GFA KO Division II: Final
Gozo Stadium – 23 April 2019
St Lawrence S FC : 1 (A. Xiberras 21’)
Brignoli, C. Mercieca (S. Sultana), A. Xiberras, J. Theuma, C. Cauchi, M. Fagbeja, C. Azzopardi, D. Micallef, C. Farrugia (L. Attard), L. Buttigieg (C. Grima), M. Zerafa.
Sannat L FC : 0
Mercieca, N. Micallef, F. Camilleri, J. Buttigieg, J. Zammit, E.R. Olpokwu, D. Borg, E. Gauci (M. Portelli), B. Said, D. Bellotti, F.J. Xuereb.
St Lawrence Spurs surprised the more quoted Sannat Lions in the final of the Knock Out competition for the second division so that they will end the season on a positive note. The Spurs were considered among the major contenders for promotion but they failed to live up to their expectations during the crucial phases of the campaign and ended out of the contest at an early stage. Before this match Sannat were considered to be hot favourites as they are heading towards the last match of the league with a possibility to force a decider for promotion. However, in this final match St Lawrence Spurs managed to produce an excellent performance where they scored a goal midway through the first half and controlled play for the rest of the encounter. With this result St Lawrence will also end the season unbeaten by Sannat as the Spurs registered two draws and two wins from the four league matches and obtained a win in this final of the KO competition. This was the first time in 20 years that St Lawrence lifted this honour.
Sannat seemed in a better shape during the opening stages of the encounter and on 11 minutes they were dangerous through a shot by Joseph Zammit that ended wide. The Spurs replied on 13 minutes with an effort by Charlon Farrugia that was neutralised by goalie Courtney Mercieca and for the following minutes they also kept pressure on Sannat’s defence. On 16 minutes St Lawrence’s Jason Theuma had a strike from the edge of the area that was handled by Muda Fagbeja and the ball ended wide so that the latter was also cautioned for the infringement. The Spurs opened the score on 21 minutes hen Adrian Xiberras received the ball inside Sannat’s area and placed in goal with a low drive. Two minutes later a shot by Sannat’s Brandon Said was well saved by goalie Angelo Brignoli and on 26 minutes Sannat had a goal by Brandon Said was disallowed for a foul on St Lawrence’s goalkeeper. Sannat kept insisting in an attempt to level the score and on the half hour mark they protested for a penalty when Ebube Ralph Okpokwu ended on the floor inside the area following a challenge with defender Charles Mercieca. Two minutes later Sannat’s Ebube Ralph Okpokwu had a header was easily saved by goalie Angelo Brignoli and St Lawrence replied on 39 minutes with a shot by Jason Theuma that ended wide. One minute later Sannat once again protested for a penalty alleging a foul by Christian Azzopardi on Ebube Ralph Okpokwu. Two minutes later the Spurs could have doubled the score but a back heel by Louis Buttigieg from a corner kick by Charlon Farrugia was cleared off the line by Sannat’s Daniel Borg
Sannat tried to increase their efforts after the break and they were dangerous after just thirty five seconds of play through a strike by Eric Gauci that missed the target. Sannat went again close to scoring on 59 minutes but a low shot by Brandon Said following a pass by Eric Gauci ended wide. The Spurs went again close to scoring on 68 minutes when Sannat’s defence failed to clear the ball from the area following a free kick by Charlon Farrugia and form the resultant melee a shot by Adrian Xiberras was blocked by defender Josiah Buttigieg and the ball bounced on the same Xiberras but ended over the crossbar. In the following action Sannat’s Joseph Zammit had a shot from an ideal position that was easily saved by goalie. On 75 minutes Sannat’s Eric Gauci was substituted but as soon as he entered the reserves area he was sent off for a second yellow card shown by the referee for taking off the shirt. Three minutes later St Lawrence’s central defender Daniel Micallef saved the result for his side when he headed the ball to a corner a header inside St Lawrence’s area by Brandon said addressed to an unmarked Ebube Ralph Okpokwu. Sannat had their last opportunity to level the score and to force extra time in the third minute of stoppage time but a strike by Fabian Xuereb ended wide.
At the end of the match the President of the Gozo Football Association Dr Samuel Azzopardi, in the presence of the vice-president of the association Chev. Carmel Zammit and the General Secretary of the association Tony Grech presented medals and trophies to the match officials and to St Lawrence’s players and officials as winners of the competition, among the celebrations by the St Lawrence’s supporters.
Referee: Paul Toledo