corner of the goal. Kercem went closest to save the result in the second minute of stoppage time before the end of the encounter but a header by Andrew Mizzi from a corner kick by Alen Haska was saved by goalie Julian Azzopardi.
Referee: Daniel Portelli